Aletho News


We want to live in dignity

Alhaqhr | March 23, 2013

Since 1967, the Israeli authorities have demolished approximately 25,000 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This includes demolitions to allow for the expansion of Israeli settlements and settlement farms, the construction of the Annexation Wall and settler-only roads, closed military zones, military training areas, nature reserves, and punitive demolitions that amount to collective punishment, which is considered a war crime under international law. Widespread destruction of property not justified by absolute military necessity also amounts to a war crime and entails the breach of a number of human rights provisions, including the right to adequate housing and family.

According to Al-Haq documentation, Israel demolished 368 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank in 2012, including 44 in East Jerusalem. Demolitions in the first month of 2013 increased by almost 30 per cent compared to the same period last year (from 34 in January 2012 to 44 in January 2013).

Countless Palestinian homes are demolished by the Israeli military under the spurious justification of lack of building permit. Given that such demolitions are neither carried out in the name of strict military necessity or for the benefit of the occupied population, they constitute a clear violation of international humanitarian law. In this regard, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination last year harshly criticised Israel’s “discriminatory planning policy” which rarely, if ever, grants construction permits to Palestinian communities.

There is no such restriction placed upon Israeli settlement construction across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. At least 6,676 new settlement housing units in the West Bank were approved for construction in 2012 by the Israeli authorities, who have already granted approval to hundreds more units this year.

This short video produced by Al-Haq’s Monitoring and Documentation Department gives voice to Muhammad Usamah Taha, whose workshop and house were demolished by the Israeli authorities without prior warning, destroying his only source of livelihood and many of his possessions. Unfortunately, Muhammad’s experience is one shared by thousands of Palestinian families across the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Comments Off on We want to live in dignity

Second NYPD officer testifies on stop-and-frisk quotas, racial targeting

RT | March 22, 2013

Following a leaked recording seeming to prove the existence of an NYPD arrest quota system, a second police officer has come forward to explain to a federal judge why he decided to record his superiors as they directed him to increase “stop-and-frisks.”

Officer Pedro Serrano, an 8-year veteran of the New York Police Department, held back tears as he explained to the judge why he came forward: “It’s very simple. I have children. I try to be a decent person.”

Serrano joins another whistleblower from the Bronx, Officer Adhyl Polanco, who testified earlier this week regarding his own recordings as part of a federal class action suit against the City of New York seeking to address racial disparities in the department’s street stops.

Meanwhile, a 2003 settlement from a similar lawsuit set in place a requirement for the NYPD to track the stops. The resulting records showed that some 87 per cent of the 5 million individuals detained by police were black or Latino.

Officer Serrano presented a recording from June 2010 in which a female lieutenant told officers she was “looking for five” – that is, requesting a specific quota for criminal summonses from officers in the precinct. Serrano recorded another instance only a month later, in which another lieutenant made a similar reference to a “five-five-five,” indicating a quota in place for arrests, patrols and summonses at public housing projects.

Serrano testified that his performance evaluation subsequently dropped in every category, evidently for failing to meet the quotas. During a meeting with his supervisor, Serrano was told that his performance score was based more on his “numbers” and his “low activity.” At the time, his precinct’s captain is said to have informed him that the NYPD’s Operations Order No. 52 allowed her to implement “performance goals,” likely a veiled reference to quotas.

Much of Serrano’s testimony supports accusations that officers who refused or failed to meet quotas were subjected to discriminatory treatment. Serrano points to the fact that he was transferred to an undesirable post, denied a day off following a car accident near his home, and the vandalization of his personal locker – which included the placement of “rat stickers.”

In its denial of the quota system and a racial profiling policy, the NYPD claims that the appearances of both stem from departmental reliance on the CompStat program, that being the heavy policing of high-crime neighborhoods – which are often predominantly minority communities.

Still, Serrano’s testimony did reveal direct evidence of racial targeting at least in his precinct. In one specific recording, a lieutenant urged officers to concentrate on a region in the south Bronx: “St. Mary’s Park: go crazy in there. Go crazy in there. I don’t care if everybody writes everything in there. That’s not a problem.”

Officer Serrano also provided recordings of an appeals meeting with Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormick, regarding his low numbers for writeups – which he was told would only have been “appropriate for Central Park.”

The same meeting became heated after McCormick indicated Serrano’s numbers demonstrated a lack of initiative, an issue he demanded be rectified by detaining “the right people at the right time.” “And who are the right people?” asks Serrano, to which McCormick replies “I don’t have any trouble telling you this: male blacks 14 to 20, 21.”

Serrano’s testimony was presented as part of Floyd v. City of New York, in which four plaintiffs claim they were racially profiled by the NYPD. Four police officers presented evidence for the prosecution.

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Second NYPD officer testifies on stop-and-frisk quotas, racial targeting


By Mazin Qumsiyeh | Popular Resistance | March 23, 2013


Sign: US leads terrorism (Raad Adayleh)

I am a Palestinian from the Bethlehem area but who also happens to hold a US passport.  The latter does not allow me to enter Jerusalem and the US government will not protect this or other rights I have (including family reunification). Meanwhile, any Jewish American can come and get automatic citizenship and live on stolen Palestinian land in our city. It is hard to describe the level of frustration that I had watching the theater of media frenzy (devoid of any real substance) about Obama’s visit.

Obama gave a new lifeline to war and conflict by avoiding human rights and international law.  It is the missing ingredient that for the past 65 years precluded peaceful resolution. It is the twisted logic that says the insecurity of the thief must be the only thing to be dealt with by ensuring the victims first recognize the legitimacy of the theft and the legitimacy of the need for the thief to first have full security and immunity from accountability for the theft before the victim is put in the room with the armed thief so that they can work out something (vague and without reference to International law). That formula has been shown to be a disaster and has kept Apartheid and colonization going.   Israel has no incentive to allow a Palestinian sovereign state let alone redress the injustice (e.g. refugees, theft of land and resources etc) as long as it continues to get an unconditional check from our tax monies and guaranteed vetoes by the US at the UN protecting it from International law.  This plus over $12 billion in profits from the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (captive market, natural resources etc.) ensures the occupation continues.  But the Israeli and American governments are thinking short term.  Long term, the changing reality (in the Arab world) and demographics in Palestine will ensure change. Obama alluded to this when he told the Israelis that no wall will be tall enough and no iron dome will be strong enough and that peace is imperative.  The problem is he failed to follow his own logic and press Israel to change and instead repeated the same failed logic that “bilateral” negotiations between a strong occupier/colonizer and a weak leadership of colonized/occupied people is the way to go.

Below are some of the things that happened during Obama’s short visit.  You be the judge of their value or relevance to bringing peace.

Palestinian and American security coordinate to clean streets of any thing that might allude to Palestinain rights (refugee signs, maps of historic Palestine etc).  They change all manholes in targeted areas spending millions for excessive “security” for the unwanted visitor to Bethlehem and Ramallah. Palestinian security preemptively arrest dozens and suppress peaceful demonstrations succeeding in isolating Obama from seeing Palestinian anger.

Massive traffic jams, and on the days of visits, an essential siege and curfew on Ramallah area (Thursday) near Al-Muqata and Bethlehem (Friday).  The preparations create significant damage to economy and livelihood of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Selected choreographed visits by Obama to Hertzl’s and Rabin’s tombs (the former who called for ethnic cleansing, the latter who executed it) but not to Yasser Arafat’s tomb.

American flags placed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) along the streets removed by Palestinian activists. PA security officials suppress demonstrations and prevent activists from getting near Obama. At a Ramallah demonstration, PA security dressed in civilian cloths attack demonstrators.

Obama calls on Palestinian officials­­ to resume bilateral negotiations that led to nowhere in the past 20 years, to accept Israel as a “Jewish state”, and not to seek implementation of International law via International bodies like the UN or the International Court of Justice.  Perhaps not coincidentally, the Palestinian mission in Geneva has put out mild drafts that do not take advantage of the strong  findings of the UN Human Rights Council (see item link below).

Obama brokers a deal by pressuring Turkey to accept a tepid Israeli statement of regret for the deaths of Turkish citizens with some compensation for families and restoring Turkish-Israeli strategic relations (presumably including military cooperation). Turkish demands for lifting the siege on Gaza are dropped.

Obama, like his predecessors, identified Hizballah, Syria, and Iran as a dark axis of evil while Israel as a perfect model of democracy and beauty.

Obama in his speeches adopts the Zionist myths that Apartheid Israel is redemptive and that it is the guarantee against another holocaust (it is actually the reverse). Obama fails to mention that this “great and technologically advanced country” is actually built on top of Palestine and by destroying 530 villages and towns and by looting property and patrimony of millions of Palestinians.

Obama will send John Kerry to try and restart the “Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.”

Obama defines what we Palestinians want (supposedly a vague “viable state”) even though for most of us, we want to return to our homes and lands and freedom from racism and apartheid.

Obama will give Jordan $200 million to help Syrian Refugees.

Obama reminds the Israelis that his administration developed unprecedented support to the apartheid state of Israel especially in the field of security.

Obama highlighted the Iron Dome system and praised it, but now documented data show that they are less than 30% effective as opposed to the government insistence that they had 90% success).

Obama claimed the West Bank is in good shape because of Abbas and Fayyad and compared to Gaza which he claimed is miserable under rejectionist Hamas.

What Obama and his large entourage fail to mention during this supposed “historic visit”: human rights, international law, the tenth anniversary of the murder of US Citizen Rachel Corrie, Palestinian rights and security, justice, land confiscation, apartheid laws, illegality of settlements, US opposition to Palestine joining the UN, applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention, how much taxpayer money is given to Israel, the siege on Gaza, the freedom of movement, the attack on US citizens’ rights by Israel….

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Comments Off on Obama

Boeing plans to cut up to 2,300 jobs

Press TV – March 23, 2013

The Boeing Company says it will cut up to 2,300 jobs by the end of 2013 in line with plans to mainly downsize the production line of its cutting-edge 787 Dreamliner jets.

According to a statement released by the Chicago-based company on Friday, the cuts will also target the production line of Boeing’s 747 aircraft.

The 787 Dreamliners have been grounded since mid-January due to a battery problem.

A Boeing representative said that out of those job cuts, about 800 workers will be laid off in the Boeing Commercial Airplanes division, with the rest of the cutbacks coming through attrition and redeployment.

The job cuts are aimed at improving corporate governance during a development phase of new airplanes, the company stated.

Analysts say it is too early to estimate the financial effect of the job cuts particularly in light of the 787 Dreamliner grounding, with worldwide orders for the jetliner pushing the company revenue to over $80 billion.

The planned job cuts at Boeing comes as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it was being forced to cut about 637 million dollars from its current budget and it would close air-traffic control towers at 149 airports across the United States due to Washington’s latest spending cuts.

Earlier in March, a report issued by the US Department of Labor showed that the unemployment rate was increasing in half of the US states, with employers adding the fewest jobs in seven months.

The nationwide unemployment rate increased in January to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December 2012, with the rate of job increases remaining far below what economists recommend to maintain healthy employment rates.

The US economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, casting doubt on the strength of economic recovery in the country.

Boeing crisis threatens US economy: Bill Jones

Press TV – January 18, 2013

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Video | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Boeing plans to cut up to 2,300 jobs

Obama’s Second Term: Selling Death and Buying Assassins In the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia

By James Petras :: 03.22.2013


As President Obama enters his second term with a new Cabinet, the foreign policy legacy of the past four years weighs heavily on their strategic decisions and their empire-building efforts. Central to the analysis of the next period is an evaluation of the past policies especially in regions where Washington expended its greatest financial and military resources, namely the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

We will proceed by examining the accomplishments and failures of the Obama-Clinton regime. We will then turn to the ongoing policy efforts to sustain the empire-building project. We will take account of the constraints and opportunities, which define the parameters resulting from imperial military ambitions, Israeli-Zionist influence in shaping policy and the ongoing anti-imperialist struggles. We will conclude by examining likely polices and outcomes resulting from current strategies.

The Clinton-Obama Imperial Legacy: The Accomplishments

The greatest success of the Obama-Clinton (OC) imperial legacy was the virtual elimination of organized domestic anti-war dissent, the demise of the peace movement and the co-optation of virtually the entire ‘progressive’ leadership in the US – while multiplying the number of proxy wars, overt and covert military operations and ‘defense’ spending. As a result, the entire political spectrum moved further to the right toward greater militarization abroad and increased police-state measures at home.

Facing mass revolts and the overthrow of long-standing client regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, the Obama-Clinton (OC) Administration moved rapidly to reconfigure new client regimes while preserving the state apparatus – the military, intelligence, police, judicial and civilian bureaucracy. The empire dumped incumbent regimes in order to save the repressive state, the key guarantor of US strategic interests. Washington reminded its client rulers that ‘There are no permanent alliances, there are only permanent imperial interests’. Washington successfully engineered a political pact between conservative Islamist leaders and parties and the old military elite. The new political blocs in Egypt upheld Israeli annexation of Palestine, the brutal blockade of Gaza and the neo-liberal economic order. Washington repeated the ‘reshuffle of clients’ in Yemen and Tunisia. The OC intervention temporarily aborted the pro-democracy, anti-Zionist and anti-corruption popular revolt. The OC policies secured a temporary respite, but the subsequent effort by Egypt to secure an IMF loan has led to a stalemate amid deteriorating economic conditions and rising political protest. The successful imposition of new client regimes amenable to US hegemony in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, in the face of popular revolts, marked the beginning of a series of favorable political-military outcomes in the region for the OC regime.

Facing Israeli annexation of ever-widening swaths of Palestinian land and the end of any pretense of ‘peace negotiations’, Washington continued to provide Israel with massive military assistance, modern weapons systems and unconditional political support in the UN. By submitting to Israel the OC regime succeeded in retaining the political support of the domestic Zionist power configuration (ZPC). The OC regime’s economic handouts supported the puppet Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as it policed the West Bank for Israel. Despite losing the vote to seat the Palestinians as a non-voting member in the UN, Washington succeeded in blocking full membership. The OC regime succeeded in fulfilling its role as Israel’s handmaiden, despite opposition from the vast majority of UN members.

The OC regime succeeded in tightening sanctions on Iran, by securing Russian, Chinese and Arab League support, without provoking a potentially destructive war. The US sanction policy toward Iran is largely designed and implemented by key Zionist appointees in the Treasury (formerly Stuart Levy, now David Cohen) and in Congress, by legislators bought and directed by the powerful America-Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The US, under Obama-Clinton, destroyed the independent nationalist Gadhafi government via a joint air war with the EU and tried to set up a client regime. In turn, Libya became a key recruiting ground for violent Islamist mercenaries invading Syria and weapons depot supplying Islamist terrorists. The OC regime’s military success in Libya was part of a general strategy to accelerate the expansion of US and European military operations in Africa. This includes setting up drone bases and promoting African mercenary armies from Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia to expand imperial control in Somalia, Mali and elsewhere.

In the Gulf region the US succeeded in propping up the autocratic Bahrain monarchy, as it killed and jailed opponents and outlawed the mass pro-democracy social movement among its oppressed Shi’a majority population. The OC regime successfully secured Gulf state financing for the Libyan and Syrian wars.

In Iraq, the US has succeeded in dividing the devastated nation into fragments of warring fiefdoms, Shi’a, Sunni, Kurd and subsets of each. It succeeded in destroying a once modern and secular society, an advanced economy and independent nationalist regime. Initially the OC regime hoped to establish a client outpost in Iraq from which to secure Washington’s wealthy petro-clients in the Gulf, especially among the patrimonial dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

Washington, in alliance with other NATO powers and its Gulf state clients, succeeded in converting a peaceful civilian protest movement in Syria into a full scale civil war and military invasion, increasingly dominated by armed Al Qaeda ‘internationalists’. The US-EU-Gulf State-Turkey-Israeli alliance has armed, financed, trained and advised Islamist and mercenary terrorists to effectively destroy the Syrian state, society and economy, dispossessing and uprooting a million refugees across the border and resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands. The US promoted invasion of Syria has seriously weakened one of the last governments defending the Palestinians, opposing Israeli colonization of the West Bank and providing a refuge for persecuted Palestinian leaders. By virtually destroying the Syrian state, the OC regime has driven a wedge between Hezbollah, the leading nationalist force in Lebanon and its ally Iran, while tightening the military encirclement of Teheran and exerting cross-border pressure against Iraq. A brutal Islamist regime in Syria will [could] replace the secular state with prospects of massive ethnic cleansing against minority populations, especially Christians and Allevis.

Obama and Clinton successfully expanded the drone assassination program throughout the Middle East and South Asia, killing more civilian non-combatants than suspected adversaries especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The OC regime successfully imposed the presidential doctrine of killing of US citizens via drones with the support or acquiescence of the US Congress, judiciary and most of the mass media and without a shred of judicial due process. Accompanying the license to assassinate civilians via drones, Obama/Clinton successfully expanded the use of Special Operations death squads, dispatching them to seventy countries to assassinate political adversaries, destabilize independent governments and bolster client regimes.

The OC regime has spent tens of billions of dollars and succeeded in building a 350,000 man mercenary army in Afghanistan to defend US strategic interests, sustain its military bases and destroy the nationalist-Islamic opposition (‘Taliban’). OC hoped to cover Washington’s retreat from the combat front. Despite the military build-up and in the face of a sharply deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan, the OC regime has been negotiating with political sectors of the ‘Taliban’, to dump the current client ruler, Karzai, and ‘reshuffle the regime to save the state’, hoping to pull-off a coalition-collaborator Islamist-military regime such as has been shoe-horned in place in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

Vulnerability and Failures of the Obama-Clinton Legacy

The apparent and real empire-building successes of the Obama-Clinton regime are fraught with vulnerabilities and are based on fragile political and socio-economic foundations. Temporary tactical gains reveal strategic weaknesses and high military costs without commensurate imperial economic gains.

The Obama-Clinton counter-revolutionary offensive and its political military successes are driven by a military conception of empire building without a shred of economic thinking. It is not surprising that many of the key decision-makers promoting military-driven empire building are militarist ideologues and Zionist policy-makers, who specialize in utterly destroying adversaries (of Israel) and not in promoting or protecting US imperial oil, manufacturing and service interests.

A telegraphic point-by-point analysis and critique of the major policy interventions of the Obama-Clinton regime highlights strategic weaknesses and failures, even in areas that the empire-builders currently celebrate as ‘successes’.

While the OC regime succeeded in procuring close to fifteen billion US tax payer dollars in tribute payments to Israel, they failed to secure a neo-colonial settlement of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, even one based on conceding a truncated part of the West Bank composed of disconnected enclaves (‘Bantustans’). As a result of the total dominance of US Middle East policy by the Zionist power configuration (representing less than 1% of the US populace), the OC regime was repeatedly ‘humiliated’ by their Israeli overlords. The supremely confident, beefy Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu launched and flaunted massive new exclusive Jews-only colonial settlements on Palestinian land, despite near universal condemnation, knowing he could count on the veto power of Washington in the United Nations and its political leverage over EU allies and Arab clients. Strategically, the OC regime’s deep links to the Zionist power configuration includes the appointment of Israel Firsters to top positions in the US foreign policy establishment. These appointments ensured that Israeli interests would continue to determine US policies in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region. The Zionist appointees designated which political clients would be acceptable and which adversaries would be targeted for destruction. The OC regime’s biggest failure as US empire-builders was their inability to achieve independence from the Zionist incubus and accommodate the emergence of new socio-political forces as well as its failure to reap economic gains commensurate with its budget-busting military expenditures.

The successful imposition of new client regimes in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen) is a short-term victory, based on force and the continuation of the authoritarian repressive state apparatus. The introduction of regressive neo-liberal policies will doom this short-term success. If the US ‘won’ the first round in the ‘Arab Spring’, its client rulers face a more radical social upheaval, one which goes beyond the earlier anti-dictatorial struggle and which explicitly targets the US, EU and the IMF. The new clients’ prospects of achieving stability via economic recovery are virtually non-existent. The full implementation of the OC-IMF agenda of ending popular food and fuel subsidies, increasing regressive taxation and wide spread privatizations will create a powder-key among the Arab masses. Under pressure from new waves of mass uprisings against brutal neo-liberal economic policies, the Arab clients’ US-mandated complicity with Israel may end.

The OC regime’s successful overthrow and assassination of President Gadhafi was accompanied by the utter destruction of the Libyan nationalist state, its economy and social fabric. The OC policy of total war has produced a miserable, lawless, chaotic society ‘headed’ by powerless expat neo-liberals at the top and run by local tribal chiefs, Islamist thugs and criminal gangs on the ground. They specialize in running guns, dispatching armed mercenaries abroad (especially to Syria), trafficking in migrant workers, drugs and sex slavery. The oil industry enclave has partially recovered but few if any oil profits make it to the US. Meanwhile, even US Embassy personnel (including the Ambassador) have been murdered and visiting US officials only travel in heavily armed conveys. Instead of a political victory, Washington has lost a potential oil partner for its own extractive industry. One might say the only real ‘beneficiary’ of the US-EU war to destroy Libya was Israel: Gadhafi had been a staunch ally and supporter of the Palestinian people. The invasion of Libya led to the massive displacement of armed ethnic communities, which has exacerbated conflicts in resource-rich sub-Sahara neo-colonies.

The Zionist power configuration, embedded in Congress, Treasury and inside the OC regime, has succeeded in imposing new and harsher economic sanctions on 75 million Iranians in support of Israel’s goal of ‘regime change’ in Teheran. However, the effect has been to strengthen the unity of the ethnically diverse Iranian population, especially when overt military threats, emanating from nuclear-armed Israel, are amplified by the White house and the Zionist-occupied US Congress.

Iran’s peaceful nuclear program continues; oil and gas sales to China, Japan, India and Korea and Pakistan continue. A new billion-dollar gas pipeline agreement with Pakistan has been signed. Iran has replaced the US as the major foreign influence in Iraq.

In other words the Obama-Clinton diplomatic success (‘sanctions against Iran’) have not enhanced US power nor achieved any strategic goals. Moreover Zionist-designed sanctions have had a negative effect on US energy prices and oil company profits. The OC regime’s policy toward Iran has ‘succeeded’ in maintaining Israel as the only nuclear power in the Middle East, a goal of Tel Aviv.

Obama and Clinton’s success in expanding outposts, missions, drone platforms and mercenary armies in Africa has been costly, politically destabilizing and has not prevented large-scale long-term Chinese economic penetration in the most lucrative resource sectors of the region. The US may have closer ties with African generals and dictators; its bankers come and go; but capital flight out of Africa accompanies inflows of US foreign aid. While the OC regime were building drone platforms, thousands of Chinese miners, investors, construction and transport companies were establishing an economic empire that over time will enhance China’s power, long after the US military empire has collapsed.

The OC regime claims ‘military victory’ in Iraq when, in fact, what we see is ‘defeat via retreat’ on the ground. The US has spent $2 trillion dollars in order to overthrow and execute the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The Bush and Obama-Clinton regimes have made absolute fools out of the entire executive branch of the US government by justifying the war on the basis of crudely manufactured intelligence (falsely claiming the existence of weapons of mass destruction) through a series of lies cooked up by Israeli-collaborators in the Pentagon, White House and New York Times (especially the infamous propagandist Judith Miller). The end result is a failed state: savage ethnic-religious divisions, millions of dead, displaced and injured, daily terror bombings against a brutalized population, and a great leap backward in terms of Iraq’s economic, scientific and social development. In political terms, Iraq is now ruled by a thuggish Shia elite closely tied to Iran – which is the biggest beneficiary of the US invasion of Iraq and principal adversary of US empire building. The OC regime’s post-war Iraq is composed of an overwhelmingly hostile population, a divided and fragmented country pitting Arabs against Kurds, where the most qualified and educated have been driven out or assassinated and entire ancient Christian communities have been obliterated. The OC regime claims to ‘success in Iraq’, in fact, show a weakening of the overall US presence in the Gulf region. Economically, Turkey has become Iraq’s main trading partner with trade growing by double and triple digits each year.

In other words, the US invasion of Iraq destroyed an adversary of Israel, broke the US economy ($2 trillion and counting), increased the influence of Iran and handed Iraq’s petro-dollar consumer market and lucrative reconstruction contracts over to Turkey. The Obama-Clinton regime’s claims of military victory ring hollow in the empty coffers of the US Treasury – where are the ‘spoils of this imperial war’? Most of the intellectual authors of the invasion of Iraq have departed from the US government and are now comfortably ensconced within Zionist think tanks (propaganda mills) in Washington or flaunt lucrative ‘consultant’ contracts in Wall Street and Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, the American taxpayers are left to struggle with an enormous war debt and to grieve the several hundred thousand American casualties – soldiers who lost their lives, limbs and minds – all for a blatant lie perpetrated at the behest of a foreign power, Israel.

The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria – serial victims of the US-EU military machines and their Islamist mercenaries – face an increasingly militarized Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, out of which new wars are already emerging, like pus from festering wounds. In Libya, the US and EU diplomats cringe in their bunkers and travel only in armed convoys, the consequences of their ‘humanitarian’ imperial-Islamist alliances.

As the US and EU supply arms to Islamist terrorists and murderous gangsters who plunder Syrian cities, decapitate captured government soldiers and execute civilian suspects (civilian government functionaries, such as school teachers), Syria’s diverse secular society is on the brink of extinction. Islamist fanatics bristling with advanced weaponry bought by the Saudi monarch and Gulf petro-oligarchs capture sophisticated Syrian cities and impose medieval Sharia law on what was one of the region’s most diverse and sophisticated secular societies. The large communities of Alawites, Orthodox and Syriac Christians, Kurds and educated secular Syrians face mass extermination or expulsion by Saudi-funded Wahhabi fanatics. The EU-US backed ‘secular’ clients (mostly ex-pat Syrians with US or UK passports) serve as propaganda cover for the armed Islamists thugs and mercenaries. Authoritarian Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, himself a ‘soft-core’ Islamist, provides bases, training, and logistical support for the Syrian invasion. Turkey has become the Islamist pivot for fundamentalist power taking over Syria and the Levant. Islamist terrorist violence is spilling over the border into Lebanon today, Jordan tomorrow and may eventually lead to multiple wars involving vulnerable Gulf clients.

Yes, the Obama-Clinton regime undermined an independent, secular, nationalist adversary in President Assad and by doing so they destroy an advocate of Palestinian self-determination, but the ultimate results will not favor US imperial military, economic or diplomatic interests. The OC regime’s wars have destroyed US commercial prospects for decades ahead; the victory of their mercenary Islamist ‘rebels’ is setting in motion a more virulent armed version of Al Qaeda with a territorial base and access to immense quantities of modern weapons in areas contiguous to US client regimes.

The OC regime claim to have discovered a low-cost (in terms of American blood) technique to project US military power: killing anti-imperial opponents by drone and Special Forces. According to the OC regime’s strategists the advantages of assassination by drone warfare is that it would not result in the death of US combat soldiers and the Special Forces, whose high-intensity, low visibility operations are ‘off-budget’ would not elicit any public or legislative scrutiny. But drones have become highly visible, even to the usually complacent and highly myopic US Congress and are routinely condemned even by client regimes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The United Nations has publically condemned drones as civilian casualties have far exceeded the number of so-called ‘terrorist’ targets. Most experts agree that drone assassinations have vastly increased the number of opponents and facilitated the recruitment of resistance fighters. Drone warfare has increasingly isolated client regimes like Yemen that permit US drone attacks against its citizens. The strategy of foreign policy by ‘drone and death squad’ has not replaced the need for ground troops in the task of empire building. Once US troops do withdraw, its mercenary armies have proved incapable or unwilling to obey US advisors, trainers or Special Forces.

The clearest expression of the failed strategy is the rising number of defections from Afghan security forces and the killing of NATO and US officers by Afghan soldiers and officers – even those with the highest security clearance. This infiltration into the highest ranks of the Afghan military and police points clearly to the near-future demise of the puppet Karzai regime. The various ministers in the Afghan client regime and their banker cronies know they have no chance of surviving a post-US withdrawal situation: they have multiple passports in hand and millions in stolen funds stashed in Gulf State bank accounts; their families are safely housed abroad; and their private planes are ready to take off at a moment’s notice. We may witness the panic scenes at the US Embassy, reminiscent of the last days in Saigon (Viet Nam), with local ‘small-fry’ collaborators clamoring to board the ‘last flights out’ before the advancing Taliban insurgents – if our jaded media even bother to cover the debacle. The current attempt by the US to strike a face-saving deal with the ‘political Taliban’ (under auspices of ‘our friends’, the Saudi autocrats) has infuriated our current puppet in Kabul, Hamid Karzai. As a result he is publically condemning Special Forces operations and their arbitrary killing and torture of villagers, as well as US drone attacks against Afghan civilians.

The OC regime’s overtures to the Taliban have so far failed because the sine quo non-condition of the Islamist nationalists is the total withdrawal of all US military and civilian occupation forces: in other words an unconditional collapse of US power in Afghanistan. The Taliban do not need to offer Obama a ‘face-saving’ formula allowing for a ‘residual’ US presence. As the withdrawal proceeds, more and more Afghan military officers will switch sides, dumping the losers and building bridges toward the new rulers. If the US decides to reverse course and retain ‘garrison bunkers’ in Afghanistan, they will face a continuing and deepening war of attrition under conditions of growing budgetary constraints and US electoral hostility.

Results and Perspectives: The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) Era

The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) regime has few imperial assets with which to confront the next four years of US empire building and has powerful constraints against devising strategic innovations or even tactical advances, capable of limiting US losses.

The most significant obstacle to any shift from costly and ineffective military-driven empire building to economic and diplomatic informed policies is the influence of the Zionist power configurations (ZPC) over the ‘troika’ (OKH) and the Congress. The new Israeli coalition regime is even more extreme and militarist, as indicated by the powerful presence of a radical settler-colonist party intent on violently annexing what remains of the Palestinian West Bank. The effective Israeli veto over US foreign policy in the Middle East is enforced by the Presidents of the Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations (representing over 50 powerful Zionist groups) that exclude any possibility that the Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime can even paste a tiny fig leaf ‘peace process’ onto Israel’s accelerating seizure of Palestinian land. The OKH regime, under war-mongering ZPC tutelage, will never attempt any reasonable negotiations with Iran.

The OKH regime is openly committed to entering a war on Israel’s behalf, if the Jewish state unilaterally decides to attack Teheran. Obama’s visit to Israel, and his obligatory ‘consultation’ with leading Jewish-Zionist leaders prior to the trip, was designed ‘to fix’ the White House agenda: US lock-step conformity with Netanyahu’s policy of provoking war against Iran and Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. The Zionists have even dictated Obama’s own body language toward Netanyahu: no public spats, only smiles and handshakes, the lapdog US President agreed. If anything, the OKH regime will be even more servile to Israeli demands over the next four years because the Zionist occupied US Congress has given Israel a ‘free hand’ in deciding US foreign policy in the Middle East, including the timing of war and the substance of negotiations.

Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are unconditional lifetime Zionists who can be expected to advance economic sanctions against Iran in hopes of strangling its economy and provoking a military confrontation.

Given Washington’s costly commitment to Israeli war plans and the constraints of US budget cuts, the new OKH regime will try to ‘coordinate’ policies with the other NATO powers, including sharing material resources and devising complementary strategies in counter-insurgency operations in sub-Sahara Africa, Islamist mercenary operations in Syria and managing ‘Muslim–neo-liberal’ regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Kerry’s visit to Europe was designed to strengthen inter-imperial efforts and especially to bolster French ‘Socialist’ President Hollande’s imperial war policies in Mali and Niger and the ‘Franco-Saudi’ efforts against Syria.

Under pressures from the puppet Syrian mercenary army invading Syria, British Prime Minister Cameron and French President Hollande, the OKH regime will step-up the flow of US arms in an attempt to forestall the advance of the Wahhabi Islamist terrorists who have effectively taken over regions of Syria with backing from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf petro-dictatorships. The great fear in Washington is that its modern weapons will not just contribute to overthrowing the secular nationalist Assad regime but will put in power a new Al Qaeda-type regime on the borders of the most vulnerable client rulers in Jordan and Lebanon. An Islamist fundamentalist Syria could serve as a ‘headquarters’ and trampoline for cross border attacks on US bases throughout the region. Israel will finally annex the strategic Syrian ‘Golan Heights’, which it has occupied since 1967, on the pretext of protecting itself from the Islamists it worked hard to put in power. The Kurds will try to seize regions of Northern Syria as part of ‘Greater Kurdistan’, to Ankara’s consternation. Turkey will traffic its ‘gentler’ version of ‘Islamist nationalism’. Washington, London and Paris will be unable to enthrone their London-based ex-pat clients in Damascus … The OKH regime may have ousted the secular, nationalist President Assad but it will certainly reap the whirlwind of long-term bloody strife pitting regional powers, rival clients and Al Qaeda terrorists all intent on pillaging the war-ravaged Syria.

Faced with its dubious prospects in Syria, unable to secure a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan and impotent to regain influence over Shi’a Iraq, the new OKH regime will make an effort to bolster the military-Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia by co-opting sectors of the liberal secular opposition. This won’t be an easy task given the growing socio-political polarization. Washington’s prospects for consolidating a new set of client regimes will be severely tested by its support for brutal IMF demands on Morsi to eliminate popular food and fuel subsidies – a policy guaranteed to provoke large-scale rioting among impoverished Egyptians and even the threat of a mass national uprising, uniting secular leftists and poor Muslims. The key concern in Washington is that the ouster of its Islamist client Morsi might jeopardize Egypt’s subservient deal with Israel to enforce the economic blockade of millions of Palestinians in Gaza and to accept the Jewish State’s seizure of more Palestinian land in the West Bank.

So far the OKH regime has relied on the combined repressive power of the intact Mubarak military, police and intelligence services to prop-up its client Morsi. But in a pinch, if he falls, the US may try to reshuffle the deck and seek a new set of ‘liberal’ political clients or impose an outright military dictatorship on the Egyptians.

In Obama’s never-ending pursuit on behalf of Israeli interests, his new Secretary of State John Kerry made a point of directly attacking Prime Minister Erdogan for equating Zionism with fascism as soon as he landed in Turkey. While his ham-fisted tirade made little headway in achieving a Turkish-Israeli reconciliation, Obama convinced Erdogan to accept a pro-forma apology from Netanyahu. Erdogan now has to face the political reality that 90% of the Turkish people clearly oppose Israel’s savage repression of the Palestinians. In the meantime, Turkish capital has been the main beneficiary of the US military-imposed ‘partition’ of Iraq. Turkish traders and oil speculators dominate the market in Iraqi ‘Kurdistan’. The US may have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars in the invasion but the Turks have made many billions in profits from a war they did not support and immensely increased Turkey’s regional influence. The OKH regime can do nothing about Turkey, an opponent of Washington’s Iraq invasion, reaping huge profits from that $2 trillion-plus investment of US treasure and blood. The OKH regime may have secured Erdogan’s support for the violent overthrow of the Assad regime in Syria … but it will be for Turkey’s own hegemonic interests. Erdogan’s interest in overthrowing the secular-nationalist Assad is based on his plans to establish a compliant client Islamist regime in Damascus and market to be dominated by Turkish business leaders and policy makers. Erdogan has taken a page from the Israeli playbook of manipulating the US military machine for its own regional interests and profit.

Washington will continue to rely on Saudi and Qatari financing of mercenary armies and Islamist terrorists to destabilize and invade anti-imperialist regimes but with the caveat that the battle-hardened mercenaries are also fanatics – profoundly hostile to the US and the EU.

Qatar’s billions of petro-dollars are like a venereal disease, ‘here, there and everywhere’, infecting a region through the funding and arming of Islamist terrorists in tandem with NATO missiles and bombs to destroy Gaddafi’s nationalist welfare state in Libya, savaging the independent secular government in Syria and providing billions of dollars to prop up the puppet Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia (Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p.7). Qatar’s autocratic monarchy enriches its extended royal family and the foreign imperial protectors – namely the US and UK, in exchange for buying and distributing weapons to Islamist mercenaries attacking independent nationalist regimes.

The OKH regime will retain the presence of its naval armada in the Gulf and its training missions and military bases in order to prop-up the decadent Gulf petro-monarcho-dictatorships. However, the entire Gulf-US complex could become the scene of a grisly military conflagaration if the extremist Israeli regime decides to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran and provoke a generalized regional war. As it stands, the stability of the entire US-Gulf oil alliance rests on the whims of a ‘third party’ (Israel) and its Fifth Column embedded in the US Congress and Executive branch.


Obama’s second term depends on a precarious set of alliances, conditioned by the decisions of a fanatical ultra- militarist foreign power (Israel) and subject to a rising tide of mass pro-democracy movements in an arc extending from Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen over to Pakistan. Moreover, many of the crucial outcomes are beyond the control of the US White House. The OKH regime does not control the mass movements in North Africa and the mercenary Islamists currently taking over Syria are sworn enemies of both Washington and Damascus. Washington may retain, within a shrinking budget and in concert with the EU, the power to brutally destroy independent regimes. However, in the process they rip the very fabric of complex societies and shatter their economies, thus undermining their own capacity to reap the economic spoils of imperial conquest. Indeed the main ‘booty’ extracted from Washington’s imperial wars has derived from the US Treasury, as rapacious contractors, corrupt politicians and US military officials pillage billions of US taxpayer dollars in ‘aid and reconstruction programs’ for themselves.

A 2011 report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that defense contractors had wasted or lost to fraud as much as $60 billion dollars – or $12 million a day since 2001 (Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p. 4). The biggest military contractor ($39.5 billion dollars) is Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton – formerly run by George W. Bush’s Vice President Richard Cheney. Cheney was a co-architect of the Iraq war along with the Pentagon Zionists Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Corrupt war profiteers and Zionist Fifth Columnists (for Israel) teamed up to pillage the US Treasury for self-enrichment and to destroy Iraq, a key ally of Palestinian liberation and consolidate what Obama hails as Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East.

The legacy of the Bush regime and Obama’s first term is one of pyrrhic military victories: an Iraq shredded by sectarian wars and the reversal of half a century of socio-economic, educational and scientific progress under a secular nationalist government. The OKH regime cannot undo the growing ties between Iraq and Iran. Nor can they reverse the growing commercial, gas and energy ties between Iran and Pakistan. The US has secured greater Israeli military links with NATO and the European Union, but a growing popular European and North American boycott against Israeli goods and investments is taking its toll on the Jewish state. The Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime shows no sign of making even a partial break with the costly policy of ‘military driven imperialism’ in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, it lacks economic resources to prop up its new clients in North Africa. While they scurry to fund the current brutal war against Syria, they will have to prepare for new wars against Lebanon and Iran. The OKH regime will have to rely on low-cost, high-risk, mercenary warfare in Syria. It will try to carve out defense perimeters around its political and petroleum enclaves in Libya. It will have to concede even greater economic and Islamist ideological influence to Turkey. Above all, it will need to appease the Jewish State’s annexation of the West Bank, under pressure from the ZPC!

The old RCA Victor Company marketed its Victorolas, ancient phonograph players with huge horn-like amplifiers, with the image of an attentive dog sitting before the machine in eager anticipation of ‘his master’s voice’. The recent trip by Obama to Israel evokes such an image. Obama’s speech to Jewish students in Jerusalem included such ecstatic praise of everything Israeli or Jewish that he exceeded any propagandistic AIPAC press release, surpassed any fabrication by Netanyahu and embellished (almost to the point of caricature) every racist myth of Jewish superiority. He lauded Israel as a ‘land of peace and democracy’ in the face of 45 years of brutal military rule and expropriation of 60% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He spoke of ‘negotiations without conditions’, a euphemism for giving Israel the green light to annex what remains of Palestinian land in the West Bank. He praised Israel’s creativity and courage in founding the Jewish State, ignoring the violent ethnic cleansing and expulsion of over 850,000 Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians. He spoke of Israeli technological genius, forgetting that Israel’s main exports are weapons of massive destruction. No US leader, past or present (or any other imperial ruler), has so faithfully echoed and embellished the lies of such a bloody colonial power and its US-based Fifth Column with greater fervor than Obama’s degrading effort to satisfy his Zionist handlers in Washington. His performance far exceeded their highest expectations of US servility. In style and substance he fulfilled and over-fulfilled their demands for unconditional US subordination to the Jewish state. In fact, one might suspect that in doing so he set a new standard for the boot-licking belly crawl so familiar to observers of US Congressional servants to Israel. Needless to say, the entire Zionist propaganda apparatus from neo-cons to liberals were ecstatic. Here was a Shabbat goy out-Zionizing the most fanatical Zionist.

The day Obama spoke in Jerusalem will be remembered as a day of shame for all Americans who believe in freedom and dignity and peace with social justice. To listen to the President of the United States grovel before a racist colonial power is degrading. It was also a day of anger for the five billion people of the world who have broken their chains of colonial racist oppression. Obama has made his choice: His administration will have to live with this for the next four years.

The OKH regime’s attempt to penetrate Africa via military missions and the promotion of Pan-African mercenary forces will require an accommodation of France’s rising imperial militarism. It will have to acknowledge China’s increasing economic supremacy in Africa’s extractive sectors, infrastructure and trade. The OKH regime’s ‘pivot to Asia’ involving trans-Pacific free trade agreements excluding China, military bases encircling Beijing and encouraging Japan’s provocation over disputed territory has had no impact on China’s economic growth and burgeoning trade relations. China’s trade with Asia now surpasses its trade with the US. The two way flow of investments into and out of China trump all the OKH regime’s offshore war mongering. The OKH regime’s Asian ‘pivot’ has failed to produce any imperial economic rewards for Washington’s coffers. However, it has incited greater military tensions between Japan and China and between North and South Korea. This is occurring at a time when the Pentagon faces major budget cuts and US Treasury Secretary Lew is trying to drum up greater trade with China.

In sum, the past military commitments, the links to Israel, the legacies of political failures in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fragility of new client rulers mean that the OKH regime will play an increasingly marginal economic role in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The Obama-Kerry-Hagel troika will do their best to salvage the US military bases and political influence among autocratic petro-states in the Gulf.

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Peace Fraud: Obama Fails to Demand Halt to Illegal Settlements

By Stuart Littlewood | Palestine Chronicle | March 22, 2013

Miko Peled doesn’t mince words: “The Israeli-Palestinian issue is, politically, a toxic wasteland that no US president in his right mind would want to clean up. It has become a vicious cycle of deceit and double standards, and it will contaminate any US politician who tries to clean it up.”

And one after another, they run away from the challenge.

And so it has been with Obama. This week the world’s greatest peace fraud came to the Holy Land and funked it. Frankly, if that’s the best he can do after four years in the job he has no business calling himself a world leader.

But I don’t necessarily agree with Peled’s remark. Any US president who fails to drain the stinking swamp in his backyard – i.e. the AIPAC breeding ground – deserves to be consigned to the wastepaper basket of history as a political pansy.

The president who ruthlessly cleans up, however, would be revered big-time.

Take the Hagel confirmation fiasco. Here in the UK we watched with bewilderment and disbelief. Of course, it’s easy to criticize from this distance, but remember that we too have a Zio-infestation at the heart of government.

At the hearing Hagel appeared flat-footed and unprepared for obvious questions. Even if it was expedient to play the Zionist lackey he needn’t have come across quite so wimpish. The public don’t necessarily understand such chicanery. Even if they did, the spectacle of belly-crawling is disgusting. Who could blame them for wondering what sort of impression Hagel was likely to create in the diplomatic drawing rooms of the world?

A more robust plan would have sent in a stalking-horse, specially trained by George Galloway (and suitably compensated) to swat the Inquisitorial bar-flies for the threat to US interests that they are. This sacrificial candidate’s fate would be crucifixion and rejection, but the process would have electrified the media, American voters and world audiences… and inflicted serious damage on the Zio-lobby’s hirelings. With their fangs drawn and venom spent, Obama could then have put forward his ‘real’ candidate with dignity.

As it was, the lack of steel is now indelibly etched on everyone’s memory in the US and abroad.

Miko Peled is a remarkable Israeli Jew, the son of an Israeli general and himself a former soldier in the Israeli army. He calls the IDF “one of the best trained and best equipped and best fed terrorist organization in the world”. In this fascinating talk he explains: “The name of the game: erasing Palestine, getting rid of the people and de-Arabizing the country…  When people talk about the possibility of Israel somehow giving up the West Bank for a Palestinian state, if it wasn’t so sad it would be funny. It shows a complete misunderstanding of the objective of Zionism and the Zionist state.”

You couldn’t find a more authentic insider source. He confirms what many have known and been saying for years.

And in this excellent Crosstalk program, ‘Obama’s Israel Trip’, Norman Finkelstein and Mouin Rabbani strip away the arrant nonsense politicians use to conceal the truth of what’s happening in the Holy Land . Answering the question “Why is Obama going to the Middle East now and what does he want to achieve?”, here are some of their comments…

Rabbani begins by saying the peace process is not on the agenda. The Israeli government, post-election, is too new to have any serious discussion. In the past the Palestinian leadership has favored talks simply as a distraction from the awful situation on the ground. But now things are so dire that renewed talks might pose more of a threat that an opportunity to the leadership.

Finkelstein maintains there is no reason why Obama would wish to talk about a peace process that interferes with “the serious work” of annexing the West Bank. In any case the Palestinian people have been “pacified” and the Palestinian Authority can’t do anything without US permission.

There never was a peace process, he says, it has always been an annexation process and right now there are no restraints, no inhibitions on Israel’s pursuit of this.

“Internationalize” the Palestine Question

Finkelstein points to the shift in public opinion against Israel in recent years. But two inhibiting factors remain – (1) the US government and its vetoes at the UN, and (2) the Palestinians themselves, who are in no frame of mind to organize mass disobedience and resistance, which in Finkelstein’s view is “the only thing that can possibly force Israel to withdraw”. It is up to the Palestinians, he suggests, to mobilize these forces and to trigger the worldwide support movements. A combination of mass resistance by the Palestinian people in concert with support from the United Nations, the international community and public opinion, is the only likely solution. It would isolate the US and force an Israeli withdrawal.  This prospect becomes more real as Israel’s credibility dwindles.

Finkelstein is of the opinion that the sham peace process – “political theatre” as he calls it – has poisoned and confused the minds of normally intelligent people.

Rabbani feels that the Palestinian leadership should disengage from the meaningless diplomacy sponsored by the US and move towards an “internationalization” of the question and solve it on the basis of international consensus.

The video ought to be compulsory viewing for those who still harp on about restarting ‘peace talks’.

On the ground the Palestinians’ President Abbas was reported to have signaled a willingness to return to peace talks if Israel agreed to an “unannounced ” (i.e. secret) settlement freeze during the period of negotiations. At the same time the democratically elected prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, who perversely is not invited to meet Obama because he’s the wrong flavor (Hamas), declared: “We believe American policies perpetuate the Israeli occupation and settlements in Palestine under a slogan of peace.”

Another Hamas spokesman, Dr. Sami Zuhri, said that Obama’s renewed commitment to Israel’s security while ignoring the Palestinians’ sufferings affirmed his country’s blind support for Israel. This exposed as nonsense any idea that America could play a positive role in the region. He urged an end to security co-ordination between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Israeli occupation.

Respected Palestinian writer Khalid Amayreh remarked that Obama was expected to cajole the weak and pliant Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas to give “peace” another chance by returning to futile negotiations with Israel while the latter continued to steal more Palestinian land and build more Jewish colonies for fanatical Jewish settlers.

What Actually Happened When Obama Arrived?

As soon as he touched down, Obama was gushing. “Why does the United States stand so strongly, so firmly with the State of Israel?” he asked. “The answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story — patriots determined to be a free people in our land, pioneers who forged a nation.”

Somehow, I doubt if ordinary Americans would wish to be compared to the invading Zionist thugs who drove the Palestinians off their lands, bulldozed their homes and cruelly imprisoned those that have remained in the shredded remnants of their territory for the last 65 years – and did it with $billions squeezed from taxpaying Americans.

According to Ma’an News earlier today, Obama did finally say something about Israel’s settlements. “One of the challenges has been continued settlement activity in the West Bank area, and I’ve been clear with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli leadership that it has been United States policy not just in my administration but all preceding administrations that we do not consider continued settlement activity to be constructive, to be appropriate, to be something that can advance the cause of peace. So I don’t think there’s been any confusion about what our position is.”

Settlements are illegal, nothing less, and Obama needs to remind Netanyahu (and himself) of that fact. There remains considerable confusion over the US position especially since Reuters reported that Obama stopped short of calling for a halt to settlement expansion and offered no new ideas on how to get the two sides negotiating again. “If the expectation is we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there’s no point in the negotiations,” he said.

No point at all, Mr. Obama. Most of it was settled long ago by international law and a raft of UN resolutions. Upholding those rulings is, of course, a precondition to any negotiation.

Why insist on more ‘negotiations without preconditions’ unless it’s to buy Israel time to complete its illegal annexation?

– Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, can now be read on the internet by visiting

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Comments Off on Peace Fraud: Obama Fails to Demand Halt to Illegal Settlements

Opposition Intensifies Campaign against Venezuelan Electoral System

By Ewan Robertson | Venezuelanalysis | March 22, 2012

Mérida  – Police, pro-government and opposition students clashed on the streets of Caracas yesterday amid a growing opposition campaign against Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE).

The CNE is currently preparing for the April 14 presidential election, following the death of late President Hugo Chavez on  March 5. Polls suggest that the candidate representing the Bolivarian revolution, Nicolas Maduro, is set to win the election handily against opposition rival Henrique Capriles.

In recent days opposition media and politicians have stepped up a campaign of criticism against the CNE and its president, Tibisay Lucena, alleging that the upcoming election will not be held under “fair” conditions.

Yesterday, opposition students presented CNE officials with a list of demands for a “transparent and fair” election. These included scrapping Venezuela’s automated SAE voting system, eliminating the use of fingerprints in the voting process, and ending the involvement of civilian militias in the election-day public security operation.

According to pro-government newspaper Ciudad CCS, the students were prevented by national police from reaching the CNE’s headquarters due to their violent behaviour. Meanwhile, pro-government students held a counter-protest on the other side of police lines.

The paper reports that opposition students threw stones and flammable devices, before trying a “charge” through police lines, which was contained. According to Venezuelan media, four protestors were injured.

However, conflicting versions have emerged of the day, with private media reporting that the opposition students were “ambushed” by the pro-government demonstrators, with police then intervening to keep the two groups apart.

Also yesterday, representatives of Henrique Capriles’ campaign met with CNE officials to discuss thirteen proposals the opposition argues are necessary for a “fair” presidential election. Four of these proposals were accepted by the CNE.

Opposition spokesperson, Carlos Vecchio, said that the deal was “not enough” for the presidential election to be “fair and transparent”. The CNE has since agreed to further study the remaining proposals.

The criticisms of the CNE build upon previous declarations by opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who accused the CNE’s president, Tibisay Lucena, of being favourable to the government.  “We’re not being herded anywhere,” he warned her in relation to CNE rules on presidential candidate registrations.

Further, on Tuesday conservative daily El Nacional published a stinging editorial on Lucena titled “Lady Liar”, in which the CNE head was branded as “foolish” and “absent minded,” while public attention was drawn to her state of health.

The editorial, written by far-right journalist Miguel Henrique Otero, also called the CNE “a team chosen and armed by power [the government] to ambush the voter at every bend in the road”.

The opposition’s discourse toward the CNE in recent weeks is similar to comments made last Friday  by the US’s Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, who said that it would be “a little difficult” for “open, fair, and transparent elections” to be held on April 14.

The comments from the opposition, in particular El Nacional’s editorial, have generated anger and condemnation by pro-government and more moderate circles of opinion.

Top CNE official Vicente Diaz, considered to be favourable to the opposition, called El Nacional’s editorial “deplorable and inconsiderate”.

During the presidential election last October the CNE received glowing praise from international electoral observation groups.

Former US president Jimmy Carter, head of the Carter Centre NGO, commented at the time, “Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”.

He also praised Venezuela’s automated SAE voting system, which utilises manual and electronic security checks to prevent fraudulent voting.

Meanwhile, the electoral observation mission from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) strongly endorsed Venezuela’s electoral system after the  October 7 vote.

“Venezuela has given an exemplary demonstration of what the functioning of democracy is and has taught a lesson to the world, and this is important,” said the mission’s head, Argentine Carlos Alvarez.

Regarding the opposition’s recent criticisms of the CNE and Venezuela’s electoral system, pro-government media expert Oscar Lloreda claimed that this formed part of the opposition’s strategy due to the unlikelihood of them winning on April 14.

Speaking on Latin American news channel Telesur, he argued, “They [the opposition] are calling on people to vote, but on the other hand they’re creating the conditions to not recognise the results in the case of a defeat”.

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | Comments Off on Opposition Intensifies Campaign against Venezuelan Electoral System

Hezbollah: Obama Stances Prove Correctness of Resistance Path

Al-Manar | March 22, 2013

Hezbollah condemned on Friday the stances announced by US President Brarack Obama during his visit to the Zionist entity, stressing that this position proves the rightfulness of the resistance path.

“Obama’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territories… assures the continuous and full American commitment to support the Zionist entity and its offensive and criminal policies, especially regarding the right of Palestine, its people and the people of the region,” Hezbollah said in a statement released by it Media Relations office.

“It was clear, according to Obama’s remarks, that the US President doesn’t respect the Islamic and the Arab governments, as he turns away from the simplest and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

“He (Obama) also goes further in voicing full commitment to the Zionist project in the Palestine, through imposing conditions on Arabs to accept the enemy’s entity as a pure Jewish state in the region”, the statement added.

Hezbollah slammed the US President, saying he “speaks like an employee of the Zionist entity (Israel) and not the highest-ranking official in the administration of the independent state that is the United States.

“And the speech of Obama would not be consummated except if the US leader attacks the resistance through urging the world to brand Hezbollah a terrorist organization”.

The party said it was not surprised by Obama’s speech “which have gotten to be repetition to the choir of the hostile and boring stances of the US”.

However, Hezbollah denounced the US stances “which are adopting the Zionist projects, something that makes Washington an accomplice in the crimes committed by the Israeli enemy.”

“All these stances assure again that betting on negotiations and compromises is fruitless, therefore the rightfulness of the resistance choice becomes deep-rooted,” the statement concluded.

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hezbollah: Obama Stances Prove Correctness of Resistance Path

World Bank Must End Support for Honduran Palm Oil Company Implicated in Murder

Upside Down World | March 22, 2013

On March 19 several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) condemned a statement by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, IFC [1] which defends the record of a Honduran palm oil company, Grupo Dinant, implicated in dozens of murders as well as other human rights abuses. The IFC statement explicitly admits to supporting training for the company’s armed security guards.

The NGOs are : Friends of the Earth International, Global Forest Coalition, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Urgewald, Rights Action, Rettet den Regenwald/Rainforest Rescue, Global Justice Ecology Project, and Biofuelwatch.

A World Bank Ombudsman [2] is currently investigating an IFC loan of $30 million for Grupo Dinant which was approved in 2009, at least half of which has already been disbursed.

This month, an Open Letter by 17 NGOs [3] and an international petition signed by over 63,000 people [4] have protested the loan and called on the World Bank to immediately cease their support for Grupo Dinant.

Since 2009, international human rights bodies have documented dozens of murders of peasant activists and their supporters in connection with land conflicts involving Grupo Dinant, the company’s armed security guards and Honduran military and police.

The evidence includes a fact-finding mission report by international human rights organisations in March 2011, a hearing before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in October 2011, an international public hearing on human rights in the region in May 2012 [5] and a report about human rights abuses attributed to military forces in the region by Rights Action, published this month [6].

The recent Rights Action report confirms that at least 88 members and supporters of peasant movements have been murdered in targeted killings in the Bajo Aguan Valley over the past three years. It documents the direct involvement of Grupo Dinant’s armed security forces in the violence against peasant movements. Contrary to the World Bank’s claims that the violence ended in 2012, two peasant activists were found tortured and murdered in February 2013. [7]

Annie Bird from Rights Action says: “It is a serious indictment of World Bank’s role in Honduras’s land conflicts that their International Finance Corporation admits to directly engaging with the training of Grupo Dinant’s paramilitary ‘security guards’. It is not clear whether this engagement is a response to concerns over human rights abuses but retraining paramilitaries implicated in killings is never an acceptable response. The World Bank must cease such engagement and stop supporting Grupo Dinant at once.”

Almuth Ernsting from Global Forest Coalition and Biofuelwatch adds: “The World Bank’s claims that killings are being investigated by Honduran courts with full cooperation from Grupo Dinant contradict the findings of human rights missions which show a state of total impunity surrounding those murders. Such a state of impunity has been confirmed by the UN Working Group on Mercenaries. Not only must the World Bank cancel its loan but there needs to be a full investigation into their role in human rights abuses in Honduras.”

In 2011, the German development bank, DEG, cancelled a loan for Grupo Dinant due to the company’s involvement in serious human rights abuses.Yet the World Bank continues to back the company and dismiss all independent evidence, as their recent statement shows.

Jeff Conant from Friends of the Earth US adds: “The World Bank’s statement on Bajo Aguan reveals the extent of their complicity with a palm oil company implicated in some of the most serious human rights abuses in Central America today. Years after a damning audit of their palm oil funding and a supposed overhaul of their policies, the World Bank is legitimising the use of armed paramilitaries in land conflicts against peasants who are trying to reclaim their own land, dismissing a vast volume of evidence from independent fact finding missions.”

The NGOs demand cancellation of the World Bank’s loan to Grupo Dinant and an immediate full and independent investigation into the World Bank’s involvement with Grupo Dinant, which must go beyond the remit of the current Ombudsman investigation.



[2] A complaint submitted by Rights Action is currently being investigated by the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO). The CAO is an independent agency which investigates complaints filed by communities affected by project funded by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).





[7] See

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on World Bank Must End Support for Honduran Palm Oil Company Implicated in Murder