Thursday, August 31, 2006

back from the mideast

"The other thing you can't miss in Jordan and Syria is people's anger against the US. On more than occasion, I got shouted at because I live in the US. The most interesting incident was during a visit to a Lebanese refugee camp. I was called by two young Lebanese people, and they asked me whether me and the rest of the delegation visiting their shelter where coming from the US. I said yes. They said: "you better get the hell out of here unless you want us to make a scene". I tried to explain that we are the "good" Americans who are against the war, so they said go back home and change your government. "you can't come here visit us in a shelter that we were sent to because of your tax money and your bombs, and expect us to be nice to you". So me and the other Americans got the hell out of there."

Raed in the Middle found on Angry Arab

U.S. sniper kills family of four in Ramadi

Ramadi-U.S.-Family
U.S. sniper kills family of four in Ramadi – witnesses
Ramadi, Aug 31, (VOI) – An Iraqi family of four people was killed by U.S. sniper fire on Thursday morning in Ramadi, Anbar province, eyewitnesses said.
“A man, his wife and two children were walking home in al-Huz neighborhood when a U.S. sniper shot them dead at 11:00 a.m. in al-Ma’ared Street,” a witness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
U.S. Marines have been stationed on the roof tops of high buildings in several neighborhoods of Ramadi for two days, he said.
Earlier on Thursday, witnesses reported that U.S. forces blew up many government buildings in the restive Iraqi town of Ramadi at dawn

About Camp Democracy on DC Mall

Kevin Zeese: What is Camp Democracy? When and where will it be occurring? Who is involved?

David Swanson: Camp Democracy is an attempt to bring together movements for peace and justice to demand change. It's motivated by:

1) Lots of ordinary people around the country demanding to know when they could come to Washington and refuse to leave without peace and accountability;

2) The need for Bush not to be able to escape Camp Casey by leaving Crawford; and

3) The need to bring movements together that are interwoven on the policy level but not at the level of grassroots organizing

Camp Democracy will bring together movements for peace, Katrina recovery, immigrants rights, labor rights, electoral reform, women's rights, environmental sanity, accountability and impeachment. We'll open the camp in Washington, D.C., on September 5th and run at least until September 21, the International Day of Peace, when a movement called Declaration of Peace has planned massive civil disobedience. We will provide nonviolence training during Camp Democracy. We'll also provide panel discussions, workshops, dramatic performances, concerts, lobbying training, and lobbying for an end to funding of the war -- because the war must end and because we need our money for useful projects.

This will not be a march preceded by speeches. It will be a Chautauqua, a teach-in, a movement-building festival. And its’ aim will be to kick-start the sort of massive occupation of our nation's capital that ought to come spontaneously from an aware and responsible public. This is do-or-die time for the people of this country if we want to have a government of, by, or for us, if we want to have a world without endless war, if we want to have social justice or security, if we want to have a sustainable planet for our grandchildren.

In Pro-Israel Circles, Doubts Grow Over US Policy--Jim Lobe in Antiwar.com

Meanwhile, other prominent Israelis are asking even more basic
questions
about the regional strategy pursued by Bush and its
consequences for Israel.

In a column published by the Ha'aretz newspaper last week, former
Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami argued that, in the aftermath of the
Lebanon war, which, in his view, had "proven the limits of [Israeli]
power," a peace accord with Syria and the Palestinians had become
"essential" for Israel, particularly in light of "the worrisome
decline of the status of Israel's ally in this part of the world and
beyond."

"U.S. deterrence, and respect for the superpower have been eroded
unrecognizably," he wrote. "An exclusive Pax Americana in the Middle
East is no longer possible because not only is the U.S. not an
inspiration today, it does not instill fear."

Found on Ali Abunimah newsletter

Hizbullah's Victory Has Transformed the Middle East--George Galloway

"The Arab world is waking up to its potential power. It has seen the
Iraqis confound Anglo-American efforts to recolonise their country,
the unbreakability, whatever the cost, of the Palestinian
resistance, and now the success of Hizbullah. If there is no
settlement there can only be war, war and more war, until one day it
is Tel Aviv which is on fire and the Israeli leaders' intransigence
brings the whole state down on their heads. Nor is it only Israel
that will pay the price for continued conflict: the enduring
injustice of Palestinian dispossession has already poisoned
western-Muslim relations and helped spill violence and hatred on to
our own streets. There is still time to choose peace. But make no
mistake, with the victory of Hizbullah, a terrible beauty is born."

Found on Ali Abunimah (Electronic Lebanon)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Return of People Power--John Pilger

In Iraq, in contrast to the embedded lie that the killings are now almost entirely sectarian, 70 per cent of the 1,666 bombs exploded by the resistance in July were directed against the American occupiers and 20 per cent against the puppet police force. Civilian casualties amounted to 10 per cent. In other words, unlike the collective punishment meted out by the US, such as the killing of several thousand people in Fallujah, the resistance is fighting basically a military war and it is winning. That truth is suppressed, as it was in Vietnam.

In Lebanon, the pattern continues. An armed resistance a few thousand strong has humbled the fifth-most powerful army in the world, which is supplied and backed by the superpower. That much we know. What is not known is the extraordinary and decisive part played by the unarmed people of southern Lebanon. Reported as a trail of victims, the spectacle of people heading back to their homes was an epic act of defiance and resistance. On 13 August, as the Israeli army advanced in southern Lebanon, they warned people not to return to their homes. This was defied almost to a man, woman and child, who abandoned the refugee centres and headed south, jamming the roads and flashing victory signs.

An eyewitness, Simon Assaf, described "gangs of local men along the route clear[ing] paths by dragging away the piles of electrical cable, rubble and twisted metal that littered the highway. A new stream of cars would rapidly form through every breach in the rubble. There were no army or police . . . it was the locals who directed traffic, guided cars past dangerous craters and pushed buses up dirt tracks around collapsed bridges. As they neared their homes, the refugees would form great processions. Town after town, village after village was reclaimed. Powerless to confront this human wave, the Israelis abandoned their positions and began fleeing to the border. This flood of people emerged out of an unprecedented mass movement that grew up across the country as the bombs rained down."

The Lebanese resistance, armed and unarmed, is from the same wellspring as other movements throughout the world. Each has learned to put aside its sectarian differences in the face of a common enemy - rampant empire and its proxies. In Bolivia, Latin America's poorest country, the first government of indigenous people since their enslavement by Spain was elected by a landslide this year, after hundreds of thousands of unarmed campesinos and former miners faced the guns of an army sent by the oligarchic dictator, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. Marching on La Paz, the capital, they forced him to flee to the United States, where he had sent his millions. This followed a mass resistance to the privatising of the water supply of Cochabamba, Bolivia's second city, and its takeover by a consortium dominated by the mighty Bechtel company. Now Bechtel, too, has been forced to flee.

Found on Information Clearinghouse

Cindy's Traffic Fine $400 in Crawford

(August 30, 2006)—Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan’s stay this month in Central Texas has not been a pleasant one.

First she was admitted to a local hospital for treatment of exhaustion and dehydration and to undergo gynecological tests. Last week she underwent a hysterectomy.

Then Tuesday night police from the Waco suburb of Woodway arrested her near Crawford on traffic warrants.

She was cited for following too closely and failure to appear.

Sheehan was released after she paid a $400 fine.

You Are G8; We Are 6 Billion--But...

"We" also had the numbers this summer when it came to who did and didn't support Israel's recent assault on the Lebanese populace. Outside of aselect few in Israel, Great Britain, and the United States, the vast majority of our planet's human population were vociferously against the actions of the Israeli government and its U.S.-funded armed forces. But once again, the numbers just didn't add up. As long as America's ruling elite avoided any mention of a ceasefire, Lebanon remained doomed to its fate-no matter how many of us didn't like it. In these and countless other cases, "we" have had the numbers. "We" still have the numbers. Morrison's "they," however, give no indication they'll be surrendering their guns any time soon.

As a result, dissent in America is pretty much limited to marches, protests, boycotts, petitions, Michael Moore documentaries, the occasional vote for a third party candidate, and articles like this one. All of these methods (at least in their safe-for-mass-consumption versions) are deemed "legal" by those with the guns and, in their own way, legitimize the power held by those with the guns. Thus, all such tactics are ultimately impotent in terms of provoking systemic, long-term change. If you don't believe me, ask yourself why you haven't taken your rebellion beyond the methods listed above. Your answer is likely the same as mine: "We've got the numbers, but they've got the guns."

Maybe author Derrick Jensen had it right when he said:
"We still think we have something to lose. That's what's stopping us. As soon as we realize we have nothing left to lose we'll be dangerous."
After all, as Jim Morrison sang: "No one here gets out alive.


Mickey Z on Uruknet

Sunday, August 27, 2006

UFPJ: The Absence of Moral Character

On July 18, 2006, during peak wholesale murders at the hands of the Israeli military, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) issued a statement that condemned the popular resistance movement in Lebanon as it equated it with Israeli actions. This was followed by a call on July 19, in which UFPJ not only completely eliminated Palestine (once again) from the political scene, but also escalated its condemnation of the resistance and declared that it was in violation of International Law. UFPJ went further to echo the US administration's own political constructs, that the Israeli forces should not use a "disproportionate response" - as if a proportionate one exists, and as if the violence of colonists is just a mere "response".

UFPJ's statements join the US-proxy regimes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, in holding the popular resistance movement responsible for the savagery of Zionist colonial conquest - a textbook example of blaming the victim.

Found on Uruknet

Zionist State of "Israel" Seems to be in Moral, Political, and Psychiatric Free Fall

Regardless of how one sees it, the end result is, as "Israeli" observers themselves have commented, a barbarisation, moral decline or debasement, of "Israeli" society. How could it be otherwise, what with a Zionist ideology that, from its origin, treated the Palestinians with cruelty, disdain, violence, and loathing, traits common to all colonial-settler societies. And with the state since 1948 having so thoroughly indoctrinated "Israeli" society, through wars and manipulation of existential fears, occupation and relentlessly violent oppression. And with a racist educational system -- which portrays the "Arabs" as inferior, lazy, fatalistic, dirty, easily inflammable, violent and bloodthirsty -- and socialisation of superiority and separation and alienation of Jews from non-Jews, in cities and neighbourhoods, on Jewish owned lands and public domains.

The Ceasefire That Isn't--Left I on the News

August 26, 2006

The U.S. blocked a ceasefire in Lebanon for weeks as Israel continued its killing spree; only after the price Israel was paying became too high did they start getting cold feet and ask their U.S. allies to move in the U.N. and get a ceasefire which they hoped could achieve the goals they weren't able to achieve militarily. But, as readers of this blog know well, Israel has another war going, this one against the Palestinians. And the calls for a ceasefire on that front? Why, they're just deafening. Deafening silence, that is. Well, unless you're on the wrong end of an Israeli bomb, like two Reuters journalists were today:

An Israeli air strike hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday, wounding two journalists as they covered a military incursion, doctors and residents said.

One of the Palestinian journalists, who worked for a local media organization, was seriously wounded. A cameraman working for Reuters was knocked unconscious in the air strike, one of several in the area.
As usual, the Israelis had their cover story ready:
The Israeli army said the vehicle was hit because it was acting suspiciously in an area of combat and had not been identified as belonging to the media.
Also as usual, the Israelis were lying through their teeth:
The missile struck the vehicle after dark. The armored car was clearly labeled as a media vehicle, with signs on all sides, including the roof.
Eli Stephens on Uruknet

Protection Racket: Judicial Cover for Crony Contractors

Friday 25 August 2006

They say that America's increasingly right-wing courts are bent on halting the forward march of civil rights, but that's a typical liberal canard. Why, just last week, a federal judge - appointed by Ronald Reagan, no less - issued a bold ruling that offers shield and succor to a small, despised minority on the fringes of American society.

War profiteers.

In a little-noticed decision unsealed on August 18, US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III overturned a $10 million fraud verdict against Custer Battles LLC, one of the many crony conquistadors who gorged on the vast porkfest known as "Iraqi reconstruction" during the high and palmy days of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Ellis's judgment effectively provides blanket immunity for the many politically-wired gorgers who made off with almost $9 billion in "unaccounted-for" taxpayer money during the CPA's misrule of Iraq from April 2003 to June 2004 - one of the greatest heists in world history.


Found on Uruknet

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Yikes! Watch Out Teachers!

A seventh-grade geography teacher at Carmody Middle School was suspended with pay today when he refused to take down three foreign flags on display in his classroom. Eric Hamlin said the flags of China, Mexico and the United Nations were relevant to the unit on the fundamentals of geography he teaches during the first six weeks of the semester. He's used the same display for most of the nine years he's taught in Jefferson County, Hamlin said.

The foreign flags are in addition to the standard U.S. flag found in all classrooms.

TalkLeft via Cursor.org



The Neocons Ride Again-- Priming us for war with Iran

Justin Raimondo on Antiwar.com:

"As I have said before in this space, the Democrats are not above out-warmongering the GOP on the question of Iran, and that means there is no natural brake on the sociopathic militarism inherent in this administration. After their failure in Iraq, and a brief exile in the wilderness, the neocons are riding high again – and that means endless troubles for us all ….

Interesting--But Pigs May Fly Before Israel Complies

BRITAIN is considering demanding the extradition of two Israeli soldiers on charges of killing a British aid worker and a film-maker.

The government's top law officer has confirmed that Britain has not ruled out forcing Tel Aviv to hand over the soldiers in line with a 50-year-old international law.

Forwarded to Local List by Cindy Corrie

Protests intrude on Bush's trip to Maine--Go Mainers!

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine -

President Bush
came to his parent's century-old summer home on the Maine coast for a little relaxation and some family time this weekend. He did get that, along with a reminder that his Iraq policy is unpopular with some people.

Several hundred anti-war demonstrators gathered Saturday to march on the road toward Walker's Point. The stone-and-shingle compound on a craggy promontory is owned by former President Bush and his wife, Barbara, and named after his mother's family.

SUS'er Arrested for Bannering Freeway in Support of Resister Watada

At the Aug. 16 demonstration at Ft. Lewis, Washington state patrol officers told the demonstrators to take down their banners from the bridge crossing the Interstate 5 freeway. Doug Nielson of the anti-war group Stand Up Seattle then was arrested and charged with "obstructing an officer."

From Jane Cutter on Uruknet

Who's to Blame?

You can read plenty of commentary round the world, most particularly Israel, saying this recent war was a benchmark event, which could conceivably teach Israel that security is not won by unending land grabs, by spouting hokum for US consumption about the "peace process", and by terror bombing of Lebanon and Gaza. But not in the United States. Open up the Washington Post and the strategic vision on display was an utterly mad piece co-written by one of the big boosters for war on Iraq, Kenneth Pollack, a hack thinker at the Brookings Institution, now an integral part of Israeli territory with its "Saban Center for Middle East Policy" named for the fanatic Zionist billionaire Haim Saban, majority owner of Paramount Pictures, a man who handed the Democratic Party a total of $12.3 million in 2002, a $7 million component of which was the biggest single contribution ever recorded up to that time.

From the invaluable Counterpunch.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Over 91% of Iraqis Want US Out

The bottom line: 91.7% of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition troops in the country, up from 74.4% in 2004. 84.5% are "strongly opposed". Among Sunnis, opposition to the US presence went from 94.5% to 97.9% (97.2% "strongly opposed"). Among Shia, opposition to the US presence went from 81.2% to 94.6%, with "strongly opposed" going from 63.5% to 89.7%. Even among the Kurds, opposition went from 19.6% to 63.3%. In other words, it isn't just that Iraqis oppose the American presence - it's that their feelings are intense: only 7.2% "somewhat oppose" and 4.7% "somewhat support."

link to whole article: http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2006/08/what_the_iraqi_.html

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dems at the Corporate Trough--May Be A Repeat Here But Worth It

"Jack Quinn served as Vice President Gore’s Chief of Staff, and later as Counsel to President Clinton. Now he is a partner in a political consulting and lobbying firm with a close friend of Tom DeLay, and together, they have represented clients who want to drill in fragile areas of Alaska, put the screws to already beleaguered American consumers, and prevent the introduction of more healthy dairy substitutes in school lunches."

"That’s not to say that Jack Quinn is a bad guy. He’s just doing what lots of folks do in the course of making a very comfortable living in Washington."

"In today’s cash-fueled political world, both parties claim they have no option but to function as indentured servants of corporate America. This, not surprisingly, creates a dynamic of dependency and obligation. The Republicans have excelled at this game, especially under the tutelage of Karl Rove and Tom DeLay. But the Democrats have, increasingly, belied their long-assumed commitment to the little guy and the average American by cozying up to the money trough as well."

Link to whole article: http://realnews.org/rn/content/25demconsultants.html

(Linker mechanism not working)

Who Started Terrorism in the Arab-Israeli Conflict?

Who Started Terrorism in the Arab-Israeli Conflict?
Bombs in Cafes: first used by Zionists in Palestine on March 17th, 1937 in Jaffa.
Bombs on Buses: first used by Zionists in Palestine Aug. 20th-Sep. 26, 1937.
Bombs in Market Places: first used by Zionists on July 6th, 1938 in Haifa.
Bombing of Hotels: first used by Zionists on July 22nd, 1946 in Jerusalem.
Bombing of Foreign Embassies: first used by Zionists on October 1st, 1946 in Rome (against the British).
Mining of Ambulances: First used by Zionists on October 31st, 1946 in Petah Tikvah.
Letter Bombs: first used by Zionists in June 1947 against British targets in UK.
(for documentation, consult The Arab Women's Information Committee and The Institute for Palestine Studies, Who Are the Terrorists? Aspects of Zionist and Israeli Terrorism, (Beirut: Insitute for Palestine Studies, 1972).

From Angry Arab News Service

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Good Thing These Guys Got Looks--They Got No Brains

Nicole Kidman and 83 Hollywood heavyweights are using the power of the press to speak out against terrorism.

She has joined 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, including News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

It specifically targets "terrorist organisations" such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hizbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.

"If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die.

"We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."

A who's who of Hollywood heavyweights joined Kidman and Murdoch on the ad.

The actors listed included: Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt.

Directors Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Dick Donner and Sam Raimi also signed their names.

Other Hollywood powerplayers supporting the ad included Sumner Redstone, the chairman and majority owner of Paramount Pictures, and billionaire mogul, Haim Saban.

Lost track of where I picked this up.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Israeli Activist Shot in Head with Rubber Bullet

"An Israeli border police soldier shot a rubber-tipped bullet at a demonstrator during a protest against the separation wall in the West Bank, Israel’s Haaretz daily reported."

"The shooting took place during the weekly Friday protest against the seperation wall in the city of Bil’in, a small village near Ramallah, which will be deeply affected by the illegal barrier that appropriates 50% of its lands and about 70% of its cultivated area."

Via LeftIontheNews

Fox News Airs Call for 'Muslim-Only' Line

"A Fox News guest proposed having a "Muslims only" line for airport travelers, an idea that "Dayside" co-host Mike Jerrick called attention to it so that viewers did not overlook the proposal."

"Conservative radio host Mike Gallagher suggested the idea during a segment Tuesday (August 15, 2006) with constitutional lawyer Michael Gross discussing racial profiling."

Via Newshounds on Whatreallyhappened.com

Employer Advises Dumpster-diving for Axed Workers

NEW YORK - Bankrupt Northwest Airlines Corp. advised workers to fish in the trash for things they like or take their dates for a walk in the woods in a move to help workers facing the ax to save money.

The No. 5 U.S. carrier, which has slashed most employees' pay and is looking to cut jobs as it prepares to exit bankruptcy, put the tips in a booklet handed out to about 50 workers and posted for a time on its employee Web site.

Via WhatReallyHappened.com

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Zunes on Why the Dems Support Israel

"In supporting the Republican-authored resolution, Pennsylvania Democrat Allyson Schwartz invoked the September 11 tragedy and insisted that the United States had a “moral obligation” to “stand by” Israel “on the side of democracy and freedom versus terror and radicalism” since to do otherwise would “undermine our national security.” Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida praised Israel's efforts “to eradicate this global threat” and insisted that Syria and Iran should be held responsible for the violence. Even though the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel began only after Israel started bombing civilian areas of Lebanon, Democratic Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey insisted that the killings of these Israeli civilians took place “despite every attempt” by the Israeli government “to demonstrate their genuine commitment to peace.”

"One reason for such broad Democratic support for the resolution may stem from the fact that the Arms Control Export Act forbids arms transfers to countries that use American weapons for non-defensive purposes, such as attacking civilians. Thus, in order to protect the profits of politically influential American arms merchants, the Democrats joined with Republicans in supporting language in the resolution claiming that Israel's actions were “legitimate self-defense.”

Via cursor.org

Thursday, August 10, 2006

End This Tragedy Now--Lebanese PM

08/09/06 "Washington Post" -- -- BEIRUT: A military solution to Israel's savage war on Lebanon and the Lebanese people is both morally unacceptable and totally unrealistic. We in Lebanon call upon the international community and citizens everywhere to support my country's sovereignty and end this folly now. We also insist that Israel be made to respect international humanitarian law, including the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, which it has repeatedly and willfully violated.

As the world watches, Israel has besieged and ravaged our country, created a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and shattered our infrastructure and economy, putting an intolerable strain on our social and economic systems. Fuel, food and medical equipment are in short supply; homes, factories and warehouses have been destroyed; roads severed, bridges smashed and airports disabled.

Awakening the Resistance--Jennifer Lowenstein

What message have the purveyors of state power brought with them that their listeners should wish to continue to bow in subservience? The conditions are not right for a ceasefire, say George Bush and Condoleeza Rice. First burn down the house and then we can discuss how to put out the flames. We are not just fighting Hizbullah, says Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, but Syria and Iran as well. Accept our vision of a Starbucked-MidEast; a Middle East with sanitized Muslims appointed by the corporate board of Ziocondriacs who break into hives at the words “Islam” and “Arab;” whose peace imposes fast food franchises; whose freedom is the right to purchase arms at the Great Mall of the Gulf States; whose riches are the oil wells mortgaged to Texas; and whose water resources run through the processing plants of the Ariel and Gush Etzion settlement blocs.

Counterpunch. You may have to scroll down if this moves from top spot.

Peace Protestors Invade Scottish Airport; Inspect US Military Plane

ANTI-WAR protesters broke into Prestwick airport for a third night running, prompting alarm among security experts that aircraft could be vulnerable to terrorists.

Five activists were arrested by police after boarding an aircraft belonging to the US Air National Guard in the latest incident, just before midnight on Monday.

The group from Trident Ploughshares broke through the airport's perimeter fence and boarded the plane.

The peace group described themselves as "war-crime detectives" and said they were searching for arms being sent to Israel for use in attacks against Lebanon.

That's the way to do it, hey?

The End of Lebanon?

The UN Security Council resolution draft on Lebanon reflects a new stage of Western colonialism in the Middle East, and perhaps a historic precedent: for the first time, the UN Security Council - should the resolution draft be endorsed - breaches the fundamental principle of the right of people under occupation to resist, and in fact legitimizes the violent partition of the sovereign state of Lebanon.

The American-French draft reflects the interests of three central colonial powers in the region: the U.S., the main colonial power in Iraq and Afghanistan; its client and proxy Israel, which is occupying the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza as well as part of Syria, and occupied south Lebanon for 22 years (1978-2000); and France, the former colonial empire in Lebanon after WWI. No wonder that the draft, which pays lip-service to Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity, in fact suggests a partition of this small land.

War Crimes Act Changes Would Protect Officials

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration drafted amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers from possible criminal charges for authorizing any humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees, said lawyers who have seen the proposal.

Seems like the first thing they need to do then is change the name to "War Criminals Protection Act."

Israeli PM on Train to Rapture with Pat Robertson

"[Rev. Pat] Robertson said he joined hands Wednesday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to pray for victory in Lebanon."

"Olmert's 15-minute meeting with Robertson came on an intense day of political activity, and could be seen as implicit recognition of the importance of the Christian right in US politics."

Iraq Mirror World

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Spielberg Foundation to Donate $1 million for Israeli Relief

Guess they need relief from the hard work of bombing innocent neighbors.

LOS ANGELES - A foundation created by filmmaker Steven Spielberg will donate $1 million to relief efforts in Israel as it battles with Hezbollah.

The Righteous Persons Foundation will make an initial contribution of $250,000 to the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles Israel Crisis Fund. The foundation will then follow up with gifts to the New Israel Fund and other organizations that are providing relief to those evacuated from northern Israel, said Marvin Levy, foundation spokesman.

The Jewish Foundation will use its donation to support emergency efforts for evacuated children, install shatterproof glass in Haifa's three hospitals and provide emergency assistance at the Naharia hospital, he said.

The New Israel Fund will use its donation to set up crisis hot lines and provide food and other emergency supplies to families in northern Israel, Levy said.

From Angry Arab News Service

All Out Against US/Israel War on Saturday

In Lebanon While We Rally on Saturday

This is the first press release for the Campaign of Resistance, a coalition of over 200 Lebanese NGOs and civic organizations. We, the people of Lebanon, call upon the local and international community to join a campaign of civil resistance to Israel's war against our country and our people. We declare Lebanon an open country for civil resistance. The aim of this campaign is to provide relief for civilians in South Lebanon, live in solidarity with them, and work for the immediate return of internally displaced citizens to their homes in the South. If their homes are no longer standing, then the Lebanese government, United Nations, Red Cross, and others, should provide assistance to our citizens on their own land - not scattered across the entire country.

It is our hope that this campaign will not only provide a measure of justice to displaced and distressed Lebanese citizens, but will also contribute to an immediate ceasefire, and an end to the continuing destruction of Lebanon. The first Citizen's Convoy will leave for South Lebanon on Saturday, August 12.

Bodies Flood Baghdad Morgue--But, Hey, Bush Says Iraqis Voted AGAINST Civil War

BAGHDAD, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Some 1,815 bodies were delivered to the Baghdad morgue last month, the highest number since the February bombing of a Shi'ite shrine sparked a wave of sectarian killings, a morgue official said on Wednesday.

The morgue's assistant manager, Doctor Abdul Razzaq al-Obaidi, told Reuters about 90 percent of the deaths were due to violence in the capital, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have stepped up their troops levels to combat sectarian bloodshed.

The morgue received 1,595 bodies in June.

Via Today in Iraq

Fiji Turns Table on IDF Backpackers

"We gave our passports to the officer, and when she saw we are Israelis she asked for ID cards. We told her we don't understand why we need ID cards and she responded shouting: 'You know very well how to ask Palestinians for IDs and humiliate them for three years."

From Irag Mirror World

Gilad Atzmon Has A Eureka! Moment

Operation Security Roof:

"Following the IDF difficulties in defeating Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s ballistic warfare, the Israeli Government is now searching for contractors with some advanced experience in large scale reinforced concrete constructions. The mission ahead is the building of a solid concrete roof over the entire Jewish State (known as ‘Greater Israel’). PM Olmert is determined that the only way to defend Israel’s populated area is to cover the Jewish State with a thick layer of iron and cement."

Counterpunch on Meaning of Lieberman Defeat

"But the question remains whether there is any home in the Democratic Party for a true progressive. Lamont’s victory in the primary certainly doesn’t answer that question. On most issues he’s almost indistinguishable from Lieberman. On Tuesday you had only to travel down I-95 to Georgia to see what happens to real progressives, where the Democratic Party conspired with Fox News and the rest of the press to try to destroy Cynthia McKinney’s political career. For the second time."

"The Democratic Party won’t tolerate any outspoken dissent. It is a cheerleader for Israel’s destruction of Lebanon. Just listen to Jerry Nadler, a New York congressman identified as among the most progressive in the Democratic congressional caucus. On a pro-Israel rally on July 18 Nadler asked the crowd, “Since when should a response to aggression and murder be proportionate?” In other words, a green light for war crimes, such as Israel has been committing every day. Despite all the schedules for withdrawal suddenly offered by candidates such as Hillary Clinton, or Maria Cantwell, it’s still a Party of War in the service of empire. Who is the leading mainstream political voice calling for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon? The Republican senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel. The Democrats rushed to attack him, with Joe Biden winning by a nose, from Charles Schumer and the rest of the pack."

Pitt on Lieberman: It Wasn't Just the War

It wasn't just the war. It was a long, slow slide that eventually tipped Lieberman's applecart. It was a process of insinuation into the cash-and-carry culture of Washington, DC. It was a series of astonishingly bad votes on incredibly important issues. It was, above all, political cowardice; Lieberman attached himself to Bush while Bush was riding high, and was unable to extract himself as Bush's popularity collapsed.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out from here. Big-time Democrats like Senators Lautenberg, Clinton, Obama and Feingold have signaled their intention to support the Democratic nominee from Connecticut. If the GOP pulls the same kind of trick we see in Pennsylvania - funneling cash to the third-party candidate to undercut the Democratic candidate - it will come to light, and Lieberman will be hard-pressed to defend himself.

This was historic. Opposition to the war was the main issue in this primary, and it was proven to be a winning issue. The effect upon the upcoming midterms will be dynamic. Several Democratic hopefuls will have to do some tall stepping to get around their own Lieberman-like positions on Iraq if they hope to have a shot at the Oval Office in 2008. The media will, of course, blast them for flip-flopping, thus undercutting their nascent campaigns. In short, the deck has been shuffled by Ned Lamont.

Do not think this was all about the war, however. Joseph Lieberman has been constructing this petard for some time now, out of a variety of disparate pieces. On Tuesday night, he was hoist with it. Time will tell what it will all mean for the rest of us.

Juan Cole on Bush's Ignorance of Islam

To read entire post, scroll down to:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 Bush, Islamic Fascism and the Christians of Jounieh

in part:

Hizbullah is a poor people's movement. It could have been moderated over time, and its adherents could have been pulled into more moderate, mainstream politics if the world had devoted itself to seeing that the Lebanese economy flourished and its government was gradually strengthened. That was the achievement of the Lebanese and regional political elite in the 1990s. If the Israelis had not aggressively occupied the Lebanese South, there would have been no Hizbullah. If the Israelis had left ten years earlier, Hizbullah would have disarmed when all the other militias did. Hizbullah could have been nurtured out of existence if Lebanon had been helped.

Now, extremism has been strengthened. Lebanon is abject, on its knees, stricken with a plague inflicted on it by Bush and Olmert. The abject, the humiliated, the impoverished do not, as Bush and Olmert fondly imagine to themselves, lie down and let the mighty walk over them. They blow up skyscrapers. [MORE CLEVERLY THAN THEIR OVERPOWERED AGGRESSORS--LJ]

The idea that the whole Eastern Mediterranean had to be polluted, that the Christian Lebanese economy had to be destroyed for the next decade or two, that 900,000 persons had to be rendered homeless, that a whole country had to be pounded into rubble because some Lebanese Shiites voted for Hizbullah in the last election, putting 12 in parliament, is obscene. Bush's glib ignorance is destroying our world. Our children will suffer for it, and perhaps our grandchildren after them.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Deadly Israeli Strike Scatters Mourners

GHAZIYEH, Lebanon (AP) - Mourners in a funeral procession for Israeli airstrike victims scattered in panic Tuesday as warplanes again unleashed missiles that hit buildings and killed 13 people, witnesses and officials said.

The first missile struck a building about five minutes after the march by about 1,500 people had passed by, killing one person and wounding five.

The blast was close enough to send mourners screaming, "Allahu akbar!" or "God is great!" Some broke away from the procession, while others continued on.

They were burying some of the 15 people killed in Ghaziyeh on Monday, when Israeli airstrikes flattened three buildings in the Shiite town southeast of the port city of Sidon.

About 30 minutes after Tuesday's first airstrike, Israeli warplanes staged four more bombing runs, destroying two buildings, said Mayor Mohammed Ghaddar.

Twelve more people were killed and 18 wounded in those strikes, according to tally from three area hospitals.

Democracy Requires A Shroud

From the funeral of the innocent people in the Ghaziyyah massacre (not to be confused with other Israeli massacres in Lebanon). The black banner reads: "This is the democracy of America and Israel: Massacres + Destruction."

from angry arab

After Bomb Kills Loved Ones, Life Turns Ghostly

If you're thinking you're too busy to turn out Saturday for noon demo against US-Israel war on Lebanon, read this:

"Mr. Samra had been sitting with friends elsewhere. He raced to the building and frantically began to dig. He found his 5-year-old daughter, Sally, torn apart. Her torso and an arm lay separate from her legs. Another daughter, Noor, 8, was moving under the rubble. His granddaughter Lynn, not yet 2, had part of her face smashed. His wife, Alia Waabi, had died immediately."

"Two other daughters, Zahra and Mirna, made it to safety, though Zahra was badly injured."

“This is my family,” he said, his face creased, sitting under the eaves of the stone houses. “Three of them are buried and three of them are in hospitals.”

After the adrenaline of the rescue and its aftermath fell away, Mr. Samra sank into blankness. He could not focus on anything. He had trouble remembering things. His vision seemed to blur.

via angry arab.

Pipeline Closure Sends Oil Higher

BP's announcement also gave another black eye to a firm that has fashioned an image as a responsible, environmentally concerned company, and it drew new criticism from pipeline experts and environmentalists who have been saying for years that the company had failed to do the maintenance needed to keep the pipeline free from sludge and protect it from corrosion in the harsh Alaska conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a criminal probe to determine whether the company was negligent in managing the pipeline, said sources who had talked to government investigators.

"They have known about these problems for a long time and promised for many years to fix them, and they haven't done so," said Peter van Tuyn, an environmental lawyer based in Anchorage.

via cursor.org

Bloody Night in Beirut

But the Beirut attack was the day's bloodiest episode. Last night, local residents and rescue workers scrambled through the rubble and debris in the dark as the insides of an eight-storey building spilled out into a narrow street. Water from a burst pipe in a building opposite sprayed out a fine mist across the wreckage. Neighbouring residents, now stuck in teetering buildings, peered out of the back half of their sitting rooms as splintered furniture dangled out on the street below. A women in her nightdress on the sixth floor tried to retrieve something on what was left of her balcony as a chunk of her front room crashed down on to the street. An ambulance worker said he had counted 10 bodies so far. At least two were children.

Lebanese officials said there were many reports of other casualties throughout southern Lebanon but rescue workers were not able to reach the sites because of continued Israeli airstrikes. Israel also threatened to attack UN peacekeepers if they attempted to repair bomb-damaged bridges in southern Lebanon. UN officials contacted the Israeli army to inform them that a team of Chinese military engineers attached to the UN force in Lebanon intended to repair the bridge on the Beirut to Tyre road to enable the transport of humanitarian supplies.

According to the UN, Israeli officials said the engineers would become a target if they attempted to repair the bridge.

Israel Responded to an Unprovoked Attack by Hizbullah, Right? Wrong

"Since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, there have been hundreds of violations of the "blue line" between the two countries. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) reports that Israeli aircraft crossed the line "on an almost daily basis" between 2001 and 2003, and "persistently" until 2006. These incursions "caused great concern to the civilian population, particularly low-altitude flights that break the sound barrier over populated areas". On some occasions, Hizbullah tried to shoot them down with anti-aircraft guns."

GUARDIAN, VIA ANGRY ARAB, WHICH IS A MUST READ EVERY DAY.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Israel, Oil and the "Planned Demolition" of Lebanon

"The media portrayal of the current conflict is blatantly absurd. It has nothing to due with “captured soldiers” or Israel’s “right to defend itself”. This is a traditional war with clear territorial and political objectives. The border controversy is nonsense. Israel is trying to seize more land to realize its vision of “Greater Israel” while reducing an adjacent Arab country to a “permanent state of colonial dependency”. This explains the vast and deliberate destruction to Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure. Israel’s dominance requires that its neighbors endure abject poverty and oppression. By destroying the infrastructure and life-support systems, Israel hopes to eliminate the rise of a potential rival as well as to diminish the ability of the Lebanese resistance to wage war against the Jewish state. Once Lebanon is decimated, it will be delivered to Zionists at the World Bank (Paul Wolfowitz) who will apply the shackle of reconstruction loans and structural readjustment, which will keep Lebanon as an indentured servant to the global banking establishment. This model of economic servitude has been used throughout the developing world with varying degrees of success. It anticipates Israel’s regional ascendancy while ensuring that Lebanon’s sovereignty will be compromised for decades to come."

He Has A Point

"Should all Catholics move to the Vatican City and form an army and demand that the U.S.A. give them $ 5 billion a year to buy weapons of mass destruction, and drive Italian citizens out of Rome?"

"As in all wars and conflicts , the real enemies , or "bad guys", are the rich, powerful leaders of nations who cause all the suffering and start all the wars, and use religion and nationalism to get all of us the hate each other, and then they watch us kill each other in the name of god and country."

Amnesty International Blaming Victim in Lebanon

"Amnesty's letter to the meeting of Foreign Ministers in Rome on Wednesday refers not to the destruction of virtually the entire Lebanese nation by Israel (who has invaded Lebanon seven times in thirty years) but that: ' ...serious violations of the laws of war have been committed by both sides (any serious follower of events would surely have concluded that like Iraq and Palestine, this was an illegal invasion) launching indiscriminate attacks are war crimes.' So are wars of aggression. Also unadressed are the now numerous - many very credible - reports, that this is a long planned action and that the 'kidnapped soldiers' had infact been seized inside Lebanon, not snatched from Israel. Nevertheless:"

http://web.amnesty.org/pages/isr-210708-action-eng

[Amnesty's call, in part:]

"Urge Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora to take measures to ensure that Hizbullah immediately ends its targeting of Israeli civilians, notably its firing of Katyusha rockets and other projectiles into Israeli towns and villages, and that Hizbullah fighters do not initiate armed attacks from residential civilian areas and avoid locating military objectives within civilian areas. Call on him to ensure that Hizbullah treats the two captured Israeli soldiers humanely and allows them immediate access to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)."

"Take action!"

"Write to Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora"

You Say Potato, I Say Potahto, You Say Defensive, I Say Offensive, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Whatever It Is, I'm Against It on the UN resolution on Lebanon ceasefire:

The US and France have agreed on wording for a cease-fire resolution. Hezbollah would stop attacking Israel and Israel would cease “all offensive military actions.”

Except... doesn’t Israel claim that everything it’s done has been defensive?

Oh, and Israel would be allowed to keep its troops occupying Lebanon.

It calls for an end to weapons being supplied to Hezbollah by other countries, so that the only military power in Lebanon would be Israel (well, I hear that there’s a Lebanese army too, but since its entire response to the bombing, invasion and occupation of its country has been, um, nothing, I don’t think we need to count it).

Israel says it will continue operations while it studies the draft... very... slowly.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

LA Truth Tagger


from angry arab news service

Hong Tran--Too Bad She's Such A Loyal Democrat!

"Cantwell earned Tran's ire when she made an announcement about trying to save roadless areas in forests a couple of years ago while saying nothing as the federal government cut the budget for subsidized housing."

"That didn't speak well of her advocacy for working families," Tran said.

"The Iraq war is her No. 1 issue because the conflict sucks money and attention from other domestic priorities, she said. The invasion was completely unjustifiable, she said, and Cantwell's support of it made her complicit in an international crime."

"Although she credits Cantwell with some environmental victories, such as defeating a measure that would have allowed oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness, Tran said Cantwell hasn't done enough for other vulnerable areas of Alaska."

"The fact that she hasn't been a complete failure doesn't make her a great environmentalist," Tran said.

The Case for Boycotting Israel--Boycott Now!

"Why has this outrageously racist doctrine survived so long, rewarded by billions of dollars in US aid every year? We know the reasons. For too many Westerners, Israel's Jewish character conflates with the Holocaust legacy to make intuitive sense of Israel's claim to be under continual assault. Deep-seated Judeo-Christian bias against Islam demonizes Israel's mostly Muslim victims. European racist prejudice against Arabs (brown-skinned natives) casts their material dispossession as less humanly significant. Naïve Christian visions of the "Holy Land" naturalize Jewish governance in biblical landscapes. Idiot Christian evangelistic notions of the Rapture and the End Times posit Jewish governance as essential to the return of the Messiah and the final Millennium (even though, in that repellent narrative, Jews will roast afterwards)."

"All those notions and prejudices, long confounding international action, must now be set aside. The raw logic of Israel's distorted self-image and racist doctrines is expressed beyond confusion by the now-stark reality: the moonscape rubble of once-lovely Lebanese villages; a million desperate people trying to survive Israeli aerial attacks as they carry children and wheel disabled grandparents down cratered roads; the limp bodies of children pulled from the dusty basements of crushed buildings. This is the reality of Israel's national doctrine, the direct outcome of its racist worldview. It is endangering everyone, and it must stop"

Dreams Deferred in Lebanon

"Olmert, Bush and Condi Rice, there is no difference," he read. "In the name of democracy, you are killing the children, and innocent people. And destroying all means of life and humanity. Instead of stopping the war, you put oil on the fire. You send funds and deliver bombs to kill more and more innocent people. Under your forged democracy, you know, and we know, the main reasons for this war is the New Middle East Plan."

He stopped, interrupting himself. "All this war, just for that!" he exclaimed, outraged. "They want to make the Middle East new, to be in Israel and America's hands."

You hear this a lot in Lebanon these days. When Condoleezza Rice described the death of Lebanese civilians as "the birth pangs of a new Middle East," I don't think she really thought through how that would sound in Lebanon. Or maybe she just didn't care.

The Nation via Angry Arab

U.S. Activists Call for Troop Withdrawal

AMMAN, Jordan — "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan and 14 other U.S. anti-war activists on Saturday joined Iraqi lawmakers in demanding a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

The activists, representing the largest U.S. anti-war coalition, have been in Jordan since Thursday for talks with the Iraqi parliament members. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to meet the activists during last month's talks with President Bush in Washington.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Will Sidon Be the New Qana?

"An Israeli army spokesman said leaflets dropped on Sidon, whose normal population of 100,000 has been swollen by refugees from war zones further south, had warned all residents to leave."

"We dropped leaflets warning residents to leave because the army will attack Hizbollah rocket launching sites in Sidon," he said. Other army officials confirmed the warning had been given.

"A local official in Sidon, who asked not to be named, said Hizbollah's Shi'ite guerrillas were not present in the mainly Sunni Muslim city. One resident said he had seen a leaflet that warned people to leave, but that did not mention Sidon by name."

London March Against US/Israeli War Today

Some 100,000 protesters took to the streets of London on Saturday to demand an end to Israel's assault on Lebanon and Gaza - and to express their fury at Tony Blair's refusal to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.

Advice from Lebanon to US

Letter to the American President from Former Lebanese Prime Minister

"You repeatedly claim that Israel is acting in self-defense. How preposterous! Self-defense on other people's occupied territory is tantamount to one thing: blatant aggression."

"You call Hizbullah a terrorist organization. We call it a legitimate resistance movement. There would have been no military wing of Hizbullah if there had been no Lebanese territory under Israeli occupation, if there had been no Lebanese hostages languishing in Israeli jails, and if Lebanon had not been exposed to almost daily Israeli intrusions into its airspace and territorial waters, and to sporadic incursions into Lebanese land and bombardment of civilian targets."

"You cannot eliminate a party by demolishing a whole country. This would have been achieved peacefully by Israel withdrawing from the land it occupies, releasing Lebanese prisoners, and desisting from further acts of aggression against Lebanon."

"Israel is the most horrendous terrorist power. And you, Mr. President, are unmistakably a direct partner, and hence a straight terrorist."

Via Angry Arab

Hizbullah Emerges as Symbol of Resistance

"Predictable as that [Irag demos supporting Hizbollah] may be, the raising of Hizbullah's flag by demonstrators in Saudi Arabia last Tuesday could prove more portentous. About 2,000 people from the kingdom's marginalised Shia minority defied a ban on public protests in the city of Qatif, according to witnesses. A Shia website carried photographs and quoted the slogan: "Not Sunnis, not Shias - it's one Islamic unity. O beloved Hizbullah, destroy Tel Aviv!"

"Mohammed Abdel Qader Jasem, a Kuwaiti lawyer and writer, argued that Israel's action in Lebanon may pave the way for a "yellow tide" (referring to Hizbullah's flag) to sweep the Gulf."

"In Bahrain, where marches have attracted up to 5,000 demonstrators, the Sunni monarchy finds itself in the tricky position of having to show solidarity with its Shia majority's indignation without compromising its status as an American ally and base for the US navy's Fifth Fleet."

VIA ANGRY ARAB NEWSERVICE


Friday, August 04, 2006

The War Party

"But when the time comes to choose (for Israel, or against war with Iran) I fully expect to see Ned Lamont in the front ranks of the pro-war phalanx, right next to the last great white Democratic anti-war hope, Howard Dean."

"People tell me I shouldn't get hung up on this because, you know, if the Dems get in they'll make sure the seniors get their Social Security checks a little faster -- or they'll keep the Supreme Court out of the hands of legal madmen or do something about global climate change or save the whales or whatever else it is that's supposed to make the Democratic Party infinitely preferable to the Republicans."

"It's not that I discount these differences entirely -- although they're easily oversold. But compared to the fate that awaits the republic, and the world, if the United States deliberately starts a war with Iran, those other considerations start to look pretty insignificant. I mean, we're talking about World War III here, fought by people who want to use tactical nuclear weapons. I'm supposed to put that out of my mind because the Dems might be a little bit more generous about funding the VA budget??? I'm sorry, but that's fucking nuts."

http://billmon.orgvia Cusor.org

Nuking Us To the Rapture

"Hagee doesn't fear a nuclear conflagration, but rather God's wrath for standing by as Iran executes its supposed plot to destroy Israel. A nuclear confrontation between America and Iran, which he says is foretold in the Book of Jeremiah, will not lead to the end of the world, but rather to God's renewal of the Garden of Eden. But Hagee is ultimately less concerned with the fate of Israel or the Jews than with a theocratic Christian right agenda. When Jesus returns for his millennial reign, he tells his television audience, "the righteous are going to rule the nations of the earth When Jesus Christ comes back, he's not going to ask the ACLU if it's all right to pray, he's not going to ask the churches if they can ordain pedophile bishops and priests, he's not going to ask if it's all right to put the Ten Commandments in the statehouses. He's not going to endorse abortion, he's going to run the world by the word of God The world will never end. It's going to become a Garden of Eden, and Christ is going to rule it."

Antiwar.com

European Union Monitors Help Israel Imprison Gazans

"PCHR [Palestine Committee for Human Rights] condemns the position of EU monitors in the RafahCrossing. The Centre calls upon these monitors to returnimmediately to conduct their mission at the crossing so asto facilitate solving the humanitarian problems arisingfrom the closure of the crossing. PCHR calls upon the EUmonitors to pressure Israel to allow the immediate openingof the Rafah Crossing. The Centre calls upon the monitorsto cease taking part in the collective punishment againstPalestinian civilians and the transformation of the GazaStrip into a large prison for nearly 1.5 millionPalestinians."

Ali Abunimah

In Iraqi Town, Residents Blame Attacks on Troop Presence

"We want the same thing. I want to go home to my wife," Graves, of Killeen, Tex., said he told Hit officials when his unit, the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, arrived here in February. The goal, Graves said, is for U.S. forces to leave Hit proper and patrol only the main highway passing by the town.

Another U.S. officer put it more bluntly: "Nobody wants us here, so why are we here? That's the big question," said Maj. Brent E. Lilly. Lilly leads a Marine civil affairs team that has disbursed many thousands of dollars for damage claims and projects in Hit, but is still mortared almost daily. "If we leave, all the attacks would stop, because we'd be gone."

Via Angry Arab

Thursday, August 03, 2006

McKinney Opponent Rakes in Pro-Israel cash

"Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s primary run-off opponent has tapped into the pro-Israel fundraising network that helped her virtually unknown challenger Denise Majette topple McKinney and Artur Davis beat then-Rep. Earl Hilliard (D-Ala.) in a pair of hotly contested 2002 primaries in black-majority districts.

Hank Johnson collected at least $34,100 on Tuesday from individuals and political action committees (PACs) that supported Majette, Davis or both, including several pro-Israel PACs. Overall, Johnson reported receiving $63,100 on Tuesday."

Two Cheeks Of The Same Arse

"I don't suppose that Republican Presidents have any special love for Palestine, but there are other political realities that generally make them less susceptible to a foreign policy of Israel-right-or-wrong. Firstly, they know what is good for business; and the fact is that the business of the Middle East is oil and that is not found on the Israeli side of the Arab-Israeli equation. Secondly, they have enjoyed a certain freedom of action over the years vis-a-vis Israel simply because they haven't had to worry about alienating the Jewish-American voter or political contributor: Fuck the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway, as James Baker III summed it up so delicately. I think that's why the major instances when this country actually said "no" to Israel have come from Republican Presidents: from Eisenhower's forcing Israel to relinquish all of the Sinai after the Suez Crisis of 1956, to Reagan's insistence on pushing through the sale of AWACs to Saudia Arabia, to George H W Bush dragging a reluctant Yitzhak Shamir to the Madrid Conference in 1991 by threatening to cut off U.S. loan guarantees to Israel."

"The reason I bring up this historical background is that it shows that Republicans have a "realist conservative" position to fall back on now that Bush's neo-conservativism has become a fiery wreck. (And if you want to know what a realist conservative policy looks like in the Middle East, think of the Mearsheimer-Walt paper which - although smeared by the usual suspects as some kind of looney left Protocols of the Elders of Zion - reflects the basic premises of realist conservatism: 1. that Israel has a right to exist; 2. that Palestinians have a legitimate political grievance; 3. that the U.S. has interests in the Middle East far beyond Israel; and therefore 4. conflating U.S. and Israeli interests in the Middle East may be bad for Israel, but is certainly bad for the U.S. in that it destroys the prospect of normal relations with the Arab world). You can hardly say the same thing about a Democratic Party that is institutionally unable to utter a rational word about Israel. And this has the potential to really hurt the Democrats unless they can get their act together, open up debate, and come up with their own coherent foreign policy alternative to neoconservatism."

We're All Enemy Combatants Now

"The military commission legislation to be presented today will likely speak to the scope of the term “enemy combatant,” but not the process for designating them—because the administration’s position is to press for as little process as possible. The draft legislation contained a definition as hazardously capacious as the Wolfowitz definition: someone who “engaged in hostilities against the United States” and has “committed an act that violates the law of war.”

"At first blush, this appears to be a narrow definition, containing only those who in fact are implicated in some serious crime. But any limit to that definition vanishes upon closer examination of the legislation. For one of the “war crimes” listed in the statute is conspiracy. Because conspiracy has long been criticized as a vague and open-ended concept that is amenable to abuse by prosecutors, it has not traditionally been part of the law of war. The situation at hand shows why. To allow individuals to be designated “enemy combatants” based on the allegation that they have some part of a terrorist “conspiracy” is to return to the Wolfowitz definition. It is to legitimate the detention of the English teacher and the little old lady in Switzerland on the minimal—and entirely blameless—acts they committed."

The Refugees' Fury Will be Felt for Generations to Come

"People walk the dusty, broken roads in scorching summer heat, taking shelter in the basements of empty buildings. In Gaza and Lebanon, in the refugee camps of Khan Younis, Rafah and Jabaliya, in Tyre and Beirut, in Nabatiyeh and Sidon, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children seek refuge. As they flee, they risk the indiscriminate wrath of an enemy driven by an existential mania that can not be assuaged, only stopped. Ambulances are struck, humanitarian relief convoys are struck, UN observers are struck. Warning leaflets are dropped from the sky urging people to abandon their homes, just as they were in 1996, 1982, 1978, 1967 and 1948. The ultimately impossible decision in Gaza and Lebanon today is: where does a refugee go?"

From Antiwar.com

Is There a Role for Reality in US Foreign Policy?--Michael Scheuer

"To condemn Prime Minister Maliki for being anti-Israeli is, in essence, to reject the way that democracy and self-determination have so far worked out in Iraq. Indeed, America's bipartisan democracy-mongers have made a consistent habit of rejecting or ignoring the results of all the "democratic" elections that have been held since 2000 in the Middle East. Each vote has yielded results that reflect the overwhelmingly anti-Israeli views of Muslim electorates, either by producing actual governments – Iraq and Palestine – or the marked political advance of Islamists in Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. That our leaders are surprised by these results can be explained by one of only two factors: their surprise is feigned and therefore deceitful, or they are ignorant of the history of both America and the Middle East."

"Last week's condemnation of Maliki reveals with stark clarity that the Muslim world remains terra incognita for U.S. governing elites. Nearly 60 years after President Truman recognized the state of Israel to win the domestic pro-Israel vote for the then cash-strapped and vote-needy Democrats, Schumer and Dean have stayed true to that cynical mission, a mission the Republicans have also signed on to heart and soul. More important, the failure of America's elites to see that no genuine U.S. national interests are at stake in the Arab-Israeli conflict and that our model of democracy has little or no relevance in the Islamic world except – as the Founders foresaw – as a symbol, has put Americans in harm's way at home and abroad. Indeed, their reality-free foreign policy has made America a target for the hatred of increasing numbers of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims."

US Troops Kill Iraqis on Way to Anti-Israel Rally

BAGHDAD, Aug. 3 — American troops opened fire today on a vehicle carrying armed Shiites to an anti-Israel demonstration in Baghdad, killing two occupants and wounding at least 16, officials said.

Bush Seeks Expanded Military Tribunal Role

The White House is seeking legislation that would allow people not affiliated with terrorism to be prosecuted in military commissions -- with far fewer rights than afforded civilians.

Washington Post Service


WASHINGTON - A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such ''commissions'' to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not al Qaeda members or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal plan.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, also allows the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

From Antiwar.com

War Crimes and Lebanon

The US-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon has left the country numb, smouldering and angry. The massacre in Qana and the loss of life is not simply "disproportionate". It is, according to existing international laws, a war crime.

The deliberate and systematic destruction of Lebanon's social infrastructure by the Israeli air force was also a war crime, designed to reduce that country to the status of an Israeli-US protectorate. The attempt has backfired. In Lebanon itself, 87% of the population now support Hizbullah's resistance, including 80% of Christian and Druze and 89% of Sunni Muslims, while 8% believe the US supports Lebanon. But these actions will not be tried by any court set up by the "international community" since the US and its allies that commit or are complicit in these appalling crimes will not permit it.

It has now become clear that the assault on Lebanon to wipe out Hizbullah had been prepared long before. Israel's crimes had been given a green light by the US and its loyal British ally, despite the opposition to Blair in his own country.

In short, the peace that Lebanon enjoyed has come to an end, and a paralysed country is forced to remember a past it had hoped to forget. The state terror inflicted on Lebanon is being repeated in the Gaza ghetto, while the "international community" stands by and watches in silence. Meanwhile, the rest of Palestine is annexed and dismantled with the direct participation of the US and the tacit approval of its allies.

We offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality and to those who mount a resistance against it. For our part, we will use all the means at our disposal to expose the complicity of our governments in these crimes. There will be no peace in the Middle East while the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and the temporarily "paused" bombings of Lebanon continue.
Tariq Ali
Noam Chomsky
Eduardo Galeano
Howard Zinn
Ken Loach
John Berger
Arundhati Roy
London

Some Israeli Attacks Amount to War Crimes

(Beirut, August 3, 2006) – Israeli forces have systematically failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians in their military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said in report released today. The pattern of attacks in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nasrallah and the Three Lebanons

DAMASCUS - Many in the Arab world are blaming the Lebanese for being so disunited and for not rallying en masse behind Hezbollah and its secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. These divisions are strange for those who do not know Lebanon: there are in essence three Lebanons, each with its own history, objectives, alliances and leaders.

Science to Make A comeback in Kansas?

Kansas voters on Tuesday handed power back to moderates on the State Board of Education, setting the stage for a return of science teaching that broadly accepts the theory of evolution, according to preliminary election results.

Lebanese Request for Help

Samidoun. This is a progressive group in Lebanon and they asked me to ask you to help out if you can. They are in the forefront of the relief work at As-Sanayi` Park where Southern Lebanese refugees live.

From As'ad Abukhalil at Angry Arab Newservice.

AIPAC'S HOLD

When The Nation Magazine notes something like this, you know it's bad:

AIPAC not only lobbied for the resolution; it had written it. "They [Congress] were given a resolution by AIPAC," said former Carter Administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who addressed the House Democratic Caucus on July 19. "They didn't prepare one."
...

Discussion in Congress quickly widened beyond Israel to include a broader policy of confrontation toward the entire Middle East. Congressmen sent a flurry of "dear colleague" letters to one another, hoping to pressure the Administration into tightening sanctions on Syria and Iran, Hezbollah's two main state sponsors. Former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross addressed a packed AIPAC-sponsored luncheon on the Hill, where, according to one aide present, Ross told the room: "This is all about Syria and Iran...we shouldn't be condemning Israel now." Said Representative Robert Andrews, a Democrat from New Jersey and co-chair of the Iran Working Group, which this week hosted an official from the Israeli embassy: "I concur completely with that approach."

Democrats, as they did during the Dubai ports scandal, used the crisis to score a few cheap, easy political points against the Bush Administration. The new prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, found himself engulfed in a Congressional firestorm after he denounced Israel's attacks on Lebanon as an act of "aggression." Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Rahm Emanuel, who volunteered in Israel during the first Gulf War, called on Maliki to cancel his planned address before Congress. Asked Senator Chuck Schumer, who skipped Maliki's July 26 speech: "Which side is he on when it comes to the war on terror?" Howard Dean one upped his colleagues, labeling Maliki an "anti-Semite" during a speech in Palm Beach, Florida.

From Angry Arab Newservice.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Israel Admits No Rockets Came from Qana

As the Israel Air Force continues to investigate the air strike, questions have been raised over military accounts of the incident.

It now appears that the military had no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time.

The Israel Defense Forces had said after the deadly air-strike that many rockets had been launched from Qana. However, it changed its version on Monday.

Blogger Jailed for Refusing to Turn over G8 Video

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 1 — A freelance journalist and blogger was jailed on Tuesday after refusing to turn over video he took at an anticapitalist protest here last summer and after refusing to testify before a grand jury looking into accusations that crimes were committed at the protest.

Keeping the American Street in Line

From Stanley Rogousky on Counterpunch:

Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin all know how the game is played and they rarely object to it. In spite of some window dressing put out by John Kerry, Russ Feingold and Jack Murtha earlier this year, the Democrats fully support the occupation of Iraq and vote with their checkbooks (and our tax dollars). When Kerry and Feingold introduced a bill that would have had all American troops taken out of Iraq by 2007, it went down in flames, 87 votes to 13. On June 23rd of this year a vote to approve a $517.7 billion war budget for fiscal year 2007 (including $50 billion designated to maintain the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan) passed unanimously.

That's right. All 13 Senate Democrats who voted for the Kerry/Feingold Bill, including Kerry and Feingold, voted to keep the supply of money flowing into the Green Zone and, consequently, to the government of Nouri al-Maliki.

Nevertheless last week the Democrats decided to throw a tantrum. Nouri al-Maliki's statement condemning the Israeli attack on Lebanon threw them into a spasm of rage. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel called on Maliki to cancel his planned address before Congress. Chuck Schumer, who didn't show up for the July 26 speech at all, wondered about Maliki's loyalty to the west. "Which side is he on when it comes to the war on terror." Harry Reid and Dick Durbin demanded that Maliki make some ritualistic statement of support for Israel and against Hizbollah. And Howard Dean turned the volume up to 11, labeling Maliki an "anti-Semite" during a speech in Palm Beach, Florida.

Later in article:

"The Democratic Party's single biggest foreign policy liability is not that Americans think Democrats are soft," he [Peter Beinert] wrote in his editorial in the Washington Post, "it is that Americans think Democrats stand for nothing, that they have no principles beyond political expedience. Given the party's behavior over the past several months, it is not hard to understand why".

We saw some of this yesterday at the Cantwell fundraiser.


Hizbullah's attacks Stem from Israeli Incursions into Lebanon

As pundits and policymakers scramble to explain events in Lebanon, their conclusions are virtually unanimous: Hizbullah created this crisis. Israel is defending itself. The underlying problem is Arab extremism.

Sadly, this is pure analytical nonsense. Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers on July 12 was a direct result of Israel's silent but unrelenting aggression against Lebanon, which in turn is part of a six-decades long Arab-Israeli conflict.

Homeless and Alone After Devastating Israeli Strike Kills His Family

NABATIEH: He stepped out to get some water for his family and when he came back, he found a demolished home and no one left but his dead wife and four children. Adnan Harakeh from Nabatieh wandered the street where his home once stood and holding pictures of his family, cried and screamed: "I am responsible for their death. I wish I had moved to Beirut."

An Israeli raid that hit their home in Nmeirieh had left the man homeless and alone.

"You went and left me alone ... What will I do without you?" he cried.

"I went to bring some water for my children ... 20 minutes later, Israeli warplanes raided my house, killing my wife and kids," he told The Daily Star.

Harakeh is a civil defense worker who worked on aiding dozens of civilians killed and wounded during Israel's strikes on Nabatieh.

"Are my wife and kids terrorists, do they have rockets?" he screamed in pain.

Israeli raids Kill 828, Injure 3,200 in Lebanon in Three Weeks - Official

BEIRUT (AFX) - Israeli attacks on Lebanon have left 828 people killed and 3,200 wounded over the last three weeks, the state High Relief Committee said. '

At the 21st day of the Israeli offensive on Lebanon, the health ministry has counted 828 dead, more than 3,200 wounded,' an HRC spokesman who did not wish to be identified said.

'These are identified bodies, and the toll does not count the people still believed to be under the rubble,' he said.

Lieberman's Democrat Nemesis Has Feet of Israeli Clay

My Lamont lament
By greenboyJul 31 2006 - 2:22pm

Man how disappointing - it looks like Lamont doesn't have the balls to stand up to AIPAC and criticise the collective punishment of Lebanon. These lines tucked into his lack-balls apologia say it all:

"It is not for the United States to dictate to Israel how it defends itself. Nor is it my place to make tactical recommendations to the president. But I do have some strategic suggestions about what our country should do moving forward.After the fighting stops, the President needs to reengage in this part of the world and work on a peace settlement and a response to the humanitarian concerns in Gaza and elsewhere."

Jeez, did he just take dictation from his AIPAC controller? We don't need to 'dictate to Israel' what they can and can't do, but we could a) ask them to stop bombing Lebanon, and b) stop supplying them with the bombs they are using to kill Lebanese civilians and c) stop giving them billions of dollars in military aid and assistance.And why should the U.S. sit around and wait until more civilians have died before bothering to "work on a peace settlement"? Am I missing something?Also, how can the Preznit 'reengage' in the cisJordan conflict when he has never been engaged in the first place (unless of course you call rubber-stamping Sharon's Bantustan plans 'engagement)?Lamont - what a fucking disappointment. Looks like the race is turning into a contest between "Cherry Coke" and "New Coke" (I hate cherries).

Above comments from Needlenose blog linked to title above.

Elites Party Down While Lebanon Burns

Evidencing my prior post on the greedy elites, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada points to their bipartisan partying with media mogul Rupert Murdoch--while Lebanon burns:

U2's Bono will deliver a keynote address entitled The Power of One, former US vice-president Al Gore will talk about climate change, and the Israeli vice-premier, Shimon Peres, will appear on a panel named Islam and the West.

Twenty students and users of MySpace, the internet community and latest jewel in the crown of News Corp, will discuss their attitudes and lifestyles in a live focus group called Meet the MySpace Generation.

Roger Ailes, the Fox News executive, will introduce four US military officers, who will share their experiences of serving in Iraq.

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican and presidential hopeful, will give an address on American politics and senator Hillary Clinton will conduct a "town hall-style" discussion as the gathering wraps up Thursday.

AG Lafley, the chief executive of Procter & Gamble, one of the world's biggest advertisers, will talk about building brands.

Former US president Bill Clinton is set to close the conference on Thursday.