Saturday, June 21, 2008

US envoy slams Israel over 'illegal importation of pistachios from Iran'

"The US and Israel are at odds about Iran’s “weapon”: Ten days ago, US Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones wrote a severe letter to Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, with copies sent to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and two of his ministers. In the letter, Jones accuses Israel of secretly trading with Iran and transferring foreign currency to the country, in direct violation of an Israeli law prohibiting trade with enemy states."

UNICEF Rejects Support From Israeli Billionaire Known for Constructing Settlements on Palestinian Lands

"UNICEF’s rejection of Leviev’s support followed meetings with Adalah-NY, letters from organizations and Palestinian communities advocating a boycott of Leviev’s companies, and a visit by UNICEF officials to Jayyous, one of the Palestinian communities where a Leviev company is building Israeli settlements. Leviev’s diamond-mining companies in Angola have also been accused of serious human rights abuses."

Travelers Shift to Rail as Cost of Fuel Rises

"Amtrak set records in May, both for the number of passengers it carried and for ticket revenues — all the more remarkable because May is not usually a strong travel month."

Limelight to Shine on Saudis at Energy Forum as Oil Prices Continue to Soar

"Saudi officials acknowledge that fast growth in China and India has stimulated demand and contributed to the oil price spike. But they say the chief causes of the price increase are speculation in oil futures markets and a shortage of capacity to refine oil into gasoline in rich countries. For that reason, there is widespread anger that oil producers here are being blamed for high prices."

Rise in Renters Erasing Gains for Ownership

"Driven largely by the surge in foreclosures and an unsettled housing market, Americans are renting apartments and houses at the highest level since President Bush started a campaign to expand homeownership in 2002."

America’s Irrational Defense of Israel

“My number one priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel.”- Former House Speaker Richard Armey

As an American citizen, I’d like to think the number one “non-negotiable” of anyone who would be president is the security and the interests of the American people. Instead of reading from the same AIPAC-vetted script, McCain and Obama would better serve their country by reading from the same Constitution — the version enshrined in Washington D.C. not in Jerusalem.

Court throws out gov't appeals in AIPAC spying case

"A U.S. appeals court ruled in favor of two former AIPAC staffers who sought to narrow the government's appeal of rulings in a classified information case."

Palestine in the American Imagination

Senator John McCain is greeted by an Ultr-Orthodox Jewish man as he arrives at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, March 19, 2008. (Photo: AP)

"As Palestinians hurriedly buried their loved ones in the Gaza Strip following a deadly Israeli onslaught, which further contributed to Gaza’s worst humanitarian crisis since 1967 [1], US and Israeli celebrities rallied at a Los Angeles benefit concert for the Israeli town of Sderot, located near the border of Gaza. [2] Hollywood movie stars Sylvester Stallone, Jon Voight, Valerie Harper and comedian Larry Miller mingled with Israeli celebrities such as singer Ninet Tayeb and others. Children from the Israeli town of Sderot, which received the lion’s share of homemade Palestinian rockets, were cheerful nonetheless. Song and dance, interrupted occasionally by solemn messages of support delivered via satellite by both Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates, replaced the cries of sirens the images of huddling families in the town’s shelters. It was a bittersweet moment, that of solidarity, a renewal of the vow made too often, that Israel’s plight is that of America, and Israel’s security is an American priority, and, indeed, ‘God loves those who love Israel’."

Democrats Legalize Bush's Crimes

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that a key positive feature of the new wiretap “compromise” is that the bill reaffirms that the President must follow the law, even though the same bill virtually assures that no one will be held accountable for George W. Bush's violation of the earlier spying law."

Obama gets his own nifty Great Seal; all he needs now is votes

"There's a bald eagle. And there's Latin. Translation, according to CNN: "Yes we can." There's also the campaign's trademark O logo in the center of the eagle."

Republican Hagel says he'd consider VP offer from Obama

"Hagel's vocal criticism of the Bush administration since the 2003 invasion of Iraq has touched off speculation that if Obama were to pick a Republican running mate, it might be Hagel. Hagel said in an interview with The Associated Press that after devoting much of his life to his country — in the Senate and the U.S. Army — he would have to consider any offer."

Palestinians expect Israel to violate truce

Hamas men take break, but won't forget 'enemy's treacherous nature'

"The fighters have gone back to their homes, to their studies, and to their families, yet their eyes shall remain open for the moment where the Israelis will decide, as always, to violate the lull," he said. "We have no illusion that once their interests dictate it, the Jews will violate the lull. They are known as people who violate agreements and cannot be trusted."

Know thou enemy...

Terrorists Israeli Settler fires rocket at Palestinians

"The officials said troops in the area heard a loud explosion and initially thought Palestinians were attacking the settlement of Yitzhar, where the seminary is situated. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident, which occurred about two weeks ago, is still being investigated by police and agents of the Shin Bet security agency."

Right - it would just have to be the Palestinians, wouldn't it?

Before Iraq inks deal with U.S., a little history

"Last week, as some lawmakers in Iraq complained about what they saw as heavy-handed efforts of U.S. negotiators to secure a long-term agreement to maintain nearly 60 military bases in that country, President Bush was in Germany assuring the world that the deal would get done."

Iraqi Shiite cleric opposes US 'eternal slavery' pact

Iraqi Muslims pray during Friday noon prayers at a mosque in Kadhimiyah, northern Baghdad. An Iraqi Shiite cleric on Friday denounced as "eternal slavery" a proposed security deal between Baghdad and Washington that outlines the long-term military presence of American forces in the country.(AFP/Ali al-Saadi)

Sounds like at least one Iraqi knows when its 110 degrees outside, the water you feel on your back isn't rain...

"Strange bedfellows" team up to lobby against wiretap bill

"The American Civil Liberties Union is teaming with supporters of former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and scores of liberal bloggers to pressure Congress on the surveillance law; the effort is calling itself Strange Bedfellows."

Other OPEC members may join Saudi oil output hike

"Saudi Arabia has said it will pump 9.7 million barrels per day in July, the fastest rate in decades. No other producer from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has followed suit, and some member countries have reacted coolly to the Saudi plan."

"Ball of fire" if Iran attacked: IAEA chief

"A military strike (against Iran) would in my opinion be worse than anything else... It would transform the Middle East region into a ball of fire," ElBaradei said in an interview with Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television.

It would be pure insanity to even consider attacking Iran. And, that's why the Zionists will probably do it - they are a bunch of blithering idiots playing with, as Ahmedinejad explained, razors blades.

Gulf to earn $1.3 trillion from oil in two years: report

"Oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia's earnings in the two years will be just under 700 billion dollars. The kingdom posted 194 billion dollars in oil revenues in 2007."

Iran presses on with nuclear enrichment

"Iran is pressing on with uranium enrichment "non-stop," its envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency was quoted as saying on Saturday, despite a world powers' offer of economic incentives to coax Tehran into halting such activities."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stocks plunge as oil rebounds

"The Dow Jones industrials were off 213 points, or 1.8%, to 11,872 at 2:25 p.m. ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was off 25 points, or 1.8%, to 1,318, and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 58 points, or 2.4%, to 2404."

McClellan faults Bush for withholding facts

"This White House promised or assured the American people that at some point when this was behind us they would talk publicly about it. And they have refused to," McClellan told the House Judiciary Committee. "And that's why I think more than any other reason we are here today and the suspicion still remains."

So, in other words, the President is a liar...

House passes bill to shield telecommunication companies from lawsuits

"The bill, which was passed on a 293-129 vote, does more than just protect the telecoms. The update to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is an attempt to balance privacy rights with the government's responsibility to protect the country against attack, taking into account changes in telecommunications technologies."

Japan suicides near record high in 2007

"A report issued by the National Police Agency on Thursday showed that 33,093 people killed themselves in Japan in 2007 -- the second-largest number on record after 34,427 in 2003 -- mostly because of debt, family problems, depression and other health issues."

Russia warns against using force on Iran

“I believe that the international community wants to be very sure that whatever unilateral action is being prepared under the pretext of implementing the decisions of the IAEA and the Security Council should be really very factually substantiated. We have been repeatedly asking our American and Israeli colleagues, who insist that Iran is certainly involved in making an atomic bomb, to provide factual information about this matter. So far we have seen none,” he added.

U.S. lawmakers want Mandela off terror list

"Some U.S. lawmakers are trying to pass legislation to remove former South African President Nelson Mandela from a U.S. list of terrorists by his 90th birthday next month, officials said on Thursday."

I'd bet most Americans didn't know this great man was ever on the US Terrorist List. But, their government, in support of the racist South African government, placed President Mandela on the Terrorist List even while he was serving a 27 year prison term on Robbins Island. His crime? Fighting against apartheid - Some terrorist...

Israel's Messianic Jews: Police indifferent to threats against us

"The March 20 bombing was the worst incident so far. In October, a mysterious fire damaged a Jerusalem church used by Messianic Jews, and last month ultra-Orthodox Jews torched a stack of Christian holy books distributed by missionaries."

You'd think that Christian Zionists like Hagee would realize how hated they are, and how hated Christ is in Israel. But, no, their too busy hating Islam and Muslims who actually love and honor Jesus Christ to see the truth.

Israel attempting scuttle $400 million U.S.-Lebanon arms deal

"Israeli authorities have stated that recent events in Lebanon, including Hezbollah's resurgence in the south, have led them to believe that the arms transfer could pose a security threat, namely if future clashes cause government forces to splinter, possibly causing the arms to fall into the hands of the Lebanese Shi'ite militia Hezbollah."

Judging from the 2006 As* whipping Israel took, I can't say I blame them. But, I seriously doubt Hezbollah need US made weapons - they seem to be doing just fine the way things are...

French education panel advises against Sarkozy's Holocaust studies program

"A French Education Ministry committee has recommended against introducing a Holocaust studies program announced four months ago by President Nicolas Sarkozy. "

Israel is Deporting Jerusalem Christians

"Hundreds of Jerusalem Christians are loosing residency rights in their City due to policies of the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The policy that aims to reduce the number of non-Jews in the City takes its toll on families and individuals who hold residency permits at foreign countries. No matter how long they travel abroad, no matter if they were born in Jerusalem before or after Israel occupied East Jerusalem, they are considered visitors in their own city."

Vanunu nails Iran and Democracy

"How can Israel, the only country in the Middle East known to have a nuclear weapons program expects all others not to even have peaceful nuclear energy programs?"

2 former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers charged

"Two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers were hauled into jail Thursday and charged with lying to investors about the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, perhaps signaling the start of a wave of prosecutions arising from the housing meltdown."

Sex offender wins $57 million lottery jackpot

"The winner of last week's $57 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot is a registered sex offender who also pleaded guilty to two breaking and entering charges in the 1980s."

Look on the bright side - now, he can afford to buy it...

Florida may hold key to tainted tomatoes

"For two months The Food and Drug Administration along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health officials, have been investigating the multistate outbreak of salmonella saintpaul, which can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after victims eat tainted food."

Figures - seeing as how Florida held the key to the tainted 2000 US Presidential elections...

Obama personally apologizes to Muslim women; apology accepted

Ms. Abdelfadeel

Ms. Aref

"Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel had been barred from sitting behind Obama on Monday by volunteers concerned that they would appear on camera with him while wearing headscarves.

UPDATE: Aref and Abdelfadeel email over a statement:

At the rally for Senator Obama in Detroit on Monday, June 16, two volunteers denied us seating behind the stage the Senator would soon take. The volunteers informed us that we were not allowed to sit in that area due to the hijab, the headscarf that each of us was wearing.This incident was unfortunate and extremely disappointing. Senator Obama has called us each to personally convey his deepest apologies and acknowledge that this was inexcusable. We both immensely appreciate the Senator's phone call and his commitment to remedy this issue. We commend him for displaying qualities befitting an effective President. We acknowledge that this injustice has been taken seriously and that Senator Obama does not tolerate discrimination against Arabs, Muslims or any community. We are assured that he and his staff are committed to upholding the principles of justice for all peoples and bringing about change we can believe in. The infringement on our rights occurred and has been addressed; now we are ready to move forward. We will continue to support Senator Obama in his campaign and wish him the best as the race continues.

UPDATE: Obama puts out a statement through his Senate office:

I reached out to Ms. Aref and Ms. Abdelfadeel this afternoon. I spoke with Ms. Abdelfadeel, and expressed my deepest apologies for the incident that occurred with volunteers at the event in Detroit. The actions of these volunteers were unacceptable and in no way reflect any policy of my campaign. I take deepest offense to and will continue to fight against discrimination against people of any religious group or background. Our campaign is about bringing people together, and I'm grateful that Ms. Abdelfadeel accepted our apology and I hope Ms. Aref and any who were offended accept my apology as well.

Words are cheap - I'm waiting to see those glowing words reflected in the good Senator's future actions!

Pakistani Student Snubs US Award

"I refuse to accept this award in protest against the recent US strike on the tribal areas, and its support to unconstitutional acts of Pervez Musharraf," Khurram told a red-faced US ambassador.

With a word, Egyptians leave it all to fate

"Egyptians have always been religious, from Pharaonic times to the present. Any guidebook to Egypt alerts tourists to Egyptians' frequent use of inshallah in discussing future events, a signal of their deep faith and belief that all events occur, or don't occur, at God's will. "See you tomorrow," is almost always followed by a smile and, "inshallah.""

Teen girls made pact to get pregnant

"Principal Joseph Sullivan told Time magazine in a story published Wednesday that the girls confessed to making the pact after the school began investigating a rise in pregnancies that has left 17 girls at the school carrying a child. Normally, there are about four pregnancies a year at the school."

With money, Obama to try to widen the battleground

"Barack Obama faced two critical questions: where to play and how to pay. To answer both, the Democrat reversed course to become the first candidate to reject $85 million in public money for the general election."

White House threatens veto of foreclosure rescue

"A broad bipartisan coalition supporting a massive foreclosure rescue beat back GOP efforts to gut it Thursday, defying a White House veto threat and quashing a bid to make it victim to revelations about two senators' VIP mortgages."

Obama bypasses public money — 1st since Watergate

"Barack Obama is abandoning public financing for his presidential campaign, reversing his earlier stance in bold certainty he can raise millions more on his own as the first major-party candidate to bypass the tax-checkoff system that was hurried into place after the Watergate scandal."

EU to lift sanctions on Cuba

"The European Union on Thursday agreed to lift its diplomatic sanctions against Cuba, but imposed tough conditions on the communist island to maintain sanction-free relations, officials said."

Looks like the US is the one becoming increasingly isolated...

Bush v. the Bill of Rights

"This week, the White House and Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill hope to announce a "compromise" on a domestic spying bill. If they do, it will be presented as an indispensable tool for protecting the nation's security that still safeguards our civil liberties. The White House will paint opponents as weak-kneed liberals who do not understand and cannot stand up to the threat of terrorism. The bill is not a compromise. The final details are being worked out, but all indications are that many of its provisions are both unnecessary and a threat to the Bill of Rights."

The big pander to big oil

"There is no doubt that a lot of people have been hurt by the high price of gas. But their suffering will not be relieved by drilling in restricted coastal areas. The Energy Information Administration says that even if both coasts were opened, prices would not begin to drop until 2030. The only real beneficiaries will be the oil companies that are trying to lock up every last acre of public land before their friends in power - Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney - exit the political stage."

FBI estimates $1 billion in losses from mortgage fraud

"The FBI says it has arrested about 300 real estate brokers since March - including dozens over the last two days - in its crackdown on incidents of mortgage fraud that have contributed to America's housing crisis."

Israel's broad American base

"Both peoples, Americans have believed, have a special mission from God. The Jews brought monotheism to the world; Americans are bringing liberty. God led the ancient Hebrews through the Red Sea and over the Jordan into a land flowing with milk and honey; God also, Americans have generally believed, brought our ancestors into the New World to a promised land."

And, let's not forget to mention that "both peoples" through murder and savagery forced millions of innocent indigeous peoples to fled their homes and ancestrial homelands and are now living on reservations and in ghettos known as refugee camps.

Ahmadinejad accuses United States of plotting to kill him during Iraq visit

"Ahmadinejad said the plot was never carried out because of of "intentional" last-minute changes in his schedule during the visit, the Web site said. He said the conspirators learned about the changes too late, when he had departed Iraq."

I don't know if this is true. But, as America becomes increasingly Israel-like, you can't put these sort of things past them.

How Iran would retaliate if it comes to war

"Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei also warned of far-reaching revenge in 2006. "The Americans should know that if they assault Iran, their interests will be harmed anywhere in the world that is possible," he said. "The Iranian nation will respond to any blow with double the intensity.""

I'd listen to the Iranians if I were the Americans. Somehow, I don't get the impression these guys are bluffing. If attacked, the Iranians will do what every other country with means would do - they will retaliate by any and all means at their disposal.

Israel appears to rehearse Iran attack: report

"Citing unidentified American officials, the newspaper said more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters took part in the maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June."

They say the best to break your dog from chasing cars is to let him catch one - go on Israel, attack Iran...

Was the Holocaust Inevitable?

"That Hitler was a rabid anti-Semite is undeniable. Mein Kampf is saturated in anti-Semitism. The Nuremberg Laws confirm it. But for the six years before Britain declared war, there was no Holocaust, and for two years after the war began, there was no Holocaust."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

U.S. helicopter engines stolen en route to Pakistan port

"Four U.S. helicopter engines worth more than $13 million have been stolen while they were being trucked from Afghanistan to a port in Pakistan to be shipped home, the U.S. military said."

Ex-State Dept. official: Hundreds of detainees died in U.S. custody, at least 25 murdered.

"At today’s House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights hearing on torture, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, with up to 27 of these declared homicides."

Are They Really Oil Wars?

"A most widely-cited factor behind the recent U.S. wars of choice is said to be oil. "No Blood for Oil" has been a rallying cry for most of the opponents of the war. While some of these opponents argue that the war is driven by the U.S. desire for cheap oil, others claim that it is prompted by big oil's wish for high oil prices and profits. Interestingly, most antiwar forces use both claims interchangeably without paying attention to the fact that they are diametrically-opposed assertions."

Obama's campaign tightens control of image and access

"At a rally for Senator Barack Obama in Detroit on Monday, two Muslim women said they were prohibited from sitting behind the candidate because they were wearing head scarves and campaign volunteers did not want them to appear with him in news photographs or live television coverage."

No point in apologizing now Barack - you sat the anti-Muslim tone that led to this obvious act of discrimination. And, like I've said a thousand time, you can't put the sh*t back inside the horse...

Small towns suffer big losses as rivers rise

"As floodwaters take aim at the tiny towns lining the Mississippi River, the heartland ethic of neighbors helping neighbors is proving to be a potent force against the rising water."

The Editorial Sins of Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright

"Two of the most important prophets confronting the oppression of black persons in America are Minister Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. They are black-chosen not white-approved leader. Thus their unique prophetic authority is revealed in the intense negative reactions to them by mainstream media, which are the guardians of America’s white-controlled hierarchy of access to political and economic power. The fact that the dominant press have singled them out for vilification is evidence of their validation as prophets speaking truth to power—rather than conventional religious leaders finessing compromise with the hierarchical status quo."

The Semantics of Bush's Torture Policy

"The Bush administration built a legal framework – relying on semantics and secrecy – to subject detainees at Guantanamo Bay to brutal interrogation techniques and then to hide the reality from human rights observers, according to internal government documents."

Raid signals more trouble for Baltimore mayor

"Sheila Dixon has reduced violent crime and gracefully handled a variety of crises since taking over as mayor in January 2007, but a two-year state investigation of her financial dealings as City Council president threatens to overshadow her successes."

A timeline to Bush government torture

Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Baumgartner Jr., testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee about detainee treatment on June 17, 2008, in Washington.

"For years now, the Bush White House has claimed that the United States does not conduct torture. Prisoner abuse at places like Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, it has asserted, was an aberration -- the work of a few "bad apples" on the night shift. When the CIA used "enhanced" interrogation techniques such as waterboarding (simulated drowning), the abuse, according to Bush officials, did not add up to torture."

ElBaradei: If you attack Iran, I quit

"IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says he will step down if major powers launch a military strike against Iran over its nuclear program."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What Really Happened Needs Your Help

"What Really Happened doesn’t make a regular habit of campaigning for donations but things became tight lately.They don’t have huge corporate sponsors like the TV networks and some of the “gatekeeper” websites. They have neither applied for nor been given any grants by think tanks with agendas. They are totally dependent on small advertisers and your support to keep working and like everyone else in these dark times, They are getting a bit tight. They need your help. Thanks."

General Accuses WH of War Crimes

"In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." And, as Seymour M. Hersh reported in the New Yorker, he was rewarded for his honesty by being forced into retirement."

Mississippi overflows levees, crops threatened

"The swollen Mississippi River ran over the top of at least 11 more levees on Wednesday as floodwaters swallowed up more U.S. farmland, adding to billion-dollar losses and feeding global food inflation fears."

Dow tumbles on bank worries, oil spike

"Stocks are ending sharply lower amid renewed concerns about the financial sector and a rebound in oil prices."

Muslims barred from picture at Obama event

For Obama, the old-fashioned image-making contrasts with his promise to transcend identity politics, and to embrace all elements of America. Photo: AP

"Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate."

Yarmulke - YES! Hijab - NO!

Tiger to have season-ending knee surgery

"Tiger Woods is done for the year, but not without one last major that he said might have been his best ever."

Killing fields

by Eric Walberg - June 18, 2008

The Taliban’s Tet has begun. Interpret Laura Bushs’s clarion call “to stand by Afghanistan” as you will, says Eric Walberg

Two landmarks in Afghanistan last week -- British troop deaths surpassed 100, and monthly official coalition deaths now outnumber official coalition deaths in Iraq. Pentagon officials said that in May, 16 coalition troops were killed in Iraq, 14 of them American, while 18 coalition troops were killed in Afghanistan, 13 of them American.

Two more events made the news last week, noteworthy only in their predictability. Afghan President Hamid Karzai attended a donors conference in Paris, where he sought $50 billion. The US and friends offered $17 billion, though more than half of the pledge total came from a previous US commitment of $10.2 billion, i.e., Karzai’s net is $6.8 billion, which given past practice, he shouldn’t hold his breath waiting for. US First Lady Laura Bush showed slides from her trip to Kabul to visit Karzai and support Afghan women. Leaders echoed her call “to stand by Afghanistan”. Sarkozy, as usual, confused everyone by saying, “We cannot give in to torturers.” Laura announced that Washington will spend $80 million to support the American University in Kabul and the National Literacy Centre, to capture the hearts and minds of the people.

A note of realism was heard when officials complained that Karzai seemed to be unable to crack down on corruption and drug trafficking, even in Kabul, where he is virtually imprisoned in his heavily barricaded presidential palace. Karzai assured them that his government would take strides to root out corruption. Perhaps he could start by replacing his brother Wali Karzai, the president of Kandahar’s provincial council, who along with Hamid is widely believed to be involved in the very drug trafficking he so passionately denounced to his donors. Afghan officials recreated an air of surrealism by complaining that donors have been too skittish about letting Afghanistan take control of its own destiny and controlling how the money is spent. Yes, give tens of billions to corrupt cronies of Karzai. That would be sure to turn things around.

The other meeting, even more tedious and fruitless, lacking Laura’s slides, was a two-day session of NATO defence ministers following a now-familiar script in the debate over Afghanistan: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates unsuccessfully harangued unwilling allies to pledge more troops for the slaughter. Britain volunteered 230, with Des Browne, the British defense secretary, hailing the Afghan campaign as “the noble cause of the 21st century”.

The big complaint these days is the dastardly Pakistanis, providing “safe haven” for the even more dastardly Taliban. The answer from NATO came this week with a deadly air strike on a Pakistani Frontier Corps border checkpoint, which, according to Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, killed 11 Pakistani soldiers — Pakistan Muslim League MP Amir Muqam said as many as 70. This act of “self defence” is yet another in NATO’s long history of “friendly fire” deaths, surely the oxymoron of all times. NATO forces have launched several air strikes inside Pakistan over the past year but this is the first time it has killed Pakistani soldiers. Without so much as batting an eye, Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, proceeded to demand of the helpless Pakistani government not only the expulsion of all Al-Qaeda but also an immediate halt to the flow of insurgents across the border. Lapdog Karzai even threatened to send Afghan troops in: “They come and kill Afghanis and coalition troops; it precisely gives us the right to do the same.”

But I’ve left out the really spectacular news, the attack by Taliban militants on the main prison in southern Afghanistan late Friday, exploding a car bomb at the main gate in a multi-pronged assault that freed over 1000 prisoners, including 400 suspected Taliban. The complex attack included a car bomb, suicide bombers who entered the prison, and rockets fired from outside it. “All the prisoners escaped. There is no one left,” said Kandahar President Wali Karzai. Many of the prisoners were on a hunger strike only a few weeks ago during which 47 stitched their mouths shut. Some had been held without trial for more than two years and others were given lengthy prison sentences after short trials. The Taliban went on to liberate 18 nearby villages in an area that Canadian troops supposedly hold and plan to showcase with development aid over the next four years. Good luck, Canucks.

This blow to the occupation can only be compared to the Vietcong’s Tet offensive against the US occupation of South Vietnam in 1968. When will the occupation wake up and realise these brave and fearless men are dying defending their homeland? “I ask the Canadian people to ask their government to stop their destructive and inhumane mission and withdraw your troops. Our war will continue as long as your occupation forces are in our land,” Taleban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi appealed.

Perhaps the freed jail space in Kandahar will obviate the need for a $60 million upgrade of the jail at the infamous Bagram base, dubbed Afghanistan’s very own Guantanamo. “There will be a great deal of improvement in the quality of life,” US Army spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Rumi Nielson-Green said. “There will be a lot more floor space and much more room for communal activities, which is part of their culture.” Plans for the new prison apparently came as a complete surprise to Afghan officials in the Afghan Ministry of Justice.

In the current jail, two detainees were killed after being repeatedly struck by their American guards. There have been numerous allegations of abuse at the facility, with prisoners claiming to have been sexually humiliated, beaten, stripped naked and thrown down stairs during their interrogations. Nielson-Green, however, denies that detainees at Bagram have been ill-treated. I shudder to think what Nielson-Green considers to be “ill treatment”.

Until September 2004, Bagram served largely as a way station for prisoners on the way to the real Guantanamo. US officials deny allegations that children as young as nine have been imprisoned at the facility. Speaking of sexual abuse, Canadian troops have recently been under fire for their “don’t look, don’t tell” policy with regards widespread sexual abuse of civilians by Afghan government troops the Canadians are training.

But enough of this. The pre- and post-9/11 smoke and mirrors about Afghanistan are finally dispersing and shattering. NATO is in Afghanistan, as US President George Bush said in Bucharest in April, as “an expeditionary alliance that is sending its forces across the world to help secure a future of freedom and peace for millions.” In other words to invade countries the US disapproves of and murder anyone who resists. A total withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, a negotiated settlement between Afghan forces, and massive reparations by NATO countries is what the world must urgently demand.

Putting the blame on Pakistan is the same story we hear about Iran in Iraq and heard during the US war against Vietnam, when Nixon began bombing Cambodia. It did not help the US defeat the Vietnamese but did result in the Khmer Rouge taking over Cambodia. Only by killing virtually the entire population will the US plan for Afghanistan succeed. Is this the objective?

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly. You can reach him at

This will appear in the next issue of Al-Ahram Weekly

Bush to Congress: Embrace energy exploration now

"With gasoline topping $4 a gallon, President Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to lift its long-standing ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, saying the United States needs to increase its energy production. Democrats quickly rejected the idea."

Mississippi River levees break, more at risk

"The swollen Mississippi River ran over the top of at least nine more levees on Wednesday as floodwaters swallowed up more U.S. farmland, feeding inflation fears as corn prices soared to a record high."

Maryland elects 1st black woman to Congress

"Edwards beat Republican Peter James in the race to serve the remainder of former U.S. Rep. Albert Wynn's term in Maryland's 4th District. Wynn left office May 31 to take a lobbying job after losing to Edwards in February's Democratic primary by 22 percentage points."

McCain's Energy Drill

"Behold, a miracle: Public anger over $4 gas is forcing at least some of our political class to confront their energy contradictions. Last week, Republicans Jim Walsh of New York and Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland -- two longstanding opponents of offshore drilling -- asked for a mulligan. We can now add John McCain to the roll: In a speech in Houston yesterday, the Senator finally came out in favor of increasing domestic energy supplies."

Son of Africa or ugly American?

"Soon, perhaps, more Africans might also refuse to accept Barack Obama. Across the continent, to be sure, airwaves will continue to praise this "son of Africa," as the Ghanaian hit record calls him. But as they learn more about Obama's ideas, especially on hot-button cultural questions, Africans could start humming a different song. Stay tuned."

After attacks, Michelle Obama looks for a new introduction

"Conservative columnists accuse her of being unpatriotic and say she simmers with undigested racial anger. A blogger who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton circulates unfounded claims that Obama gave an accusatory speech in her church about the sins of "whitey." Obama shakes her head."

Judge OKs $11M settlement in Va Tech shootings

"A judge on Tuesday approved an $11 million state settlement with families of most of the victims in last year's Virginia Tech slayings that will avoid a court battle over whether anyone but the gunman was to blame."

Obama to make pre-election Israel visit

"Barack Obama reportedly plans to visit Israel before the U.S. presidential election in November."

As with all American presidential candidates, Obama must kneel before the Zionist alter and receive his marching orders.

ElBaradei doubts Syrians had ability to develop nuclear facility

"We have no evidence that Syria has the human resources that would allow it to carry out a large nuclear program. We do not see Syria having nuclear fuel," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamad ElBaradei told Al-Arabiya television Tuesday.

Bush to urge Congress to allow offshore drilling

"President Bush plans to make a renewed push Wednesday to get Congress to end a long-standing ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, echoing a call by GOP presidential candidate John McCain."

Is Israel indirectly buying Iranian oil?

"Having adamantly denied for months that Israel could possibly be purchasing any oil originating in Iran, an Israeli official has now acknowledged that the Jewish state cannot be sure that Iranian oil is not coming here indirectly, and a former Israeli energy minister has told The Jerusalem Post that Iranian oil may have been imported indirectly for years and that he would have readily authorized such purchases himself."

Celtics massacre Lakers for 17th NBA title

"Lifted by ear-splitting chants of "Beat L.A." early and cries of "Seven-teen" in the closing seconds by their adoring crowd, the Celtics concluded a shocking rebound of a season with a stunning 131-92 blowout over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 on Tuesday night."

Report: US Tortured Detainees

"Keller, who directs the Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture, said the treatment the detainees reported were "eerily familiar" to stories from other torture survivors around the world. He said the sexual humiliation of the prisoners was often the most traumatic experience."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For those who can handle the ugly truth of Israel

There is an astonishing amount of ignorance about the basic facts of the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict.This video was shot in the late 1940s to educate the public about the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who had been made homeless as a result of the violence and intimidation that accompanied the founding of the state of Israel.

Please help us ensure the widest possible dissemination of this very important historical video. Pass it along to your friends and colleagues. This is the truth and the truth will set you free!

Israel, Hamas agree to truce, Egypt says

Palestinians gather around the wreckage of a car that was hit in an Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip,Tuesday.

"Israel has responded with pinpoint air and ground attacks that have killed hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians. It has also imposed a strict blockade on Gaza, letting in only limited amounts of humanitarian aid, restricting fuel supplies and widening already rampant unemployment. Ending the economic sanctions by opening Gaza's crossings with Israel and Egypt has been a major Hamas demand in the cease-fire talks."

Looks like Israel plans to kill as many Palestinians as they can before the truce starts on Thurday. And, notice the clear bias of this article - where the writer talks about Israel's "pinpoint air and ground attacks that have killed hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians." I thought pinpoint attacks didn't kill innocent civilians, many of them women and children - that's why they are called pinpoint. What Israel does is not pinpoint attacks - Israel murder people, plain and simple.

Ahmadinejad to OPEC: Dump weak dollar

"I again repeat my previous proposal; we should have a basket of different international hard currencies as the basis or the member countries should come up and produce a new hard currency for petroleum contracts," he stressed. " They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper," Ahmadinejad said earlier after the close of the summit in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

The man's got a point!

Arab parties to Olmert's rescue

"MKs from Arab factions announce they will vote against dissolution of Knesset next week, preferring Olmert to projected rise of Opposition leader Netanyahu."

I can see their point. But, what a situation to be in - having to choose between the lesser of two murders.

Taliban Seizes Seven Afghan Villages

"Hundreds of Taliban fighters took control of seven villages in southern Afghanistan on Monday in what appeared to be a major offensive near the country's second-largest city, according to Afghan officials."

Ah, President Karzai sir - you might want to put attacking Pakistan on hold for a while...

Muslim teen awarded £4,000 over headscarf snub

"An employment tribunal has awarded a Muslim teenager 4,000 pounds after a the owner of a hair salon refused to employ her because she was wearing a headscarf."

Bush Inspires Least Confidence as World Leader

"While historians here debate whether George W. Bush has been the worst president in U.S. history, a global consensus that he inspires the least confidence of all the world's major leaders appears to have emerged."

In Case You Missed It: Pastor John Hagee at AIPAC Conference Warns Iran it Could Suddenly Vanish

"Hagee leads Christians United for Israel, which boasts on its leadership bodies the nation's highest profile Christian right leaders."

Christian Zionist Gathering Mired In Controversy

"According to Wilson, at Hagee's Cornerstone Church in San Antonio on three consecutive Sundays in March 2003, the pastor delivered "sermons heavily loaded with anti-Jewish memes, stereotypes, slurs and conspiracy theories, one of which was almost identical to what was perhaps Adolph Hitler's favourite conspiracy theory, which alleged that an international Jewish banking cabal, led by the Jewish Rothschild banking family, controls the fates of entire nation, even the progression of world events and history, through the manipulation of global money markets."

Looks like Christian Zionists are starting to lose their utility as "useful idiots."

Lost army job tied to doubts on U.S. contractor in Iraq

An employee of KBR serving dinner to an American soldier at a base in Baghdad. In 2004, a civilian official questioned KBR's request for about $200 million in payments for food services. (Shawn Baldwin/Reflex News, for The New York Times)

"The U.S. Army official who managed the Pentagon's largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops."

Presbyterian statement sparks outrage among Jewish groups

"A Presbyterian church statement on anti-Jewish bias and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has inflamed many Jewish groups."

It seems that taking the Christ-like position of seeking peace and justice towards all human kind doesn't sit well with many Jewish groups.

New J-Street Israeli lobby group announces endorsements

"The incumbents are Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), and first-time candidates Darcy Burner in Washington state, Donna Edwards in Maryland, Debbie Halvorson in Illinois, Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio and Dennis Shulman in New Jersey. All the first-timers are Democrats."

It'll be interesting to see how these candidates fair. Maybe, just maybe the worms about to turn. But, then, this is only hope...

Dozens of gay couples wed in Calif. after ruling

"Robin Tyler, left, and Diane Olson lean on each other during their same-sex Jewish wedding ceremony on the steps of Beverly Hills Courthouse, Monday June 16, 2008, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Dozens of gay couples were married Monday after a historic ruling making California the second state to allow same-sex nuptials went into effect. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)"

Gore endorses Obama and attacks Bush in Detroit

"Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, waves to the crowd with former Vice President Al Gore at the Joe Lewis Arena in Detroit, Monday, June 16, 2008. "

Obama and the Fall Into Tyranny

"Obama told the Lobby that in order to protect Israel he would use all the powers of the presidency to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. As in the case of Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the conclusion whether or not Iran is making a nuclear weapon will be determined by propaganda and not by fact. Therefore, there is no difference between Bush, McCain, Obama, and the Lobby with regard to the Middle East."

Obama Obliterates Iran

"I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel." - Barack Obama

Seven Reasons Not to Get Overly Excited About the Fact That Obama is Black

"Although much of Black public opinion considers Barack Obama's primary wins as collective victories for African Americans, the fact remains that white voters made his success possible."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Israelis ignore weak US regime

"ISRAELI politicians have brushed off Condoleezza Rice's weekend criticism of its settlement expansion program, with some claiming the outgoing regime of George W. Bush is wielding ever-less influence in the ailing peace process."

Of course, there's no more juice left in this lemon - they're waiting for the next lemon to squeeze.

A.Q. Khan "should be questioned about Iran"

"Khan may be released from house arrest. And we may never get to the bottom of this," Albright said. "So I think it's very important that we start to put pressure on the governments involved in this to find a way to get to the bottom of it."

I figured it would only be a matter of time for them to try to somehow tie Iran to A.Q. Khan.

Remaking the Middle East

"U.S. policy toward Iran must accept that Iran is a rational player driven by self interest. It must deal with four fundamental questions: What does Iran intend to do in Iraq? Does Iran seek to export its Islamic revolution? Will Iran support the insurgency inside Iraq to entangle U.S. forces? Do Iran and the U.S. have common interests in Iraq?"

Interesting, the lessons Bush learned from his Zionists handlers. We've known for sometime that to criticize Israeli policies in any arena was to risk being called antisemitic. Now, we risk being called anti-American if we criticize America's policies.

Brown Says Britain Will Tighten Iran Sanctions

"After talks with President Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised tougher measures in Iran and Afghanistan, saying that Britain would freeze the assets of Iran’s biggest bank and increase its troop strength in Afghanistan."

Ah, excuse me Mr. Prime Minister but Iran doesn't have assets in the UK anymore. Remember? They withdrew over $75 Billion from EU banks last week...

As millions of taxpayers await rebate checks, others find themselves with two

"Even as millions of people are anxiously checking their mailboxes and bank accounts for their stimulus payments, others have received more than their fair share."

Oil futures shoot to a record near $140 a barrel on falling dollar, North Sea fire

"Crude oil futures hit a record near $140 a barrel Monday as investors shrugged off Saudi Arabia's promise to boost production and instead focused on a weaker dollar. Retail gas prices rose to a record $4.08 a gallon."

Many at Guantanamo had low-level or no terrorism ties

"Akhtiar was among the more than 770 terrorism suspects who were imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They are, the Bush administration has said, "the worst of the worst."

Gaza: Humiliation and Dying Children

"The story struck me beyond its value in attempting to analyze mainstream reporting, or the callousness required of a military spokesperson to defend the decapitation of a 6-year-old as necessary retaliation. What is equally disturbing is the fact that Palestinian factions fail to see in Hadeel’s untimely death a compelling reason for unity, and carry on with their political sparring as if they have the luxury of endless time, while helpless Palestinians are victimized daily; victimization that is followed by no serious repercussions, save the firing of useless rockets that are used to fuel yet more Israeli ‘retaliation’, thus justifying the slow genocide and the starvation of the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza."

Hitler Youth in the West Bank

"Last week, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem released video clips showing masked Jewish settlers ganging up on and severely beating elderly Palestinian peasants near the town of Yatta, southwest of Hebron. At least three Palestinians were wounded in the unprovoked assault, including a man and his wife, both in their early sixties."

US soldier refuses to report for active duty in Iraq

"I stand here today in defense of those who have been stripped of their voices in this occupation, the warriors of this nation...", Chiroux read from a statement as his father Rob, who had travelled to Washington from Alabama to support his son on Father's Day, stood beside him.

Hundreds ordered to flee homes in Iowa City

A sign outside the Iowa Welcome Center is paritally submerged in flood water from the Mississippi River Sunday, June 15, 2008 in Burlington, Iowa. Receding water on Sunday revealed the widespread damage caused by a record flood crest, while other Iowa cities faced rivers that were still rising. Burlington is expecting a flood crest in the Mississippi River within the next couple of days. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Nuclear ring reportedly had advanced design

"American and international investigators say that they have found the electronic blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon on computers that belonged to the nuclear smuggling network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist, but that they have not been able to determine whether they were sold to Iran or the smuggling ring's other customers."

There's at least one rogue nation we know has at least 150 nuclear weapons. But, that rogue nation which is Israel somehow never gets talked about...

Elian Gonzalez Joins Cuba's Communist Youth Union

A young Elian Gonzalez is seized from his Miami, Florida, relatives' home during a federal raid on April 22, 2005. (File)

"In 2000, Gonzalez' mother was killed when a boat carrying them to the U.S. capsized in the Florida Straits. Elian, who was 6 years old at the time, and two other refugees were found clinging to an inner tube for survival. After his rescue the boy stayed with relatives in South Florida until a long tug of war over custody end with armed federal agents seizing him from his great uncle's Miami home. Elian then returned to Cuba with his father."

Saudi King: "We will pump more oil"

Saudi Arabia is keenly aware of the political and economic effect of the oil market on the upwards spiral of food prices, and contributed $500m to the World Food Programme ahead of the food summit in Rome to enable the UN agency to cope with escalating problems in feeding the world's poor. Mr Ban thanked King Abdullah for that gesture.

I wonder if folks will fully appreciate the Saudis for this significant humanitarian gesture? Well, these are the Saudis and we are talking primarily about Western countries - so, probably not...

Bush pledges on Iraq bases a ruse

"Two key pledges made by the George W Bush administration on military bases in its negotiations with the government of Iraq have now been revealed as carefully worded ruses aimed at concealing US negotiating aims from both US citizens and Iraqis who would object to them if they were made clear. "

Of course it a ruse - after all, this is the Bush Administration...

Olmert tells Rice Israel to continue building in Jerusalem

"We are not confiscating additional Palestinian lands but building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem which are expected to remain in Israeli hands," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday evening.

Or, in other words, FU*K YOU!