Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jewish Math: 6 million minus 2.5 million equals 6 million

The pictures above depict the old and the new memorial plaque for the victims of the former concentration camp in Auschwitz. In 1995, the Polish authorities under President Lech Walesa officially reduced the number of victims from four to one and a half million, without this important change being taken into account by Holocaust believers.

Written by Andrew Winkler, The Rebel Media Group - Oct 26, 2007

The numbers of alleged Jewish victims have always wildly varied from scholar to scholar, from as high as 9 million in the French documentary Night and Fog, which has been shown to millions of students woldwide, to as low as 30,000[1] (out of a total of 69,000) in the official death books. But no matter how high or low the number of victims in the Auschwitz camps, most Holocaust scholars arrive at the same magic six million figure.

Some revisionists suspect that this has more to do with an old Jewish myth according to which six million Jews have to die before the Jewish people can return to Israel.[2] They also point out that claims similar to the ones made after WWII were made at the end of WWI, suggesting that it is more of a symbolic religious figure. Some revisionists go even as far as suggesting the number has to do with the 'Satanic' number 666, referring to allegations of a disproportionally strong Jewish element in Satanic cults.

Our friends over at, the only Holocaust believers who even bother trying to have something remotely resemblant of a rational debate with revisionists - instead of simply resorting to all sorts of insults or calling for the Kosher Inquisition to punish the heretics with the full force of the law - are struggling to 'debunk' the problem of the shrinking number of Auschwitz victims.

Their solution is to insist that most Holocaust scholars always quoted a number of 2.5 million Auschwitz victims, not four million, which of course still leaves us with a not insignificant discrepancy of one million, which isn't accounted for in the overall six million figure. Nizkor also takes objection to the claims of revisionists that they are being hounded down by some kind of 'Thought Police' if they dare to doubt the official numbers. I suggest they talk to the likes of Germar Rudolf and Ernst Zuendel, who are currently imprisoned in Germany for exactly that 'thought crime', as many thousands before them, for daring to challenge the official narrative.

Mind you, Nizkor isn't any better at 'debunking' any of the other revisionist arguments, and there are hundreds of them. Their technique is the same as that of Popular Mechanics, the government funded 'independent' 9-11 Truth 'debunkers'. They usually pick some minor detail in the revisionist argument and refute it, implying the entire argument of the scholar was flaud. What both Nizkor and Popular Mechanics lack in reasoning, they make up by media and financial support, although some purists in the Holcoaust believer crowd argue that it was too risky even try to debate with 'deniers'. Maybe they are worried that anyone who bothers to think through the arguments on both sides, might come to an undesired result.

Which brings me to the important question why we must be able to freely discuss and research whether or not Nazi Germany had a secret plan to kill all European Jews, and killed as many as four, five or six million Jews in chemical slaughter-houses. The answer is because it makes a big difference, today more than ever, especially to the Palestinian and the German people. To the Palestinians, because the Holocaust is being abused by Zionists as a justification for the creation and continued existence of a Jews-only state in Palestine, and to the Germans, because of the possibility that they might have been ashamed and financially burdened for a crime that never happened. Both consequences are so dire that they cannot simply be ignored for the sake of political convenience or the sensitivities of a minority. And then there was also something called 'Freedom of Expression'. It's supposed to be an inalienable human right.

[1] The main cause of death of the officially recorded 30,000 was typphus, a disease camp authorities desperately tried to combat through the use of the infamous Zyklon B gas, a defumigant used to kill head lice in prisoner uniforms. Traces of that substance can still be found today in the rooms used for that purpose, but not in the much bigger rooms allegedly used to gas prisoners.

[2] The Holocaust is widely regarded as the most effective Zionist argument for the creation of a Jewish state, apart from the "historic" claim of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which is obviously nonsense, not only because of the 1900 years time difference, but also because of the fact that 90% of modern Jews are the descendants of ethnic Turks from Mongolia who converted to Judaism a couple of centuries after invading, raping and pillaging Europe as part of Attila's hordes, and their local Germanic rape victims.

US Backed Terrorist Group Explode Car Bomb In Iran Killing 11 Iranian Soldiers, 31 Wounded

Note how none of this is carried in the "free" US media

A War On Terrorism or a War Of Terrorism? - October 26, 2007

Reports as usual vary wildly and small wonder that some news sources are trying to pin this on yet another subsidiary of "Al Qaeda". But this wasn't a suicide attack.

The terrorists drove a car, packed with explosives, up to a bus carrying soldiers of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Some reports say that they forced the bus to stop by firing on it with automatic weapons, others that they blocked the road with the car while pretending to have broken down. Either way, they quickly escaped on motorbikes before detonating the car bomb by remote control.

Reports claim so far 11 soldiers killed and up to 31 wounded. A terrorist attack on this scale against Iran's elite forces, in broad daylight is unprecedented.

The official Iranian news agency announced that five arrests have been made including the ring leader and a major investigation has been launched to determine who else is involved in the attack.

It also claims to have evidence that the terrorist group was backed by the United States.

Explosion kills 11 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards

Iranian News Agency

A car bomb killed 11 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday in the deadliest attack in years near the Pakistani border, and Iran accused the United States of backing militants to destabilize the country.

A Sunni Muslim militant group called Jundallah, or God's Brigade, which has been blamed for past attacks on Iranian troops, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The blast represented a sharp flare-up of violence in the remote southeast corner of Iran, near Pakistan and Afghanistan, that has long been plagued by lawlessness.

The area is a key crossing point for opium from Afghanistan and often sees clashes between police and drug gangs. At the same time, Jundallah has waged a low-level insurgency in the area, led by Abdulmalak Rigi, a member of Iran's ethnic Baluchi minority, a community that is Sunni Muslim and is present in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rigi has said his group is fighting for the rights of impoverished Sunnis under Iran's Shiite government.

An al-Qaida-linked group of the same name has carried out attacks in Pakistan, but Pakistani officials say it is not connected to the Iranian militants. Iranian officials blamed "insurgents" and "terrorists" for Wednesday's bombing -- and accused the United States of backing them to sow instability in Iran.

The London Times

February 15, 2007

The official Iranian news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying evidence suggested that the bus attackers had support from the United States.

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie, Iran's Intelligence Minister, claimed last week that Tehran had identified 100 spies working for the United States and Israel in the border areas.

The attack follows sporadic violence in Iran's oil-rich south-western province of Khuzestan, which has a minority Arab population, and borders southern Iraq, where British troops are based.

Explosions killed more than 20 people in Khuzestan's capital, Ahvaz, in 2005 and early 2006. London has denied as "ludicrous" Iranian accusations that Britain has fomented instability in Khuzestan.

BBC News

Correspondents say an attack of this size and nature is unprecedented in Iran - hitting an elite force in daylight in an open street. Reports say suspects behind the bombing have been arrested.

The city of Zahedan lies in the province of Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has been hit by a string of attacks and kidnappings blamed on the hardline Sunni group called Jundallah.

Iranian officials have accused Britain and the United States of supporting ethnic minority rebels operating in the Islamic republic's sensitive border areas.

Tehran Times

Five suspects have been arrested, an official of the Sistan-Baluchestan Governor General’s Office announced.

“The detained individuals entered the province from another country and according to their confessions, they committed the terrorist act based on a plan to incite division between Shias and Sunnis and provoke ethnic strife,” Soltan-Ali Mir told the Mehr News Agency.

The ringleader of the bombing is among the five, he added. “Some of the arrested terrorists entered Iran two days ago,” Mir stated.

Sunni ulema in Sistan-Baluchestan Province have condemned the bombing, he added. A major operation is underway to identify and arrest all the others involved in the act.

Putin gives stark missile warning

BBC News - October 26, 2007

Russian President Vladimir Putin says US plans for a missile shield could precipitate a situation similar to the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s.

Mr Putin was speaking after a summit with EU leaders in Portugal. The US said there was no comparison "in any way, shape or form".

Russia has long opposed US plans to build missile bases in European states once in the Soviet sphere of influence.

The Cuba crisis saw the US and Soviet Union go to the brink of nuclear war.

The 1962 stand-off was triggered when US spy planes discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba, within striking distance of the American mainland.

Moscow's decision to deploy these weapons in Cuba was at the time seen as a response to the build-up of powerful US missiles in Europe.

Tensions were only defused when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the bases in return for guarantees that Washington would not attack communist Cuba.

'Similar situation'

US President George W Bush has said there is a "real and urgent" need for a missile shield in Europe as a defence against possible attack by Iran and countries in the Middle East.

His defence secretary suggested this week that the development of the bases in countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland could be slowed while Russian concerns were addressed.

President Putin said the threat to Russia's borders was akin to that faced by the US during the Cuban crisis.

"Let me recall how relations shaped up in a similar situation in the mid-1960s.

"Similar actions by the Soviet Union, when it deployed missiles in Cuba, provoked the Caribbean crisis. For us, technologically, the situation is very similar."

He added that current tensions had not reached the pitch attained during the Cuban crisis.

"I agree completely with President Bush when he says that Russia and the US are not enemies anymore... we are partners. I am fully justified in saying that just as he calls me a friend, I can call him a personal friend too."

Mr Putin said Russia had put forward proposals in the area of security but "we have unfortunately not yet received any answers".

US state department spokesman Sean McCormack said there were "clear historical differences" with the Cuban crisis.

"I don't think that they are historically analogous in any way, shape or form."

Simmering tensions

EU leaders at the Portugal summit were hoping to speed progress towards a long-term agreement with Russia, that would extend to sensitive areas such as energy supplies.

The EU depends on Russia for a third of its energy needs and has seen gas supplies disrupted for two successive winters.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso confirmed a deal had been reached on sharing information on energy supplies to pre-empt sudden shortages.

"We have agreed today on a specific early warning mechanism to deal with problems in supply before they become a possible crisis," he said.

An agreement was also reached in Portugal on working together to curb the trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs and on raising the quota for Russian steel exports to the EU.

Disagreements with Russia over human rights and foreign policy overshadowed the start of the summit, with Russia's envoy to the EU warning that Moscow didn't "want to listen to any lectures".

In separate appeals, both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have urged EU leaders to speak firmly and with one voice about what the groups call the Kremlin's worsening human rights record.

The Kremlin also opposes the stance pursued by several EU members on Kosovo and Iran.

Russia opposes independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo and has also criticised recent moves to impose sanctions on Iran.

Truth Matters

by Charles Sullivan - Oct 27, 2007

I have been writing political essays for a few years now. I do so as a reluctant enthusiast, not because I wanted to write on these themes; but because, it seemed to me, that professional journalists were not telling the whole story; that significant parts that would allow people to connect the dots and understand what is happening from a historical perspective, was being deliberately omitted from the official version of current events, and from history.

As propaganda, the elements that are deliberately left out of media are as important as those that are retained. It is propaganda by omission, as much as by content. What people are not told shapes their world view and influences their behavior, as surely as what they are told. Imposed ignorance and selective knowledge go hand in hand to forge public opinion and to shape cultural identity. These conditions set the stage for belligerent government and aggressive nationalism.

It is not coincidental that professional journalists, those who write for profit in the mainstream media, are the least likely to tell us the truth, the whole truth; whereas, free-lance writers, who operate under a different set of rules and out of the mainstream, are more likely to serve the public interest, and tell us what we need to know in order to be a free people, and good world citizens.

Professional journalists are beholden to a code of ethics and personal conduct that free-lance writers are not. Namely, they are part of a fraternity, a part of the cultural orthodoxy, with an incentive in maintaining the established order. The incentive is always financial and professional, and involves creating the acceptance and trust of those in power, which may, when properly executed, even result in the celebrity status of the journalist.

Journalists who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo or advancing their careers do not operate in the public interest. Their purpose is not to inform but to deceive.

When a major news anchor reports upon the invasion and occupation of sovereign nations, uncritically putting forth pentagon propaganda as justification for the attack, he or she is in essence acting in the manner of a celebrity athlete endorsing a product. The basketball star may endorse Nike sneakers, manufactured by indentured servants in foreign sweatshops; while the news anchor is endorsing war and disaster capitalism projected around the world by Lockheed Martin and the Carlyle Group. Both are prostitutes.

Mainstream corporate journalism is not about speaking truth to power, it is about selling products and perceptions. It is about creating a culture of ignorant consumers incapable of distinguishing between propaganda and news, fact and fiction.

This is marketing and perception management masquerading as unbiased, objecting reporting. I call it the big lie.

If the mainstream journalist wants to prosper, if they want to have access to the inner circles of power, they must play the game according to the established rules. They must toe the corporate line, and provide cover for the corporate assault on human freedoms, and the conquest of nature, while keeping hidden agendas concealed from public view. Journalists must be able to sell widely objectionable concepts to the people, packaged in the garments of seductive—often patriotic language, in order to make them palatable.

How many soldiers, outside of those under the private contracts of firms like Blackwater, would voluntarily stake their lives for corporate profits, and the subjugation of a sovereign people, if they knew that is what they are really fighting for, rather than the more popular and desirable goal of freedom or democracy?

Freedom, liberation, and democracy have never been corporate objectives; nor can they ever be the objective of corporate governance. They are only selling points that conceal hidden corporate agendas; the attractive packaging for war, occupation, and privatization, obtained at pubic expense.

If news stories are not believable to the multitudes, if they fail to garner popular support by masking corporate agendas behind deceptive language, the majority of governmental polices and private agendas could not be enacted. If the people knew what was being done in their name, and who is profiting from those policies, there might be widespread opposition and even social upheaval. It would be difficult to field a voluntary military that knows it is fighting for the bottom line of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Lockheed Martin, rather than for freedom and democracy, as they are told.

Thus those who would serve in the military as self-ordained patriots are sold a bill of goods. By invading and occupying Iraq, they are, in effect, undermining the very principles they claim to hold sacred, including those set forth in the Constitution and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Likewise, the average US citizen is sold a similar bill of goods in order to garner support for policies they would, presumably, never voluntarily sustain, if they understood them better.

That is the genius of modern capitalism and its impressive marketing apparatus. The results have been breathtaking.

Skillful perception management always precedes empire. Well presented propaganda allows history to be presented as a kind of fairy tale that ignores the horrible things the government has always done in our name, at the behest of corporate America and our wealthiest citizens, which should be too well known to bear reiteration here.

In our capitalist culture, journalism must not be thought of as a reporting of facts, but as marketing propaganda—the selling of ideas that might not otherwise be embraced by those who must carry out hidden agendas, or the people on the receiving end of them. Seen in this way, the US soldier and the Iraqi citizen are both pawns in a rich man’s game: the former as the implementer of unjust war and occupation, the other as the unwilling recipient of them.

The end result for both soldier and Iraqi citizen is tragic: the soldier is told that he or she is protecting their country from foreign threats, something that is patently false; while the innocent Iraqi citizen, defending his or her home from foreign occupation, knows that she or he is not a terrorist, but is treated like one, nevertheless.

Both occupier and the occupied share a common foe, but it is not each other; it is the criminals, aided and abetted by the corporate media, who put them in formal opposition to one another for financial gain.

Our recent history would have been impossible without the consolidation of the media that occurred during the Clinton presidency, and has continued ever since. The entire spectra of mainstream media are now under the control of only four or five corporations. We no longer have reporting on local issues stemming from diverse perspectives rooted in local communities, but a monoculture of state and corporate propaganda that betrays the public trust in its pursuit of corporate profits.

Aided by the president and congress, the public owned airwaves were hijacked and are being used against the people by giant multinational corporations.

The result of this media monoculture, as purveyed by the likes of Judith Miller and Tom Brokaw, and countless others, is tragic. And they represent only the tip of the mainstream iceberg. Think of the horrible and shameless lies, the baseless fear and hate that are continuously voiced by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, and the hateful broadcasts that emanate from Bob Jones University, masquerading as Christian theology.

Corporate media is the vanguard of empire and environmental destruction on a global scale.

Unlike its corporate counterpart, reporting truth requires people of unassailable integrity. It requires a thirst for justice with the strength of character to oppose the powerful undertow of manufactured perception and conformity, and the seductive language created to execute the hidden agendas of corrupt governments. Uncovering truth requires commitment to the people, rather than to profit driven corporate agendas.

Only a handful of professional journalists have attained the kind of stature that makes such reportage possible in the United States. Their names are not at all well known, with the possible exception of Seymour Hersch, Robert Fisk, Bill Moyers and Greg Palast.

More often than not, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of independent journalists and unpaid free-lancers. The professional journalist must answer to his/her boss, and portray the corporation that employs them in a favorable light, even if they are profiting from unprovoked war and occupation. In contrast, the free-lancer is bound only by the constraints of conscience, imagination, and ability.

Occasionally, an astonished responder to one of my more poignant essays will tell me that I should forward the piece to the New York Times: to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, or even the BBC. I never have.

It would be hard for me to imagine any corporation undermining its own profitability by exposing its hidden agendas, and denouncing itself as a commissioner of murder and mayhem, motivated by insatiable greed and a lust for wealth and power that would astonish even the staunchest mafia don. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen! Snowballs in hell have a better chance.

Its not that free-lancers like me wouldn’t like to get paid for what we do; it’s that our views do not enhance the bottom line of corporate giants and, in many cases, actually undermine them. Thus it behooves the professional journalist and the corporate media to ignore or discredit us as purveyors of truth and seekers of justice.

Soon it will be an act of sedition to speak truth in this country. Yet, truth will continue to exist, despite all attempts to destroy it.

Whether they admit it or not, virtually all of the best known journalists in the US subscribe to the racist and sexist ideologies of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny, and they go to great lengths to advance these ideas, by presenting them as something other than what they really are. Slight of hand is the rule of mainstream journalism, not the exception.

Conversely, by serving the people, free-lance journalists are, of necessity, undermining the corporate agenda. Thus they are treated as enemies of the state, which has become indistinguishable from the corporation itself. We live in a culture where one cannot value truth and carry forth corporate agendas. Truth is the enemy of empire.

This might also explain why so many unembedded journalists have been deliberately killed in Iraq and the Gaza strip by US and Israeli snipers. The world must not know what the occupiers do, or the propaganda veneer may no longer have its intended effect on the consumers of media.
Speaking truth to power, especially corrupt power, is dangerous business— particularly in war zones and fascist states, like the one evolving in the US.

Corporate media is the vanguard of colonialism and imperialist policy. It plays a key role in preparing the public mind for imperialist wars and occupations and their subsequent puppet governments; it also serves the emerging police state at home that erodes our freedoms, until there is nothing left of them.

Yet, occasionally, even in this artificially constructed myth loving culture, truth wins out simply because someone cares enough to tell it like it is, without sugar coating. Truth matters; and that is—and always will be—of primal importance to some people. Let future historical records show that there was opposition to what was being done in our name, that there were people willing to speak truth to power, to stem the evil tide by standing up for justice, cost what it may.

Future historians of the dominant culture are likely to cast these accounts into the memory hole and pretend that they never existed, carrying forth the myth that the people were always united behind the injustice and tyranny of our time. We saw this in Nazi Germany in the buildup to World War Two, and we are seeing it now in the US.

But a culture that does not value truth and justice is not worth preserving. Such cultures will self destruct and implode upon themselves; the world will eventually unite against them and bring them down. All of the military might in the world, all the subterfuge, is not powerful enough to overcome simple truth.

Any individual who values truth more than lies, who keeps truth alive in his or her heart, despite all efforts to dislodge it from its ethical moorings, is more powerful than even the most advanced weapons systems. Truth emerges unscathed from the rubble of fallen empire as immutable as an inviolable law of nature. Nothing can bring it down because it is real.

If we are to evolve into a justice loving people, truth must become our moral foundation, the basis of our existence as a people. Truth and justice are inseparable partners on the road to liberation from tyranny and fascism.

Concord’s greatest citizen, the poet-philosopher, Henry D. Thoreau, summed it up well: “The one great rule of composition…is to speak the truth. This first, this second, this third; pebbles in your mouth or not.” Perhaps more than anything, that simplistic ability to speak plain truth, and in all languages, is what I most admire about Thoreau. There is much to admire and respect in a man who spoke in those terms, and lived by that simple credo.

Truth is simple and uncomplicated, whereas lies and distortions are complex. Truth stands strong and unwavering without artificial support; lies and propaganda require elaborate schemes and constant propping up, the mask of deception.

More of us must learn the language of truth; we must be its faithful guardians, if we are to be valuable citizens in this world, rather than the useful idiots of empire. By holding truth and justice in the highest regard, we demonstrate that another world is not only possible, but highly probable.

As voracious consumers of media, we must be as careful about what we admit into our minds, as the food we put into our bodies. Food can nourish and sustain us, or it can produce disease and decay. And so it is with media.

To date, we have not been very discriminate, and the result is that we have become a culture of the mentally obese, fed on junk media. Our minds, our souls, have been deliberately poisoned; our perceptions twisted and distorted, our humanity abandoned to the quest for profits and power.

We must purge our minds of junk media and replace it with something more nutritious, if we favor health over disease. Peace is not possible without two essential ingredients: truth and justice. Neither is possible in the absence of the other. We must live as if truth still matters.

ANALYSIS: Israel's real intention behind sanctions on Gaza Strip

by Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff , Haaretz - Oct 26, 2007

There is an enormous gap between the reasons Israel is giving for the decision to impose significant sanctions against Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, and the real intentions behind them. Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized Thursday a plan for disrupting electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, as well as significantly shrinking fuel shipments.

This is supposed to reduce the number of Qassam rocket attacks against Sderot and the other border communities. In practice, defense officials believe that the Palestinian militants will intensify their attacks in response to the sanctions. As such, the real aim of this effort is twofold: to attempt a new form of "escalation" as a response to aggression from Gaza, before Israel embarks on a major military operation there; and to prepare the ground for a more clear-cut isolation of the Gaza Strip - limiting to an absolute minimum Israel's obligation toward the Palestinians there.

Several weeks ago, Barak said Israel "is getting closer" to a major operation in the strip. Like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Barak is not excited about this possibility. He knows that it will not be easy, and there are no guarantees for positive results. Many soldiers will be killed and so will many innocent Palestinians, because the IDF will employ a massive artillery bombardment before it sends infantry into the crowded built-up areas. This will be a "dirty war," very aggressive, that will have scenes of destruction similar to southern Lebanon in 2006. The sole exception: unlike in Lebanon, the population there has nowhere to run.

Moreover, Ashkenazi has told the cabinet that he will only support an offensive operation if it is long-lasting. If after several weeks of fighting, the IDF is allowed time to carry out arrests and gather intelligence, then the chief of staff sees a point for the operation.

Defense sources say the sanctions will lead the militants to intensify their attacks to show that they do not succumb to Israeli pressure. And because the sanctions will not be severe - so as not to create a humanitarian crisis - they will not be effective. It is actually expected that the gasoline shortage will have a greater effect than the disruptions in the electricity supply - which normally happens because of equipment breakdowns.

The decision on sanctions is also an attempt to give expression to the inclination to completely disengage from Gaza. In this way Israel is sending a message to the Palestinian leadership in the strip that it must seek alternatives, however minor, to goods and services coming from Israel. This touches on the day after the Annapolis summit. Failure at the summit may lead Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas into the arms of Hamas. In such a case, Israel is raising a big stop sign at the exit from Ramallah: Passage to Gaza is closed.

When 'Good Men' do Nothing

by Joharah Baker - Oct 26, 2007

The events that transpired at the Ketziot Detention Center in the Negev Desert on October 22 sound off more than one alarm bell. The most obvious and most devastating is the fact that a 23-year-old Palestinian political prisoner is now dead and 250 others injured as a result of the violent encounter. But the tragic death of Mohammed Al Ashqar is not the only disturbing factor in this recent event. Once again, Israel, which considers itself above the law [international and otherwise] when dealing with the Palestinians, has carried out one more atrocity against this people with impunity.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, Mohammed Al Ashqar from Tulkarm died after being shot in the head by prison wardens and riot police. Al Ashqar, who was taken to the Soroka Hospital first, was reportedly handcuffed to the bed even though he was in a state of clinical death. He died shortly after.

The riots broke out when prisoners objected to a midnight search by prison authorities. Apparently, an agreement between the two sides stipulates that prison authorities would not carry out late-night raids. That night, it was after two in the morning when the authorities stormed the tents.

The Palestinians say the Israeli prison authorities used tear gas and rubber and live bullets against the approximately 2,300 prisoners, causing several injuries and burning down 14 tents. The Israelis, unsurprisingly, have a completely different version. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, prison authorities were forced to enter the tents to carry out a "massive search for concealed weapons." They say, besides Al Ashqar, only 15 other Palestinians were injured and 15 wardens, who were lightly wounded.

The 535 wardens who participated in the raid used something called "crowd dispersal sachets", basically a bag full of metal pellets, which Israel claims are "non-lethal". Israeli prison authorities maintain that the wardens shot the sachets at the prisoners’ legs according to standard procedure, but that Al Ashqar was "bending down" when he was hit in the head.

While the actual events are important and have been covered in the press extensively, it is also imperative to recognize the underlying and often unnoticed layers that characterize Palestinian-Israeli dynamics.

For Israel, killing Palestinians, whether armed members of military groups or unarmed civilians, has become more or less, run-of-the-mill. The world hardly blinks an eye when a Palestinian is killed by Israeli soldiers, settlers or in this case, prison wardens. Perhaps this is partly because the Palestinians are on such unfortunate standing these days with the international community, that in some twisted way, their lives are deemed less valuable than others. But mostly, this imbalance in the sanctity and value of human life – especially between an Israeli and a Palestinian one – is due to the complex and intricate web of deception Israel has weaved around the definition of Palestinian.

With the help of others, especially the United States and various other western allies, Israel, regardless of the magnitude of the atrocity it perpetrates, is always able to absolve itself of any wrongdoing. They make themselves out, like the common Arabic saying, "like a hair pulled from a ball of dough" – completely clean.

But the fact that it happens so often does not make it any more justifiable. Take this incident. Israel killed Al Ashqar, who is married with one son, hours before Israeli troops stormed Jenin and killed Al Quds Brigades commander Khaled Hussein and his assistant Mohammed Jawabri. Mubarak Hasanat was also killed that day when his car was hit by an Israeli missile on the Gaza coastal road.

Israel does not even bother itself with offering credible justifications for killing Palestinian activists. As long as they are so-called "terrorists plotting to kill innocent Israelis", the Israeli state has given itself every right to shoot and kill whenever it deems appropriate. Never mind that these charges were never made in a court of law or that this sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen in so-called "civilized and democratic countries". Apparently, the rules that apply to other countries don’t seem to apply to Israel, at least when it comes to the Palestinians. Assumedly, if the riots happened in a prison where Israeli prisoners were held, the outcome would have been different, including legal action taken against the prison authorities. No one in Israel would tolerate such brutality against its citizens, and rightly so.

But if one thing can be learned from this lack of balance between Israel and the Palestinians, is that the latter is usually left to defend itself. Today, for example, demonstrations have broken out throughout the Palestinian territories in protest of Al Asqhar’s death. Furthermore, the prisoners’ movement – over 10,000 political prisoners in Israeli jails – declared a one-day hunger strike in protest of yesterday’s events in the desert detention facility. The Palestinian Authority and all Palestinian factions have strongly condemned the assault on prisoners, calling for the protection of those behind Israeli bars.

Israel says it will open an investigation into the incident, but we all know where Israel’s "investigations" into Palestinian deaths lead: nowhere. Or in the worst case scenario, the investigation will conclude that it was primarily the Palestinians’ fault that its authorities had to use extensive force to quell the riot and additional restrictions placed on the prisoners in order to avoid any future disturbances.

This is certainly not the first time a Palestinian prisoner has died in an Israeli jail. Since the start of the Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, there have been 17 prisoner deaths, according to the Prisoners’ Club. After each death, the Palestinians rise up on anger, condemning the injustice and calling on international organizations to step in and protect the prisoners. And while organizations such as the International Committee for the Red Cross facilitate in matters such as family visits and securing clothes to the men and women behind bars, they are rendered ineffective when Israel orders a shut down. After Monday’s riots at Ketziot, Israeli prison authorities canceled all family visits to the prison.

So basically, the Palestinians, whether inside prison or not, are all at the mercy of Israel’s oppressive policies and Israel, regardless of its actions, is almost always exonerated in the eyes of the international community under the pretext of its "security" and "self-defense."

Since the Palestinians do not have all the means to persecute Israel for their actions, this responsibility should fall on those people (or countries) of conscience who do. In the words of English philosopher Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Big-Game Hunting in Iraq

Tom Engelhardt & Nick Turse - October 26, 2007

Evidently, Blackwater, the now infamous private security company whose hired guns, working for the State Department, mowed down at least 17 Iraqis in a Baghdad square recently, wants to soften its image. (I wonder why?) The New York Times' Paul von Zielbauer just reported that the company has redesigned its logo. Once, according to him, it was "a bear's paw print in a red crosshairs, under lettering that looks to have been ripped from a fifth of Jim Beam" on a "menacing" black field. Like Daniel Boone, the company was evidently selling its ability to put "big game" in the crosshairs of its gun sights in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, subtly transformed, the logo is on a white background; the bear's paw more modest looking; and the crosshairs of that sniper's rifle have simply disappeared.

Maybe it will prove a tad late for Blackwater to take its rep out of the Wild West and into the mild and corporate, but it's certainly never too late to try. Americans (if not Iraqis) are a forgiving people, who believe in the second chance. While Blackwater sends in the marketing guys to humanize itself, it looks as if the U.S. military may be moving in another direction when it comes to big-game hunting, as Nick Turse, on the Tomdispatch military beat, reports today. - Tom

(Un)Fair Game

Targeting Iraqis as "Big Game" - By Nick Turse

Earlier this month, news of the military's use of Human Terrain Teams -- U.S. combat units operating in Afghanistan and Iraq that contain anthropologists and other social scientists who have traded in their academic robes for body armor -- hit the front-page of the New York Times. While the incorporation of academic experts into combat units has raised ire in some scholarly circles, their use as "cultural advisers" to aid the war effort has been greeted by the military as "a crucial new weapon in counterinsurgency operations" and in the media as an example of increased cultural sensitivity as well as evidence of a new Pentagon willingness to think outside the box.

But the university is only one of a number of areas where an overstretched military, involved in two losing wars, is in a desperate search for new ideas. And humanizing allies and enemies alike has only been one part of the process. Dehumanizing them has been the other. At a recent conference on urban warfare in Washington, D.C., James Lasswell, a retired Marine Corps colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, opened an interesting window into this side of things. He noted that, as part of an instruction course named "Combat Hunter," the Marines have brought in "big-game hunters" to school their snipers in the better use of "optics." According to a September 2007 article by Grace Jean in NationalDefense Magazine, "[T]he lab conducted a war game with Marines, African game hunters and inner city police officers to search for ways to improve training." The program included a 15-minute CD titled "Every Marine a Hunter."

Earlier this year, according to an article by Kimberly Johnson of the Marine Corps Times, Col. Clarke Lethin, chief of staff of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) -- a unit based in Camp Pendleton, California that took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and will be returning there soon -- indicated that its commanders "believe that if we create a mentality in our Marines that they are hunters and they take on some of those skills, then we'll be able to increase our combat effectiveness." The article included this curious add-on: "The Corps hopes to tap into skills certain Marines may already have learned growing up in rural hunting areas and in urban areas, such as inner cities, said Col. Clarke Lethin, I MEF's chief of staff." Outraged by the statement, one Sgt. Ramsey K. Gregory wrote a letter to the publication asking, "Just what was meant by that comment about the inner city? I hope to God that he's not saying that people from the inner cities are experts in killing each other and that we all just walk around carrying guns."

While the colonel's language -- defended by some -- did seem to suggest that inner-city dwellers lived in an urban jungle of gun-toting hunters of other humans, none of the letters, pro or con, considered quite a different part of the Colonel's equation: the implicit comparison of enemies in urban warfare, today largely Iraqis and Afghans, to animals that are hunted and killed as quarry. As Lethin had unabashedly noted, "We identified a need to ensure our Marines were being the hunters… Hunting is more than just the shooting. It's finding your game."

That military men might indulge in this sort of description was perhaps less than surprising, given the degree to which "hunting" the enemy has been on the lips of America's commander-in-chief. George W. Bush has, on many occasions, invoked the image: "We're hunting them down, one at a time" he likes to say of, for instance, al-Qaeda terrorists, or "we're smoking them out," as he said in November 2001.

In fact, the President needed no big-game hunters to coach him on his optics or anything else. He's talked incessantly of hunting humans -- in speeches to American troops, at photo ops with foreign leaders, at family fundraisers, even in the midst of remarks about homeownership.

Nor is there anything new about Americans treating racial and ethnic enemies as the equivalent of animals to be abused or killed. In his memoir of the Vietnam War, Dispatches, acclaimed combat correspondent Michael Herr, for example, recalled a young soldier from the Army's 1st Infantry Division who admitted, "Well, you know what we do to animals…. kill 'em and hurt 'em and beat on 'em…. Shit, we don't treat the Dinks [Vietnamese] no different than that." Another veteran, quoted elsewhere remembered, "As soon as I hit boot camp…. they tried to change your total personality…. Right away they told us not to call them Vietnamese. Call them gooks, dinks…. They were like animals, or something other than human…. They told us they're not to be treated with any type of mercy…" Today, the slurs of the Vietnam era have been replaced by "haji" and "raghead," while the big-game hunters and the language that goes with killing animals have added to the atmosphere of dehumanization.

That program of instruction is, however, just one recent example of an undercurrent within the military's institutional culture that implicitly reduces people to animals. It's not just in the language of everyday anger and dismissal by soldiers in a strange land where danger is everywhere and it's difficult to tell friend from foe. It's lodged right in the institutional language, if you care to notice. Last month, a piece in the Washington Post, for example, drew much media attention when it came to light that U.S. Army snipers from the "painted demons" platoon of the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division allegedly took part in "a classified program of 'baiting' their targets" to lure insurgents within their sniper scopes.

"Basically, we would put an item [like a spool of wire or ammunition] out there and watch it," said Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of the elite sniper platoon in a sworn statement. "If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. Forces." While there has been much subsequent discussion about the ethics and legality of such a program, nobody seemed to take note of the hunting language involved. After all, when you "bait" a trap (or a hook), it's to lure an animal (or fish) in for the kill. But "bait" for a human?

While the use of anthropologists and other social scientists has made headlines, the utilization of "big-game hunters" as troop trainers for the "urban jungles" of Iraq has been essentially ignored. Programs stressing cultural sensitivity may be covered, but treating Iraqis scavenging in a weapon-strewn war zone as the equivalent of elephants, water buffalo, or other prized trophies of great white hunters has gone largely unexamined in any meaningful way.

From the commander-in-chief to low-ranking snipers, a language of dehumanization that includes the idea of hunting humans as if they were animals has crept into our world -- unnoticed and unnoted in the mainstream media. Perhaps a few linguistics professors or other social scientists might like to step into the breach and offer their views on the subject -- unless, of course, they've already been mustered into those Human Terrain Teams.

Army to review Iraq contracts for fraud

RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press - Oct 27, 2007

WASHINGTON - A team of specially trained investigators will hunker down in an Army office north of Detroit on Monday to begin poring over hundreds of Iraq war contracts in search for rigged awards.

This team of 10 auditors, criminal investigators and acquisition experts are starting with a sampling of the roughly 6,000 contracts worth $2.8 billion issued by an Army office in Kuwait that service officials have identified as a hub of corruption.

The office, located at Camp Arifjan, buys gear and supplies to support U.S. troops as they move in and out of Iraq. The pace of that operation has exploded since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.

Based on what the team finds, the probe may expand and the number of Army military and civilian employees accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks could grow, U.S. officials told The Associated Press. Nearly two dozen have been charged so far.

Signs of trouble include contracts continually awarded to vendors without the usual competition and awards that were competed but went to the bidder with the highest price rather than the lowest. A mismatch between the original product to be purchased and what was actually delivered is another red flag.

"Is there anything in there that might indicate to us that there might be some potential fraudulent activity?" Jeffrey Parsons, director of contracting at Army Materiel Command, said in an AP interview. "If there are patterns that we start to identify, then we're going to do further review."

Contracts with significant problems will be forwarded to the Army Audit Agency and the Army Criminal Investigation Command. If there's credible evidence of wrongdoing, the FBI and prosecutors from the U.S. Justice Department are called in.

In Warren, Mich., home to a large Army acquisition center, the contracting review team will examine 314 of the Kuwait contracts, each worth more than $25,000 and issued between 2003 and 2006.

In Kuwait, a separate team of 10 at Camp Arifjan is already going through 339 contracts of lesser value and awarded during the same time period, according to Army Materiel Command at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Both reviews are to be finished before the end of the year.

A probe of 2007 contracts out of Kuwait has been completed; investigators found numerous problems with the office, including inadequate staffing and oversight, high staff turnover, and poor record-keeping.

In the midst of those shortcomings came billions of dollars in war funding, creating an environment ripe for misconduct and malfeasance.

The teams in Michigan and Kuwait will go through paper records and also use data-mining tools to electronically search data stored on computers.

"Do we have contractors with different names but the same address?" Parsons said. "That would cause some suspicion."

Tips from individuals familiar with the contracts are another tool for finding flawed awards, he said.

The contract review process isn't foolproof, however.

If a contracting officer and a vendor are determined to break the rules for personal gain, it can be difficult to pinpoint corruption, according to Parsons, who also is serving as senior adviser to a contracting task force recently established by Army Secretary Pete Geren.

"You can have a contract file that is pristine — all the documentation is there," Parsons said. "Just going through the contract files doesn't necessarily give you 100 percent assurance that something else might not have been going on."

The efforts in Michigan and at Camp Arifjan are parts of a broader inquiry being conducted by the task force, which was formed by Geren following a spike in the number of criminal cases related to the acquisition of gear and supplies for U.S. troops.

Many of the cases stemmed from fraudulent or mismanaged contracts issued by the Kuwait office, prompting Geren to call for a detailed probe of the work done there.

The Army Criminal Investigation Command has 83 ongoing criminal investigations related to contract fraud in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, according to spokesman Chris Grey.

Grey said 23 individuals have been charged with contract fraud and more than $15 million in bribes has changed hands.

One of the largest cases involves Army Maj. John Cockerham, who is accused of bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction. Prosecutors allege Cockerham, along with his wife and sister, took at least $9.6 million in bribes in 2004 and 2005 while Cockerham was a contract officer stationed in Kuwait

From the 6,000 Kuwait contracts flowed 18,000 transactions - numerous orders could be placed on a single contract - for items such as bottled water, laundry services, barracks, food, transportation, and warehouse services.

In 2005, Lt. Gens. Steven Whitcomb and John Vines, then both top Army commanders in Iraq, became so concerned over allegations of corrupt contracting that the Criminal Investigation Command established field offices in Iraq and Kuwait.

Deceiving the checks and balances in the federal procurement system takes careful planning, Frank Anderson, president of the Defense Acquisition University at Fort Belvoir, said in a separate interview.

"You had some smart bad apples," said Anderson, who leads the organization that trains the military's acquisition officials. "It had to be someone who understood the business well enough to figure out how to get around the system."

Rumsfeld hit with torture lawsuit while visiting Paris

by Jason Rhyne - Oct 26,2007

Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's jaunt to France was interrupted today by an unscheduled itinerary item -- he was slapped with a criminal complaint charging him with torture.

Rumsfeld, in Paris for a discussion sponsored by the magazine Foreign Policy, was tracked down by representatives of a coalition of international human rights groups, who informed the architect of the US invasion of Iraq that they had submitted a torture suit against him in French court.

The filed documents allege that during his tenure, the former defense secretary "ordered and authorized" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The head of one of the groups responsible for bringing the charges, the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, told RAW STORY today by phone that the suit was a long time coming.

"We've been working on cornering Rumsfeld and getting him indicted somewhere going on three years now," said the Center's president, Michael Ratner. "Four days ago, we got confidential information he was going to be in France."

Joined by activists, attorneys for the human rights groups caught up with Rumsfeld on his way to a breakfast meeting. "He was walking down the street with just one person," said Ratner.

"Around 20 campaigners gave Rumsfeld a rowdy welcome...yelling 'murderer,' waving a banner and trying to push into the building," reports AFP.

Ratner, who wasn't personally at the scene, says his sources told him that the former defense secretary made some pre-scheduled remarks at the meeting before ducking through a door leading to the US Embassy.

According to Ratner, France has a legal responsibility under international law to prosecute Rumsfeld for torture abuses.

"If a torturer comes into your territory," he said, "there's an obligation to either prosecute the person or return him to a place where he will be prosecuted."

The rights groups notably cite three memorandums signed by the defense secretary between October 2002 and April 2003 "legimitizing the use of torture" including the "hooding" of detainees, sleep deprivation and the use of dogs.

Although his group has been a part of previous attempts to bring charges against Rumsfeld, including two former tries in Germany, Ratner believes French court has the highest chance of success.

"There are Guantananamo detainees who were tortured that are living in France," he said. "It gives French courts another reason to prosecute."

Ratner says Europe is "getting very hot for Rumsfeld," and suggests a French court could at least issue its version of a subpoena.

"We hope that this case will move forward," he said, "especially as the US says it can continue to torture people."

Other groups involved in the complaint include the International Federation of Human Rights, the French League for Human Rights and Germany's European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

More details about the lawsuit are available at the website of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Bush White House begins to disintegrate

by Alcuin and Flutterby Oct 25,2007

The Bush White House is in turmoil. Barbara Bush, the President's mother has accused George Bush Jnr, the President, of destroying the Bush family name. The President himself is drunk much of the time, and important meetings have had to be cancelled or postponed on "medical grounds" because of this. Laura Bush, the President's wife, has had divorce papers prepared and has said that she will only continue to present publicly as George's wife until he leaves office. She has demanded a ten million dollar honorarium for providing this photo shoot service. Laura Bush did not accompany George to the APEC meeting in Sydney in September 2007.

George Bush Jnr and George Bush Snr are at loggerheads on nearly every substantive issue. One by one the Bush family bank and brokerage accounts are being closed down or blocked, and soon George Bush Jnr will find it difficult to pay his staff down home at Crawford, Texas, where he owns the Prairie Chapel Ranch.

The President is beginning to be openly ridiculed. On Thursday 18th Oct 2007, at a televised press conference at the White House, George Bush was attacked by reporters on camera. The reporter for the once-supportive Washington Times said that Bush was now viewed as trivial. The President stammered, glared and then responded that he was not. During this press conference he was angry and spiteful towards the press and threw out hints that if the Russians and Iranians didn’t knuckle under, World War III was certainly coming. It was a PR fiasco created by a President who was visibly out of control.

On the previous day, Wednesday 17th October 2007, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty speculated about how George W. Bush's unilateral grab for presidential power might be reversed. "The president of the United States didn't have the power to spy on Americans ... operate secret prisons ... suspend due process ... torture ... hide the conduct of the government from the public," Cafferty stated. "It's not like anybody gave President Bush any of these powers -- he took them, as a brain-dead Congress just stood there and watched." (Details here)

On Thursday 18th October 2007, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez condemned the US President's war rhetoric on Iran, saying that George Bush belongs in a psychiatric hospital. "The US President made an atomic bomb threat," Chavez said. "In other words, he's threatening a third world war but now with atomic weapons. It's like he should be taken to the psychiatric hospital. I think he's on the edge of the psychiatric hospital." (Details here)

On Friday 26th October 2007, speaking in Lisbon (Portugal), the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, referred to the recently announced Bush sanctions against Iran: "Why worsen the situation by threatening sanctions and bring it to a dead end? It's not the best way to resolve the situation by running around like a madman with a razor blade in his hand." Putin went on to compare Bush's plans for a missile shield in Europe to the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s. (Details here and here)

George Bush Jnr, the 43rd President of the United States of America, is a sick, exhausted and broken man. He wants out before the end of his presidential term, and he is looking for an exit strategy which can be presented as an honorable retirement. So are many of his senior White House conspirators. Karl Rove led the way. The sheep are looking to follow.

The Vice President, Dick Cheney, is popping pills like Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight. He is as close to dead, physically, as a zombie can be. He is being propped-up by medics like a Soviet-era dictator. Dick Cheney has had at least four heart attacks since 1978. He has contractile dysfunction of the left ventricle. He underwent four-vessel coronary artery bypass grafting in 1988, a coronary artery stenting in November 2000, and urgent coronary balloon angioplasty in March 2001. In 2001, a Holter monitor disclosed episodes of asymptomatic ectopy. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator has been implanted in his chest. In September 2005, Dick Cheney underwent an endovascular procedure to repair popliteal artery aneurysms. His atherosclerotic disease is progressing despite aggressive treatment. He experiences cardiac-related breathing difficulties. More about Dick Cheney's health can be found here. One of Dick Cheney's silent clone lookalikes appears occasionally for the cameras to maintain an illusion of normality. Look carefully and notice the plastic smile. George Bush Jnr has a nodding mind-controlled clone lookalike, too. It attends some conferences on his behalf.

Behind the scenes, elements of civil war are becoming evident within the White House. On the eve of the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings at the end of October 2007, Dick Cheney attempted to steal $45 billion from George Bush Jnr. A long-serving banker of Pakistani origin based at the New York office of Credit Suisse diverted $45 billion for a secret personal account held by Halliburton in Dubai for Vice President Richard B Cheney. The $45 billion represented stolen money held in trust for the President of the United States, George Bush Jnr.

This illegal transaction was frustrated by a covert fail-safe mechanism. The Credit Suisse banker was arrested and shortly afterwards, under interrogation, suffered a mysterious heart attack. At about 2.30pm Eastern Daylight Time on Friday 19th October 2007, Credit Suisse domestic banking in the USA collapsed and was taken over by Union Bank of Switzerland. This story has yet to be covered by the mainline media in the USA. More details here, here and here.

On the 25th October 2007, Patrick Bellringer reported that on several occasions recently The Higher Evolution have stopped the Bush-Cheney White House from nuking major USA cities, nuking the major oil depot in Texas City, and creating artificial earthquakes in California. Should such a 911-style homegrown terrorist attack be accomplished again, the USA government would blame the attack on Iranian terrorists, and the long-planned Iran war would be launched. More details here.

The World Court has lodged ten charges of Treason against George Bush Jnr, the 43rd President of the United States of America. These will shortly be served on him by the Adjutant General for the USA accompanied by the Provost Marshall for the USA (Brigadier General Rodney Johnson). More details can be found in a Casper Update of the 21st September 2007 here. It is said that the President is using Patriot Act emergency powers to prevent news of these Treason charges reaching the mainstream media in the USA.

With the NESARA announcements imminent, and Karl Rove gone, the Bush White House is in terminal panic.

Majadele: Israel is ready to return Golan for peace

Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadele. (Dan Keinan)

by Haaretz Service - Oct 27, 2007

Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadele said Friday that Israel is ready to pay the price of peace with Syria, which he described as a withdrawal from Golan Heights in exchange for peace with the entire Arab world.

Majadele made the comments to the Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Rai in an interview published Friday.

The minister said that, despite recent tensions, "Syria still sees peace as a strategic goal, and is closer with Israel than with Iran. President Assad knows quite well that the solution is not far away."

Majadele also made remarks about the expected Middle East peace conference in Annapolis next week, saying that the success of the summit is a mutual interest for all sides.

"Israel will not be able to normalize relations with Arab nations without paying the price of anything related to the Palestinian issue," he said.

He reiterated that he doesn't rule out the possibility that "the fate of the settlements in the West Bank will be the fate of the settlements from the Gaza Strip."

Coalition Chairman MK Eli Aflalo said in response that the Golan Heights is an inseparable part of Israel, and that the communities in the Golan Heights will remain in place.

He said that Majadele's remarks do not reflect the government or its leaders' policy.

National Religious Party Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev said his party would file a no-confidence vote, saying it cannot turn a blind eye while the government expresses such views. He emphasized that Majadele's comments are far from being part of the Israeli consensus.

The Gap in Mukasey's Testimony

When is the president authorized to break the law?

by Jacob Sullum - October 24, 2007

During his recent confirmation hearings, Michael Mukasey, the former federal judge nominated to be the next attorney general, conceded that "the president doesn't stand above the law." Yet Mukasey, who is expected to be easily confirmed, also suggested that the president is entitled to ignore certain laws.

Since the law "starts with the Constitution," he said, the president need not obey a statute that interferes with his inherent constitutional authority "to defend the country." Now that the War on Terror has replaced the Cold War as a reliable rationale for extending executive power, the breadth of this authority to defend the country will be a central issue in national politics long after Mukasey completes his service as attorney general.

Is protecting national security "a loophole big enough to drive a truck through," as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) worried? Or is it, as Mukasey said it should be, a power the president will strive to exercise with the consent of Congress, acting without congressional support only in emergencies?

The Bush administration's track record on the surveillance, detention, and interrogation of suspected terrorists suggests Leahy's fears are justified. Even when there was plenty of time to seek congressional approval and every reason to think it would be forthcoming, this administration has chosen arrogant unilateralism over the cooperation Mukasey recommends so "we don't have to get into butting heads over who can and who can't."

Although the president is commander in chief of the armed forces, Congress has several explicitly enumerated powers related to national defense. In addition to the power of the purse, these include the power "to declare war," to "make rules concerning captures on land and water," "to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces," and to suspend the habeas corpus privilege "in cases of rebellion or invasion."

If Congress passed a law that, say, purported to put the speaker of the House in charge of the armed forces, it would be clearly unconstitutional. Regulating the treatment of detainees, by contrast, is squarely within congressional authority.

In a sense, then, it's not surprising that Mukasey conceded the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act, which established guidelines for detainee trials, and the Detainee Treatment Act, which bans "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment." Still, it's reassuring, since Mukasey was nominated by a president who initially tried to go his own way in these areas and who issued a signing statement that indicated he reserved the right to ignore the latter law when it was inconvenient.

That was how Bush treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Until Congress amended it last August, FISA required the government to obtain a warrant to monitor communications involving people in the United States. Yet for years Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct such surveillance without court approval.

When asked about this program, Mukasey referred repeatedly to the "gap between where FISA left off and where the Constitution permitted the president to act." He cited Carter administration Attorney General Griffin Bell's statement that FISA "does not take away the power of the president under the Constitution."

Did Mukasey mean that the Constitution authorized the president to ignore FISA's warrant requirements, as his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, argued? No matter how many times he was asked, Mukasey wouldn't say, instead retreating to the lame argument that Congress, without realizing it, amended FISA by authorizing the use of military force against the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks.

Even as the administration continues to insist that the NSA's warrantless surveillance was legal, it is pressing Congress to give the telecommunications companies that cooperated with the program retroactive legal immunity. Immunity for what? For assisting the government with its perfectly lawful surveillance?

Clearly, Bush wants to give these companies a free pass for breaking the law in the name of national security. They shouldn't get one, and neither should he.

Yet More Condi Rice Diplomacy

by Gordon Prather - Oct 27, 2007

In announcing her latest "steps" in the Bush-Cheney campaign to effect regime change in Iran, Condi Rice claimed they were necessary because Iran had again rejected the offer originally made "on our behalf" back in May, 2006, by Javier Solana – the European Union Minister of Foreign Affairs – "to support a civil nuclear program in Iran under international supervision if it agreed to give up pursuit of the fuel cycle."

Some offer! It is undeniably true that Iran – as a member of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – has an "inalienable right" to pursue the nuclear fuel cycle.

So, when Iran rejected Rice's ultimatum to give up its "inalienable rights," her stooge Bonkers Bolton managed to ram through UN Security Council Resolution 1696, which began – if you can believe it – by

"Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination." Nevertheless, UNSCR 1696 went on to "demand" that Iran "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development" by August 31, 2006.

Or else!

Iran's reaction?

Here are excerpts from the rebuttal of Iran's UN representative – Javad Zarif – in the aftermath of the Council's passage of Resolution 1696:

"This is not the first time that Iran's endeavors to stand on its own feet and make technological advances have faced the stiff resistance and concerted pressure of some powers permanently represented in the Security Council."

In particular, as a result of intense pressure by President Clinton, Russia cancelled its contract to provide Iran a turn-key gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant and China cancelled its contract to provide Iran a turn-key uranium-conversion plant.

"Iran's peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility.

"Far from reflecting – as advertised – the concerns of the international community, the approach of the sponsors flouts the stated position of the overwhelming majority of the international community, clearly reflected in the most recent statements by Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement and of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference), and partly reflected in the June, 2006, IAEA Board Chairman's Conclusion.

"The Non-Aligned Movement, comprising an overwhelming majority of this [UN] Organization, in the recent statement of its Ministers in Putrajaya ‘stressed that there should be no undue pressure or interference in the Agency's activities, especially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the Agency', and ‘nothing should be interpreted in a way as inhibiting or restricting this right of States to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes' and ‘reaffirmed that States' choices and decisions in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and its fuel cycle policies must be respected."

Well, that was last year. The Russians and Chinese have since refused to go any further down Condi's "diplomatic" path to effecting regime change in Iran.

Worse, it appears that Condi's previous diplomatic triumph has come unglued.

Two years ago, Condi whizzed down to New Delhi to prevent India from finalizing technical and commercial contracts for a $4.5 billion natural gas pipeline – the so-called "Peace Pipeline" – that would transit Pakistan but provide Iranian natural gas mostly to India.

Well that would never do. So, Condi proposed, as a mutually exclusive alternative, a U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

But, there were substantial obstacles that had to be overcome for the agreement to be approved.

When India tested a "nuclear explosive device" in 1974, our Congress passed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, requiring any future recipient of US nuclear exports to submit to "full scope" IAEA Safeguards. Nuclear exports to any recipient state which subsequently detonated a "nuclear explosive device" were to be terminated.

Furthermore, the US took the lead in establishing the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 40-plus member voluntary organization which includes the U.S., UK, Russia, China and France.

Currently, if any new NSG transfers are required by NSG Guidelines to be made subject to IAEA Safeguards, NSG guidelines now require all existing nuclear equipment at all facilities in the country be made subject.

That would mean that India would have to subject its nuclear weapons and related facilities to IAEA safeguards.

So the first step had been to get our Congress to approve the US-India deal – in principle -- which would involve changes in both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act and the Atomic Energy Act.

Congress made actually making those legislative changes contingent upon India negotiating IAEA safeguards agreement on all "civilian" nuclear programs and then getting the NSG to exempt India from the requirement of making all nuclear programs subject to IAEA safeguards.
So the process is for India to [1] declare its "civilian" materials, facilities, and activities, [2] negotiate IAEA safeguards agreements for them, [3] get an NSG exemption for its nuclear weapons material, facilities and activities, and then [4] get approval by the Indian Congress of the deal.

Then and only then would our Congress make the necessary changes in U.S. law.

Last week Indian Prime Minister Singh reportedly told President Bush that it didn't look like the present coalition government would approve the US-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, largely because of its "strategic" implications.

Meanwhile, it appears technical and commercial contracts for the Iran-Pakistan-India "peace-pipeline" are being "finalized."

So, Condi has "diplomatically" corrupted the IAEA Board of Governors, emasculated the Nuclear Suppliers Group and defenestrated the NPT, and to what end?

Well, nevermind, Condi. Just plunge ahead. Because,

"the Iranian Government continues to spurn our offer of open negotiations, instead threatening peace and security by pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon, building dangerous ballistic missiles, supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations – threatening to wipe Israel off the map."

So "determine" that the Iranian Republican Guards have engaged in certain activities, and that certain Iranian banks had been involved in transactions, that materially contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Then have Secretary of the Treasury Paulson "block" the US assets of the lot of them.


Apparently so President Bush can – pursuant to Presidential Directive 12938, as amended – threaten to seize all the U.S. assets of any foreign company that provides (or attempts to provide) those nuke proliferators financial, material, technological support.

Reporter-at-Large: One Man's Terrorist is Another's Diplomat

by Barbara Slavin - Oct 26, 2007

The Bush administration’s decision Thursday to put new sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its elite Quds force is a calculated gamble intended to convince Iran’s leadership to behave better in Iraq and suspend uranium enrichment.

But the step could backfire by arousing a nationalist backlash in Iran and convincing the leadership there that the U.S. government is not interested in negotiations—only in squeezing the Iranian economy until its people rise up and overthrow the regime.

Unfortunately, the chances of regime change remain minimal while oil approaches $100 a barrel. Meanwhile, U.S. actions could eliminate whatever slim chance there is of a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear program and its rising power in the Middle East.

With whom exactly is the United States supposed to negotiate such a solution? The Iranian ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, is a Quds force commander, according to Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military man in Iraq. Does that mean that U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker,­ who has met twice with Kazemi-Qomi, cannot speak to him again? Or just that Crocker can’t lend him money?

One man's terrorist is another's diplomat.

Petraeus seemed surprised that Iran would send a military man to Baghdad as its ambassador. Given Iran’s security concerns about its neighbor and the perilous state that Iraq is in, it would be surprising if Iran sent someone who was not a member or veteran of the Guards or its Quds branch.

Far from being the rogue operation the Bush administration portrays it to be, the Quds or Jerusalem force is an elite unit, from the Iranian government perspective, that has been a key element in Iran's security and defense policy for more than a quarter century. Kazemi-Qomi is among scores of members and veterans of the Quds force and the Guards who hold senior positions in the Iranian government. Hopes of stabilizing Iraq, Lebanon and to some extent, the Palestinian territories and Afghanistan, could rely on the U.S. ability to deal with these people and to acknowledge their growing role, for better or worse, in the Middle East.

U.S. military and intelligence have a long and mostly bitter history of tangling with the Quds force and Guards and the Arab militant organizations they have spawned. Hezbollah was such a creation, formed by the Guards after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In 1983, Hezbollah staged suicide attacks against U.S. and European forces who had intervened in support of a pro-Israel Lebanese government. Attacks on the U.S. Embassy, the Marine barracks and a French military compound killed 361 people, including 258 Americans.

The Quds Force is said to have helped train a Saudi Shiite group, Saudi Hezbollah, which blew up a U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 Americans and wounding hundreds, after the Clinton administration slapped a comprehensive economic embargo on Iran.

In Iraq, the Quds force has forged links with a variety of Shiite militant groups, beginning long before the U.S. invasion. One such organization, the Badr Brigades—like Hezbollah, an Iranian creation in the 1980s—formed from Iraqi Shiites fleeing Saddam Hussein. Since Saddam's overthrow, Iran has spread its bets by offering arms and training to the Mahdi Army and other Shiite factions. The United States alleges that Iran is the source of powerful explosives that have killed dozens of American troops.

However, the Quds force and the United States have not always worked at cross purposes. The Bush administration is also close to the Supreme Islamic Council in Iraq, the political party affiliated with the Badr Brigades. Iran backed the Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban Afghan group, long before the Bush administration threw its support behind the militia after 9/11. Senior Quds force officers were present as advisers when the alliance captured Kabul in November 2001.

Mohsen Rezaie, who commanded the Guards from 1981 to 1997 and who helped found the Quds force as the Guards' external arm, described the Iranian role in Afghanistan to me in 2005—an account that was confirmed by the CIA. Rezaie has been trying to broker negotiations between the United States and Iran at least since 2003, when he proposed the creation of a new security organization in the Middle East.

Rezaie was among four candidates with Guards backgrounds who ran for president of Iran in 2005. The others were the victor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud Qalibaf, currently the mayor of Tehran, and Ali Larijani, until this week, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator. Does Thursday’s designation that Guards Corps is an “entity of proliferation concern” mean that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could not meet with Larijani if Iran were to accept U.S. preconditions for talks?

The military component of Iran's government has historically been strong and has gotten bigger since Ahmadinejad's election. Quds and Guards veterans head about half the ministries in his cabinet and hold a third of the seats in parliament. They run Islamic foundations that control a significant portion of Iran’s wealth and chair corporations in charge of major construction projects. Many perform diplomatic roles. In 2006, a deputy national security adviser and former Quds force commander, Mohammad Javad Jaffari, sought backchannel talks with the Bush administration. Not only was he rebuffed but in January, the U.S. military tried to arrest him when he visited the Kurdish city of Irbil. Jaffari escaped but five others—consular officials according to the Kurds and Iran; arms providers according to Washington—were apprehended and remain in U.S. custody without formal charge.

Jaffari—Iran’s premier expert on Iraq—turned up at a meeting Rice attended in Egypt last May about how Iraq’s neighbors might help stabilize the country. He will presumably attend a meeting scheduled early next month in Istanbul about the same subject. Does the Bush Administration want the Turks to arrest him instead?

Targeting the Quds force and the Guards has become popular within the Bush administration and among some prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, who supported the recent non-binding Senate resolution declaring the Guards a terrorist group. Assuming that the United States cannot overthrow the Iranian government, however, some U.S. administration will eventually have to deal with the regime as a whole. Only a settlement supported by the entire leadership of Iran can ease the U.S. predicament in Iraq and help stabilize a troubled Middle East.

Welcome to 'Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week'

The ugly face of Race and Religious Hatred in all it's twisted glory. Two terms come to mind: Jew Klux Klan and Zio-Nazi

by Khody Akhavi & Ali Gharib - Oct 27, 2007

Right-wing pundit David Horowitz was in rare form during a tightly controlled "public speech" at the George Washington University on Thursday night, decrying the US academic Left as a hateful "lynch mob" who act as apologists for the impending threat of the "Islamo-fascist" jihad.

As bodyguards and police loomed on stage and in the aisles, Horowitz launched into an unscripted two-hour tirade that meandered between selective (and dubious) readings of Middle East history and pointed attacks against those who criticized his efforts.

It was the latest permutation of Horowitz's long march as the harbinger of revolutionary knowledge in the face of public opprobrium. And as usual, he offered up a sensational and bizarre spectacle that appeared better suited for the US tabloid talk show circuit than a forum of legitimate public debate.

During his speech, sponsored by the conservative student group Young America Foundation, Horowitz condemned the "oppression of women in Islam," and what he perceived as the endemic "genocidal Jew hatred" throughout the Middle East. He took aim at the "juvenile delinquents" – GW university students – who had satirized his efforts, said that Palestinians, through their actions, showed that they did not want a state of their own. Horowitz also alleged that the Muslim Students Association, which has chapters at universities across the nation, is a creation of the "Islamo-fascist jihad."

He called Lebanese Hezbollah a "Nazi party," and warned that Turkey was teetering on the edge of becoming an Islamo-fascist state. And he described Iran as the archetype of this phenomenon.

"There is an intellectual terror in this country, which you have all seen. The president [George W. Bush] is intimidated from using the term Islamo-fascism because it is supposed to be racist," he told an audience of students, a majority of whom applauded his words.

"Why the term fascism? The analytical reason is simple," he said. "Probably Islamo-Nazism is a more appropriate term."

Horowitz's conservative Freedom Center (DHFC) designated last week as the first annual "Islamo-fascism Awareness Week" – a time to refute "the two big lies of the political Left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that global warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat."

The program consisted of more than 30 events at 26 universities across the nation. Conservative pundits, politicians, and academic and think-tank experts, including former Senator Rick Santorum, conservative icon Ann Coulter, and historian Daniel Pipes, delivered speeches and spoke on panels.

Pipes is among a small group of neoconservatives who advise Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Middle East affairs.

College students were urged to stage sit-ins outside women's studies departments, and to distribute pamphlets, including titles such as "Jimmy Carter's War Against the Jews." Films screened included "Islam: What the West Needs to Know." According to its description, the film "reveals the violent, expansionary ideology of the so called 'religion of peace' that seeks the destruction or subjugation of other faiths, cultures, and systems of government."

But Horowitz's speech Thursday did not reflect a coherent policy towards the perceived threat. Instead, it overflowed with insults, sweeping generalizations and hyperbole that were aimed at smearing his political enemies – mostly liberals, whom he described as "leftists" – giving him ammunition for his fundraising drives.

Horowitz focused much of his speech on the personal attacks he had received, repeatedly alluding to violent threats, and describing the fiasco as a "national hate campaign" against him, as if a "target had been placed on" his back.

The day earlier, he said, he was shouted down and was unable to finish a planned speech at Emory University in Georgia. Horowitz's website,, called the students "brownshirts," an allusion to a Nazi paramilitary group in fascist Germany.

Horowitz sent a solicitation email to DHFC supporters in anticipation of the week asking for additional contributions "toward the expenses of providing security" for speakers. Donors of 50 dollars or more receive two booklets – "What Americans Need to Know About Jihad," by Robert Spencer, and "The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam," by Robert Spencer and Phyllis Chesler.

On Thursday, he appeared on stage with a large bodyguard constantly scanning the crowd. Journalists were barred from asking any questions.

One protester who had snuck a banner into the theater was removed quickly by security as soon as he stood up and unfurled it. Several heated discussions occurred in the lobby and outside the building shortly after the event ended.

The publicity provided by the extreme rhetoric and protest incidents gets the attention of a cabal of wealthy and powerful conservatives who in turn fund Horowitz's activities through foundations.

The Freedom Center has received more than 15 million dollars in grants from conservative donors, according to a report from Media Transparency, an organization that monitors contributions to conservative media. Major contributors include the John M. Olin Foundation, a New York based think-tank that closed its doors in 2005, and which funded major right-wing think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institute.

Prominent conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife has poured 4.2 million dollars into Horowitz's activities, through the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Carthage Foundation, and the Allegheny Foundation.

Horowitz also received 6.1 million dollars from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, considered the country's largest and most influential right-wing foundation.

By the end of the week, "Islamo-fascism Awareness" had descended into a publicity circus.

According to independent journalist Max Blumenthal, who was in attendance at the IFAW Horowitz talk on Friday at Columbia University, Horowitz was surrounded by a group of bodyguards that almost outnumbered the amount of people there to protest his speech. Columbia security subsequently removed the protesters from the campus.

Horowitz went on a bizarre rant – claiming that there "will never be social justice" – and launched into a tirade about the threats from the guests on the Jerry Springer Show, a US television tabloid talk show. He also compared his own father, a communist Queens schoolteacher, to Mohammad Atta, the operational leader of the 9/11 attacks.

"It was like listening to the ravings of a lunatic on a subway car," said Blumenthal. "The only difference was that on the subway the police are there to remove the lunatic and here they were there to protect the lunatic."