Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Condoleezza Pregnant: Giving Birth to Monster

Turning the page over to eloquence:

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Condoleezza Pregnant: Giving Birth to Monster

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
24 July 2006

Rice sees bombs as "birth pangs"


Condoleezza Rice has described the plight of Lebanon as a part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East" and said that Israel should ignore calls for a ceasefire.

"This is a different Middle East. It's a new Middle East. It's hard, We're going through a very violent time," the US secretary of state said.

"A ceasefire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo.

"Such a step would allow terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing and to threaten innocent people, Arab and Israeli, throughout the region."
I have to say that, as the mother of five children, these remarks stopped me cold in my tracks. Aside from the obvious question "what can Condoleezza Rice - a woman who has never given birth - know about "birth pangs"? - there is another more compelling question: what kind of human being can be so callous as to say such a thing when tens of thousands of mothers in the Middle East have suffered the unimaginable grief of seeing their beautiful babies crushed under the jackboots of rapacious Imperialism and religious fanaticism?

In Norman Finkelstein's book Beyond Chutzpah, he writes:


In the course of preparing the chapters of this book devoted to Israel's human rights record in the Occupied Territories, I went through literally thousands of pages of human rights reports, published by multiple, fiercely independent, and highly professional organizations - Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B'Tselem (Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories), Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel - each fielding its own autonomous staff of monitors and investigators.

Except on one minor matter, I didn't come across a single point of law or fact on which these human rights organizations differed.

In the case of Israel's human rights record, one can speak today not just of a broad consensus - as on historical questions - but of an UNQUALIFIED consensus. All these organizations agreed, for example, that Palestinian detainees have been sytematically ill treated and tortured, the total number now probably reaching the tens of thousands.

Yet if, as I've suggested, broad agreement has been reached on the FACTUAL record, an obvious anomaly arises: what accounts for the impassioned controversy that still swirls around the Israel-Palestine conflict?

To my mind, explaining this apparent paradox requires, first of all, that a fundamental distinction be made between those controversies that are real and those that are contrived.

To illustrate real differences of opinion, let us consider again the Palestinian refugee question.

It is possible for interested parties to agree on the facts yet come to diametrically opposed moral, legal, and political conclusions.

Thus, as already mentioned, the scholarly consensus is that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948.

Israel's leading historian on the topic, Benny Morris, although having done more than anyone else to clarify exactly what happened, nonetheless concludes that, morally, it was a good thing - just as, in his view, the "annihilation" of Native Americans was a good thing - that, legally, Palestinians have no right to return to their homes, and that, politically, Israel's big error in 1948 was that it hadn't "carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country - the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan" of Palestinians.

However repellant morally, these clearly can't be called FALSE conclusions.

Returning to the universe inhabited by normal human beings, it's possible for people to concur on the facts as well as on their moral and legal implications, yet still reach divergent POLITICAL conclusions.

Noam Chomsky agrees that, factually, Palestinians were expelled; that, morally, this was a major crime; and that, legally, Palestinians have a right of return. Yet, politically, he concludes that implementation of this right is infeasible and pressing it inexpedient, indeed, that dangling this (in his view) illusory hope before Palestinian refugees is deeply immoral.

There are those, contrariwise, who maintain that a moral and legal right is meaningless unless it can be exercised and that implementing the right of return is a practical possibility.

For our purposes, the point is not who's right and who's wrong but that, even among honest and decent people, there can be a real and legitimate differences of political judgment.

This having been said, however, it bears emphasis that - at any rate, among those sharing ordinary moral values - the range of political disagreement is quite narrow, while the range of agreement quite broad."
Let's run that by one more time: The scholarly consensus is that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and Israel's leading historian, Benny Morris, thinks that this was a good thing.

And now, Condoleezza Rice thinks that further ethnic cleansing of the Middle East by the psycho-bullies of Israel is just "birth pangs" of a "New Middle East."

Most Westerners have been brainwashed to think that the "Arab-Israeli Conflict" is some kind of old, historical hatred, a "cosmic clash of religions, cultures, civilizations. This is what Finkelstein refers to as a "contrived controversy." It is all bunk and mystification and it serves to blow smoke on the so-called "Two State Solution" that is the favored political gambit of most normal, decent, humane and moral people. Noam Chomsky favors this view to some extent, but I sometimes wonder how a person can have any moral fiber at all if they, on the one hand, agree that a deed is totally morally reprehensible, and on the other hand, suggest that righting the wrong is not feasible.

Nevertheless, there has been a consensus that the Two State Solution is the best one for over 25 years. In 1989, a UN Generally Assembly resolution passed nearly unanimously; it stipulated "[t]he withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967." The only dissenting votes were the U.S., Israel, and Dominica.

In 2004, basically the same resolution was passed again with the only dissenting votes being cast by the U.S., Israel, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Uganda.

So, why does Israel and the U.S. (and UK too), continue to blow the mystifying smoke on the problem, to continue to try to present it as a "clash of civilizations" or a "cosmic war between good and evil" and all that crap?

The answer is simple: if you look at it with all that nonsense stripped away you see the simple truth: it is a political problem that was created by politicians with Imperialist agendas.

The fact is, from the very beginning, the establishment of a National Home for the Jews involved blanket negation of the inalienable rights of the residents of that land to keep their homes.


The injustice inflicted on Palestinians by Zionism was manifest and, except on racist grounds, unanswerable: their right to self-determination, and perhaps even to their homeland, was being denied.

Several sorts of justification were supplied for the Zionist enterprise as against the rights of the indigenous population, none of which, however, withstood even cursory scrutiny. Belief in the cluster of justifications put forth by the Zionist movement presumed acceptance of very specific Zionist ideological tenets regarding Jewish "historical rights" to Palestine and Jewish "homelessness."

For example, the "historical rights" claim was based on Jews having originated in Palestine and resided there two thousand years ago. Such a claim was neither historical nor based on any accepted notion of right.

It was not historical inasmuch as it voided the two millennia of non-Jewish settlement in Palestine and the two millennia of Jewish settlement outside it. It was not a right except in mystical, Romantic nationalist ideologies, the implementation of which would wreak - and have wreaked - havoc.

Reminding fellow Zionists that Jewry's "historical right" to Palestine was a "metaphysical rather than a political category" and that, springing as it did from "the very inner depths of Judaism," this "category ... is binding on us rather than on the Arabs," even the Zionist writer Ernst Simon was emphatic that it did not confer on Jews any right to Palestine without the consent of the Arabs.

One cannot help but draw the comparison between the justifications for the creation of the National Home for the Jews with the Nazis justifications for Lebensraum.

The term Lebensraum... was coined by Friedrich Ratzel in 1897, and used as a slogan in Germany referring to the unification of the country and the acquisition of colonies, as per the English and French models. It was adapted from Darwinian and other scientific ideas of the day about how ecological niches are filled. Similar concepts are still used today in geography and biology.[1]

Ratzel believed the development of a people is primarily influenced by their geographical situation and that a people that successfully adapted to one location would proceed naturally to another. This expansion to fill available space, he claimed, was a natural and necessary feature of any healthy species.

These beliefs were furthered by scholars of the day, including Karl Haushofer and Friedrich von Bernhardi. In von Bernhardi's 1912 book Germany and the Next War, he expanded upon Ratzel's hypotheses and, for the first time, explicitly identified Eastern Europe as a source of new space.

The attempts to implement the Lebensraum happened in Zamosc County and Wartheland (see Generalplan Ost). The biggest obstacle to implement the Lebensraum further was the fact that by the end of 1942 the Sixth Army was defeated at Stalingrad. After the second big defeat in the tank battle at Kursk during July 1943 and the Allied landings in Sicily, all further Lebensraum plans came to a halt.

The Lebensraum ideology was a major factor in Hitler's launching of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. The Nazis hoped to turn large areas of Soviet territory into German settlement areas as part of Generalplan Ost.

Developing these ideas, Nazi theorist Alfred Rosenberg, proposed that the Nazi administrative organization in lands to be conquered from the Soviets be based upon the following Reichskommissariats:

Ostland (Baltic States, Belarus and eastern Poland),
Ukraine (Ukraine and adjacent territories),
Kaukasus (Caucasus area),
Moskau (the Moscow metropolitan area and adjacent European Russia)

The Reichskommissariat territories would extend up to the European frontier at the Urals.

These administrative entities were to have been early stages in the displacement and dispossession of Russian and other Slav peoples and their replacement with German settlers, following the Nazi "Lebensraum im Osten" plans. [Wikipedia]
That sure does sound familiar, doesn't it? And it was soundly and violently condemned by the entire world which fought a World War to end such expansionist aspirations on the part of Germany.

So, why do we tolerate it on the part of Israel? Why are we all sitting around and watching Israel doing the same things that the Nazis were doing, listening to psychopaths like Condoleezza Rice refer to it as "Birth Pangs" of a "New Middle East"? Have we taken leave of our senses? Is the universe of normal, decent and moral people so filled with smoke that we can no longer see what is right and what is wrong?

Well, as a matter of fact, that seems to be the case.

Another sort of justification conjured away the injustice inflicted on the indigenous population with the pretense that Palestine was (nearly) vacant before the Jews came. Ironically, this argument has proven to be the most compelling proof of the injustice committed: it is a back-handed admission that, had Palestine been inhabited, which it plainly was, the Zionist enterprise was morally indefensible. Those admitting to the reality of a Palestinian presence yet functioning outside the ideological ambit of Zionism couldn't adduce any justification for Zionism except a racist one: that is, in the great scheme of things, the fate of Jews was simply more important than that of Arabs. If not publicly, at any rate privately, this is how the British rationalized the Balfour Declaration. For Balfour himself, "we deliberately and rightly decline to accept the principle of self-determination" for the "present inhabitants" of Palestine, because "the question of the Jews outside Palestine [is] one of world importance" and Zionism was "rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of a far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land." [Finkelstein]
At the time, British Cabinet Minster, Herbert Samuel, recognized that denying the Arabs majority rule was "in flat contradiction to one of the main purposes for which the Allies were fighting," but he then turned around and bought into the smokescreen belief propagated by religion, to wit "the anterior Jewish presence in Palestine "had resulted in events of spiritual and cultural value to mankind in striking contrast with the barren record of the last thousand years."

Winston Churchill testified before the Peel Commission saying that the indigenous population of Arabs had no more right to Palestine than a "dog in a manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time." He further opined that "No wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or at any rate, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

Shades of Adolf Hitler!


Finkelstein makes a small apology for the Brits saying:

"The point is not so much that the British were racists but rather that they had no recourse except to racist justifications for denying the indigenous population its basic rights. Pressed to justify what was done, they became racists not from predilection but from circumstance: on no other grounds could so flagrant a denial be explained."
The so-called "historic necessity" of Jews being given a National State is also bunk. There was a massive exertion of the Zionists to get Jews to go to Palestine; Jews were often conscripted in a heavy-handed way to go to Palestine. Zionists vigorously opposed the settlement of any Jews anywhere else. In documented cases, many Jews were given the choice between going to concentration camps under Nazi rule or going to Palestine.

"From the outset Zionism worked towards the creation of a purely Jewish state and was glad to rid the country of its Arab inhabitants.' [Isaac Deutscher]

To say that the Israeli government is acting irrationally when it refuses to "remove or assuage the grievance" of Palestinians is missing the point. Considering that the Palestinians' chief grievance is the denial of their homeland, if the Zionists were to act "rationally" according to that standard, and remove this grievance, i.e. to give them back their homeland, then there would be no Israel.

It is equally wrong to think that Palestinians - and the wider Arab community - have been acting irrationally when they blame the Zionists for all the misery in the Middle East. They are acting quite normally.

Which brings us back to Condoleezza Rice: Few things have ever revealed the psychopathic nature of the Bush Neocon Cabal more clearly than this soulless and truly inhuman series of remarks. Rice has revealed herself to be - like Benny Morris - a morally repellant creature. And, as Finkelstein has pointed out, the universe inhabited by normal human beings - honest and decent people - is one where the majority concur on the facts and their moral and legal implications, though they may have different ideas of how to implement a political solution. One could say that all normal people demand an immediate cease-fire. Period. You can work out the details later, but stop now before one more precious baby is lost and one more mother regrets the real birth pangs that brought her child into a world where he or she was destined to become only cannon fodder for such as the likes of Condoleezza Rice.

But let's look again at what Rice said: a "New Middle East." What could she have meant by that? Just what kind of Middle East can you have when Israel is systematically ethnically cleansing the region of - well... anybody but Israelis. And there's your answer. That is, after all, the vision of Israel.

And so we see just what kind of "New Middle East" Condoleezza Rice is talking about: she is pregnant and giving birth to a Monster.







Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Most Dangerous Alliance inthe World

Here on the internet is the only place where you have asmall chance of gettinga POV other than that dictated by the PTB"s lap-dog media. Norm Solomon tells it like it is.

Blue Ibis
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Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
http://www.fair.org

The Most Dangerous Alliance in the World

Media Beat (7/20/06)

By Norman Solomon

After getting out of Lebanon, writer June Rugh told Reuters: "As an American, I'm embarrassed and ashamed. My administration is letting it happen [by giving] tacit permission for Israel to destroy a country." The news service quoted another American evacuee, Andrew Muha, who had been in southern Lebanon. He said: "It’s a travesty. There’s a million homeless in Lebanon and the intense amount of bombing has brought an entire country to its knees."

Embarrassing. Shameful. A travesty. Those kinds of words begin to describe the alliance between the United States and Israel. Here are a few more: Government criminality. High-tech terror. Mass murder from the skies. The kind of premeditated action that the U.S. representative in Nuremberg at the International Conference on Military Trials -- Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson -- was talking about on August 12, 1945, when he declared that "no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy."

The United States and Israel. Right now, it's the most dangerous alliance in the world.

Of course, Israeli officials talk about murderous crimes against civilians by Hezbollah and Hamas. And Hezbollah and Hamas officials talk about murderous crimes against civilians by Israel. Plenty of real crimes to go around. At the same time, by any measure, Israelis have done a lot more killing than dying. (If you doubt that, take a look at the website of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem and its documentation of deadly events.)
In American media, the current mumbling about the need for "restraint" is little better than window-dressing for bomb-dropping. The prevalent dynamic is based on a chain of rarely spoken lies, however conscious or unconscious: none more important than the lie that a religion can make one life worth more than another; render a human death unimportant; elevate certain war-inflicted agonies to spiritual significance.

"Israel has overwhelming military superiority in both southern Lebanon and Gaza," the New York Times noted in mid-July. A pattern is deeply entrenched in U.S. media and politics: the smaller-scale killers condemned, the larger-scale killers justified with endless rationales.

Stripping away the righteous rhetoric, media manipulation and routine journalistic contortions, what remains in joint U.S.-Israeli policy is the unspoken assumption that might makes right. Myths spin around as convenient. Israel ceremoniously "withdraws" from Gaza, only to come back with missiles and troops however and whenever it pleases. The West Bank also continues to be a place of subjugation and resistance. And, as W.H. Auden observed, "Those to whom evil is done / Do evil in return."

The Israeli leaders who launched July's state-of-the-killing-art air assault on Gaza and Lebanon had to know that many civilians would be killed, many others wounded, many more terrorized. The smug moral posturing that Israel's military does not target specific civilians is moldy political grist -- and, in human terms, irrelevant to the totally predictable carnage.

"There are terrorists who will blow up innocent people in order to achieve tactical objectives," President Bush said on July 13. Of course he was referring to actions by Hezbollah and Hamas. We're supposed to pretend that Israel does not also "blow up innocent people in order to achieve tactical objectives."

Israel calls itself a Jewish state, and its leadership often claims to represent the interests of Jewish people. Killers who terrorize often claim to be acting on blessed behalf of others of the faith. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus... By now, such demagoguery ought to be transparent.

In the 40th year of Israel's unconscionable occupation of Palestinian territories, Israeli leaders have their agenda. What's ours?

It should include clearly opposing the most dangerous alliance in the world.

In the United States, evading the "might makes right" core of the alliance is easy. The dodge makes dropping bombs on Lebanon and Gaza that much easier for the Israeli government. As usual, you can hear it in the weasel-worded statements from even the better politicians on Capitol Hill. You can read it in New York Times editorials. Instead of saying that aggressive war by Israel "is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy," the message is that aggressive war by Israel is accepted and embraced as an instrument of policy.

Most of all, you can hear it in the silence.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

George Galloway is MY MAN!!!

One of the few politcians in the world today with real principles and real cojones. Just think if there were ten more like him!

Blue Ibis

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"Recognize the Centrality of the Palestine Question": An Interview with George Galloway

by Dan Moore

George Galloway MP is the controversial British politician who has proved a thorn in the side of advocates of the Iraq war. He is a fierce advocate of the Palestinian state, and a redoubtable campaigner against oppression and injustice throughout the world. In 2005 he made a memorable appearance before the US Senate, successfully defending himself against claims that he benefited from the Iraqi oil-for-food program. I'm Not the Only One is his critically acclaimed book on the Middle East, and the US and British administrations approach to this troubled region.

MOORE: You've taken a close interest in the Palestinian issue. Are you surprised that the international community has not condemned Israel's consistently aggressive stance against Gaza?

GALLOWAY: I'm not at all surprised. I'm dismally reconciled to the gigantic double standard that lies at the heart of Western policy towards the Middle East and the Muslim world. I have long become inured to the double standard that allows Israel to have hundreds of nuclear weapons and refuse to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, yet be rewarded by the West, whilst Iran has no nuclear weapons, has joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty and is, according to Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, facing a devastating war.

I am dismally aware of the extent to which the blood of Palestinians is not worth anything like the blood of Israelis, still less the blood of Westerners. A good case in point was on the BBC's Question Time when every single member of the panel knew the name of the Israeli occupation soldier 'kidnapped' by the resistance, and they felt they had to pay endless sympathies to his family.

I found myself screaming at the television: "Can any of you name a single Palestinian victim, just say in the last 12 days, when 24 Palestinians, mostly women and children were killed by Israel in bomb, shell and rocket attacks?" No one knows the names of these victims, no one describes the Palestinian leaders who were kidnapped and languish in Israeli dungeons. All were seized in exactly the same way as this Israeli solder was seized. This is a double standard that does not occur to most people, but is endlessly burrowing away in my mind.

MOORE: I guess you'd say that the lack of recognition for the democratically elected Hamas Government is another example of Western double standards.

GALLOWAY: That is just one of many contradictions. Palestine is the only Arab country in which there is a free vote, and in it the Islamist party won, and the response from external powers was that the party that won should immediately scrap the policy on which it won the election and adopt the policy of the party it defeated. When they refused to do this, an economic and political siege was imposed on the entire kidnapped Palestinian population, because of their temerity at electing politicians of whom the West does not approve.

MOORE: Why do you think the US administration is persisting with Guantanamo Bay despite damning criticism from the Supreme Court, among others?

GALLOWAY: It is a peculiarity of the current Washington regime that it cares nothing about international opinion, nothing about international law and diplomacy. These are all merely tactics to be picked up and put down according to the needs of the hour. It is interesting in the respect that the judges both in the UK and the US are practically the last bastions against overwhelming executive power. The legislature in both countries has completely failed to perform that role of checking and balancing the power of government.

In Britain Mr. Blair has launched a jihad against the judiciary. It has come to something for an old Labour man like me when it's the judges in the House of Lords who are defending liberty in the land and it's a Labour government that's destroying them, and brutally insulting and campaigning against the judges for doing their job. In the United States, even in a court that is stuffed with Bush appointees, the judges could not stomach this legal atrocity called Guantanamo any longer.

One British minister, Harriet Harman, the Solicitor General, put it in a nutshell when she said: "If there's nothing wrong with what's going on at Guantanamo Bay, why isn't it in America?" To answer this, it is not in America because if it were it would be subject to due process. It is precisely because there has to be no legal norms that it has to be extra terrestrial.

MOORE: The late Clarence Darrow once wrote of capital punishment: "it is administered for no reason but deep and fixed hatred of the individual and an abiding thirst for revenge." Is this sentiment behind the reported construction of death chambers in Guantanamo Bay?

GALLOWAY: I think so, and if you look at some of the work that is being done in the US about the accountability of the activities at Abu Graib, it is clear that Donald Rumsfeld took a personal hand, as nauseating as it is, in discussing which forms of physical punishment and retribution can be taken against helpless prisoners before it becomes too much like torture to be contemplated.

It is obvious that what was happening at Abu Graib was not the mindless aberrations of some trailer-trash US privates. These were dynamics unleashed from the very top of the US administration. And for what? Whatever information you are going to get out of behaving in that way is far outweighed by the opprobrium into which it brings your country when it inevitably leaks out. And the information you get is usually worthless, as people will say anything under torture.

MOORE: Torture is not usually a weapon employed by democracies.

GALLOWAY: I think the leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom know the limitations of democracy. My own father really believed that there was something special about Britain, that it was an especially free country. Were he alive, this epoch would come as a terrible blow because it turns out that we are only free as long as it doesn't really matter much. When it matters the freedoms are taken away. In other words the veneer that covers our society with the emblems of liberty, justice and democracy are very thin and can be dispensed with by the elected dictatorships that we now have on both sides of the Atlantic.

MOORE: Who's to blame for this situation?

GALLOWAY: I blame the Democrats. They have proved themselves to be an utterly spineless, unprincipled group of hucksters. They could have stopped all of this. They needn't have allowed Bush to become President. They could have whipped up a crisis over the brazen theft of the first election, but they didn't and they have been running ever since.

MOORE: The September 11 bombings exposed how certain groups feel about the United States and the West. Some say that since then an even more hard line approach from Washington has emerged. Do you think the current approach to terrorism has elevated or reduced the chances of another 9/11?

GALLOWAY: I said in Parliament just four days after 9/11 that if we handle this in the wrong way we will create 10,000 new Bin Ladens. I don't think that anyone doubts we did this. I use the metaphor that there is this swamp of hatred out there, and in it are festering all sorts of bad things. In time some will emerge to harm us. Instead of draining the swamp by dealing with the causes of it, we have engulfed it with new blood, making the swamp deeper, more toxic, and we will pay a price for it.

MOORE: Moving onto Iraq, do you think Nouri al Maliki is a credible leader of Iraq?

GALLOWAY: Not at all. He is not remotely credible. He is not even known by the Iraqi people.

MOORE: Is his appointment then an example of the imposition of Western-style democracy, necessary if an Iraqi civil war is to be avoided?

GALLOWAY: I believe the opposite is true. The most expedient way to civil war is for us to stay, and if we stay in Iraq will surely be a civil war, and one like none you've ever seen. We are talking about a Yugoslav-style war on top of the world's biggest oilfields, sucking in the Sunnis in neighboring states, Iranians buttressing the Shiite power-base, the Turks becoming involved in Kurdistan. So if you want a civil war, forget $60 a barrel, you won't be able to buy oil at $600 a barrel because there will be no oil as there will be no production of oil in the Gulf, Iran or Iraq. Most of the world's oil supply will be wiped out.

Our presence in the country is the main cause of the war. I'm not saying that if we now withdraw peace and harmony will immediately break out. I'm not saying that withdrawal is a sufficient condition, but it is a necessary condition. If we don't withdraw there will never be a solution. In any event the solution will not be what I or Bush wants. The outcome in Iraq will not be a return to a secular nationalist government. It will be a government of religious obscurantism, Shiite and Sunni, battling it out like what we see in Afghanistan. There will come a day, perhaps we are already there, when people will realize that there are worse things than Saddam Hussein.

MOORE: What is your impression of Saddam Hussein's trial?

GALLOWAY: It's a farce. It would have been much less demeaning to everyone if they had just shot him when they captured him. Everything about the trial is a farce. For a start it is being held not by the Iraqis but by the occupiers, with a few puppets who are put up front for the television cameras, albeit with a 60-minute time delay before we can see the pictures.

I know from my dealings with the Arab population that this trial has done more to rehabilitate Saddam Hussein's reputation in the Muslim world than anything anyone could have designed. He is seen as a lion and they are seen as monkeys.

MOORE: Tariq Aziz defended Saddam from the stand with the following words: "The president of the state of any country, if faced with an assassination attempt, should take procedures to punish those who conduct and help this operation. According to the law, people who support this assassination can also be convicted." Do you think Tariq Aziz was talking about Iraq now, as much as Iraq under Saddam?

GALLOWAY: First of all, when Clinton came into power, he launched a cruise missile attack on Baghdad. It killed some friends of mine. He did so because an Iraqi plot to murder George Bush Senior in Kuwait had been unmasked. Whether that plot was fabricated is another matter, but not only did Clinton execute my friends, without trial, the Kuwaitis executed the plotters because they were planning to kill a president. As it happens I am against capital punishment, at all times in all societies, so I wouldn't have executed any of them, but it is another example of the double standards that we are constantly grappling with here.

MOORE: Do you expect to be invited back to the US Senate?

GALLOWAY: No. I told them last September to put up or shut up, and they appear to have chosen to shut up.

MOORE: Why do you think the Senate and indeed the British Labour Party have been so keen to besmirch your name?

GALLOWAY: I am quite good at what I do, and am quite a dangerous enemy for them. If I were an ineffective, sandal-wearing, woolly jumper-wearing, ghettoized leftist they wouldn't have to worry about me at all. However, because by the grace of God I have the ability to rally together and persuade large numbers of people, and because I have been proved right, the people whom I am against have every reason to besmirch me.

The good news is that they have comprehensively failed. I have just been speaking at a school where a thousand children came to hear me speak. They say that young people are apathetic about politics, but I say they are apoplectic about the pathetic nature of the political class that we have. If someone emerges who speaks clearly, speaks the truth, and provides some kind of vision as to how we get out of this, people will respond.

MOORE: But certain politicians see this approach as threatening. . . .

GALLOWAY: Yes, of course, and they're right to. I'm not a joker. I'm not in this for a laugh. I'm really serious about defeating these people. So they are right to be afraid of me.

MOORE: Are you afraid of them, though?

GALLOWAY: No, not at all, and this is my great strength. As I said to Senator Coleman in Washington, "Do not make the mistake of imagining that I'm afraid of you. You have nothing that I want and I have nothing that you can take away from me. The only thing that matters to me is my reputation amongst the people who support me, and you're not in a position to take that away from me." So I'm not afraid of any of them, and this gives me a sense of power, conviction and courage that I might not otherwise have.

The main problem in the House of Commons is the toxic mix of cowardice and careerism [sounds like the Democrats, eh?] in which most of these people are deeply imbibed. A political class like that deserves contempt, and is in receipt of almost bottomless contempt amongst the people.

MOORE: What you are saying doesn't bode well for those hoping to win the war on terror, does it?

GALLOWAY: There will never be a winner because terrorism isn't an adversary -- it is a tactic. Peter Ustinov, the great European intellectual, put it this way: "War is the terrorism of the rich and powerful, and terrorism is the war of the poor and powerless." This word terrorism has been distorted beyond any further usefulness. Terrorism is what the other guy does.

If you reduce Fallujah to ash, and kill thousands of people using white phosphorus and other banned weapons and overwhelming firepower, that's not terrorism, but if you blow yourself up outside an Iraqi police station, that is terrorism. No person with half a brain can accept that definition of terrorism. So there will be no end to the war on terrorism, because there is no end to the injustice that produced it.

MOORE: President Bush is in his last term of office, as is PM Blair, we are told. What steps will the next leaders of these countries take to heal the rift with nations such as Iran, Syria, and so on?

GALLOWAY: I think they'll do nothing different. I think that Gordon Brown and Blair are two cheeks of the same arse, and Bush and Hilary Clinton are two cheeks of the same arse. In fact, Clinton is demanding more forces to be sent to Iraq. Despite a brief flirtation some years ago with the idea of a modicum of justice for the Palestinians, she has now turned utterly against the Palestinians. She is as slavish in her support of Israel as Bush is.

I can tell you, from 30 years of intimate contact with Gordon Brown, that he will be no different from Tony Blair in the material aspects. If Brown and Clinton are not the next leaders, then it will be people of their ilk, as there is no one on the radar who will do anything differently.

MOORE: So, will the list of disgruntled countries keep growing?

GALLOWAY: Of course. In his majestic article for the New Yorker Seymour Hersh makes it very clear that they are not discussing whether to attack Iran, they are discussing which weapons to use when they attack. Even I was startled at the level of detail Hersh went into about the debate inside the administration about whether to use a tactical nuclear weapon on the Iranian nuclear sites, and only the threat of mutiny from top military brass persuaded Bush to take this proposal off the table. Who knows where he will train his sights on next?

I don't think that they are in a position to invade anyone else right now. If they were, then Hugo Chavez had better watch out, Syria had better watch out, Iran had better watch out. North Korea had better watch out, although if the Americans hear nothing else from me, hear this. Please do not attack North Korea -- that would be picking up a very spiky porcupine indeed.

MOORE: If the status quo is to prevail, what could any new leader do to improve matters?

GALLOWAY: For the purposes of this interview I'll deal only with the Muslim world, although there are many other issues of injustice that afflict much of the planet. The way to drain the swamp is this.

First of all, we have to recognize the centrality of the Palestine question to this big crisis. We have to recognize that the flaw at the heart of Western policy is the injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, and the endless insult added to injury over the past 50 years.

We have to make reparation to the Palestinian people and stop bankrolling and arming Israel. We have to force them to knock down the wall, force them to disgorge every inch of the territory that they illegally occupied in 1967, force them to allow a Palestinian state with an Arab border with Jerusalem as its capital and no Zionist settlements on its land. No control over the airspace, sea space, access and so on. None of that will be done, but it needs to be done.

The second thing that needs to be done is that we need to withdraw from occupied Muslim lands, get our forces out of their lands. The third thing we must do is to stop propping up these tyrants that rule the Muslim world. As I implied earlier on, the Muslim world laughs at the idea that we are for freedom and democracy, as they know that their tyrant is only in power because of our support. I'm not asking for anything to be done to bring these tyrants down, other than to withdraw our support and let their people deal with them.

MOORE: In I'm Not the Only One, you wrote of the Labour Party: "Many of my friends have placed their faith in a campaign to 'Reclaim the Party'. I wish them luck. They will need it. I believe they will not succeed, but I sincerely hope that they do." What, if anything could emerge to fill the void to the left of British politics, and you suggest there is a similar void in the United States?

GALLOWAY: With Respect - the Unity Coalition we are trying to fill the void in the UK, as a void is an unnatural thing, especially in politics. I think that no one is trying to fill the vacuum in the United States.

I would like to make something clear about what I am trying to do. I am not a Marxist, a Leninist, Trotskyist or any other kind of 'ist'. I am just labor. I just believe that every country needs a labor party. A party that will stand up for people who work, those who are too old to work, who are poor, marginalized, on the end of the lash of bigotry and prejudice. A party that will stand up for immigrants, minorities and so on. Every country needs such a party. Britain no longer has one, and we are trying to build one from scratch.

It sounds like a very big mountain to climb, but in 1894 in the East End of London a Scotsman called Keir Hardie became the first ever Labour MP. At the time people said he was splitting the vote and he would let the Conservatives in. From that one victory in 1894 in East London grew the great oak of Labour. All the good that was done by Labour has been abandoned, and we are putting ourselves forward as a true labor party.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Israel's Latest Bureaucratic Obscenity

What a month can bring . . . . .

For those of you sitting comfortably in front of your computers, safe in your homes, spare a thought, and maybe a letter or email to the PTB for those ground under the heel of oppressors.

Again, Signs of the Times is one of the few news outlets where you will find the real story

Blue Ibis

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Israel's Latest Bureaucratic Obscenity

By JONATHAN COOK
July 12, 2006

The same malign intent from Israel towards the Palestinians is stamped through its history like the lettering in a children's stick of seaside rock. But despite the consistent aim of Israeli policy, generation after generation of Western politicians, diplomats and journalists has shown a repeated inability to grasp what is happening before its very eyes.

The Palestinian historian Rashid Khalidi once noted that the first goal of Israel's founders as they prepared to establish their Jewish state on a large swath of the Palestinian homeland in 1948 was to empty Palestine's urban heartlands of their educated elites.

Even before Israel's Declaration of Independence on 15 May 1948, most Palestinians had been terrified away from the two wealthiest cities in coastal Palestine, Jaffa and Haifa. Other Palestinian cities soon fell during the war of 1948: Israeli forces mostly cleansed Lydda, Ramle, Acre, Safad, Tiberias, Baysan and Bir Saba of their native populations. Today all these cities have been repopulated with Jews -- as well as renamed.

Khalidi has written: "These refugees from the urban areas of the country generally tended to be those Palestinians with the highest levels of literacy, skills, wealth, and education". Or, in other words, the small number of Palestinians allowed to remain in their homeland by Israel were peasant families living in isolated rural communities.

These Palestinians posed little threat to the new Jewish state: they lacked the education and tools to resist both the wholesale dispossession of their people and their own personal loss as their farm lands were expropriated by the state to establish the Jewish farming communes of the kibbutz and moshav movements.

And so history repeats itself. As Israel's violent siege of Gaza continues, the Associated Press reported this week that dozens of Palestinians with American passports have left Gaza, escorted out of the Strip in a convoy of United Nations vehicles. One Palestinian American mother said she and her children could no longer stand the terrifying sonic booms produced by Israeli aircraft flying overhead during the night.

These fleeing Palestinians have two things that most of their kin in Gaza lack: they have lots of money that they might have invested in rebuilding Gaza's economy were Israel not intent on destroying it; and they are familiar with a language and ideas that might have conveyed very effectively to Western audiences the horror currently being endured by Gaza's civilian population.

They are also among the least radicalised elements of Gaza's population and might have been the ones most willing to start a dialogue with Israel -- had Israel shown any interest in negotiating.

But of course their absence from Gaza, and flight to America, will not be mourned by Israel.

How much Israel fears the presence in the occupied territories of Palestinians who have lived in the West -- those who have money and influence, and speak in a language the non-Arab world can understand -- was highlighted in another piece of news this week that went mostly unnoticed.

According to the Haaretz newspaper, Israel's interior ministry has been quietly implementing a new rule since April that allows it to refuse entry to Palestinians holding foreign passports to Israel and the occupied territories. Most of those affected are Palestinians who today have citizenship in America or Europe.

Israel has this power over these Palestinians' lives because, since its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, it has usurped control of the borders of the Palestinian territories. In another sign of how mistaken Western observers are in believing that the occupation of Gaza somehow ended with the withdrawal of Jewish settlers last year, Israel is still able to prevent Palestinians with a foreign passport (as well as those from the West Bank) from entering Gaza.

This new policy of exclusion affects thousands of the wealthiest and most educated Palestinians, some of whom have been living in the occupied territories for a decade or more investing in the economy as entrepreneurs, teaching in the universities or establishing desperately needed civil society organisations.

In another irony, many of these Palestinians have a foreign passport only because Israel stripped them of their rights to residency in the occupied territories in violation of international law. Using its control of the area's borders since 1967, Israel revoked the residency of these Palestinians while they were studying or working abroad.

As the Israeli journalist Amira Hass documented in a recent dispatch, some of these Palestinians eventually came back to the occupied territories after marrying a local Palestinian resident but were refused rights of residency they should be entitled to according to the normal principles of family unification.

Instead most Palestinians with foreign passports have remained in the occupied territories at Israel's discretion: as long as they renewed their tourist visa every three months by crossing the border into Jordan or Egypt, they were left in relative peace.

But Israel is now unilaterally changing the rules (as it always does), even if it has been too embarrassed to declare the fact openly. Apparently the US embassy has been aware of the change for some time but does not think it should intervene in the "sovereign decisions" of another country -- or, more accurately, in the decisions of a sovereign country, Israel, in violating the rights of an occupied people, the Palestinians.

Palestinians with US passports have been told by Israel that, when their three-month visas expire, they will no longer be entitled to enter the occupied territories to visit their families -- except in rare "humanitarian cases" such as a close relative dying. Some will be separated from their spouse and children, while others will lose their businesses and everything they have invested in them.

With these foreign passport holders forced to leave the occupied territories, the pressure is sure to grow on their families left behind in Gaza and the West Bank to seek ways to emigrate abroad to be with them again.

The purpose of Israel's current bureaucratic obscenity is the same as it was in 1948 when its highest priority was the clearing of the Palestinian cities of their elites to make way for the establishment of the Jewish state.

This time Israel needs to empty the ghettoes it is crafting for the Palestinians of the most educated and well-connected of their number so that it can more credibly claim that there is no one "moderate" to talk to. Any Palestinian with a stake in an Israeli-imposed peace, even one that damages Palestinian national interests, will have been forced out by Israel's policies long before.

Those who remain behind, trapped by walls of concrete and steel, will be powerless to resist the unilateral and illegal expansion of Israel's borders explicit in Ehud Olmert's convergence plan.

When the only noise heard from the Palestinians in their cages is the occasional whine of a home-made Qassam rocket flying out of the ghetto into the Jewish state, we will be told by Israel and its US ally that terror is the only language the Palestinians know.

But, in truth, it may well be the only language we have left the Palestinians to speak.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the author of the forthcoming "Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State" published by Pluto Press, and available in the United States from the University of Michigan Press. His website is