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On Those Middle East Peace Talks

By PAUL LARUDEE | August 6, 2013

The moment Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to send emissaries to Washington to discuss the resumption of 20-year-old peace talks, the objective of the talks was achieved. To anyone not in a coma, it is clear that these talks will not lead to peace, and in fact might not even lead to peace talks, merely to talks about resuming talks.

What, then, is the objective of the talks?

Of course, both parties have particular motives for participating, which have been discussed at length by many pundits on the subject. In the case of John Kerry and the Obama administration, it is to do the impossible – to bring the parties together to the table. It is a sign of the bankruptcy of the effort that after twenty years this is considered a major achievement.

For Mahmoud Abbas, it is the chance to appear to be at once Salaheddine, the defender of Jerusalem for Palestinians and the Arab world, and the “good” and “reasonable” Palestinian to the West. He recognizes the skepticism of both of his audiences, but what choice does he have? His other choice is to be sidelined and irrelevant and to potentially lose his most positive role as distributor of largesse from the U.S. and Europe if his funds are cut off as a result of his failure to follow the US order to participate in the talks.

For Netanyahu, the talks are an opportunity to appear less intransigent while remaining just as intransigent as ever. This means making some potential gains in public opinion in the West and at home just by showing up, while not losing his hardcore constituency at home. In fact, he can show the most skeptical fascists in his administration that he already wiped away all the (admittedly few) agreements concluded by previous Israeli administrations in the last twenty years, thereby returning the talks to square one. This was achieved by Kerry agreeing that “everything is on the table” while promising Abbas that the talks would begin where they last left off, the equivalent of putting a square peg in a round hole when both are made of porcelain.

However, the real purpose of the talks is inherent in their hopelessness: to once again stage the ritual passion play, with Abbas representing Palestinians in the role of Satan, and to make sure he knows his lines. The U.S. receives praise for offering the play; Israel gets praised as the hero; and the audience unites around their contempt for the Palestinian villains. This is what is known as the peace process, and it must be repeated periodically in order to assure the tradition.

None of this is new. It has been part of Middle East history since long before the 1993 start of the “peace process”. In fact, the U.S. can draw on its history of broken treaties with Indian nations in North America, all of whom were blamed for their own demise. Abbas is the equivalent of Indian trustees selected by U.S. authorities to distribute beans and rotten meat on which the remainder of the tribe survived. Don’t blame him; he doesn’t want to deprive them of their only sustenance.

Therein lies the dilemma for Palestinians: to rid themselves of the Palestinian Authority (if they can) or to accept their gradual ethnic cleansing as inevitable and to make the best of it in the meantime.

Will the world come to their rescue? International solidarity is growing, but it does not appear to have significantly slowed the Palestinian demise, and most governments in the world, including Arab governments, are worse than useless, not to say collaborationist or driving the process.

The talks have therefore already achieved their objective: to assure that Palestinians will once again be blamed for their failure and that they will be responsible for the next horror that Israel visits upon them. The rest is opera.

Paul Larudee is a writer and human rights advocate, and one of the co-founders of the movement to break the siege of Gaza by sea.


August 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on On Those Middle East Peace Talks

Lebanese ‘tortured by Mossad agents in Nigeria’

Press TV – August 6, 2013

Two Lebanese nationals, who are on trial in Nigeria, have told a court that they were subjected to torture by Israeli Mossad agents after being arrested.

Mustapha Fawaz and Abdallah Thahini together with another Lebanese national Talal Ahmad Roda were arrested in May after an arms cache was discovered in a residence in the Nigerian city of Kano.

The three Lebanese men reportedly own a supermarket and an amusement park in Abuja, which have been closed since their arrests.

Fawaz told the court on Monday that after he was arrested in Abuja, a security official told him that some “European friends” wanted to ask him some questions.

“I was taken to an interrogation room where I met three Israeli Mossad agents,” he said.

Fawaz also said the interrogators handcuffed his hands behind his back for days, noting he “lost count because they did not allow me to sleep for several days.”

He went on saying, “During the 14 days of interrogation, I was interrogated by six Israeli Mossad agents and one masked white man.”

“I was interrogated in Arabic. I asked to be interrogated in English, but they refused. Most of them are weak in English. They are not Europeans, but Israelis,” he also said, adding no Nigerian official was present during the interrogations.

Thahini gave similar account to the court, saying he collapsed five days after the interrogators did not allow him to sleep.

August 6, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UK played a key role in US decision to nuke Japan during World War II


Nagakaki before and after being nuked by the US
Press TV – August 6, 2013

Britain supported the vicious US nuclear attacks against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War, newly released top secret documents show.

The US government documents, declassified by the National Archives and Records Administration after almost 70 years, show London was involved in Washington’s decision to carry out the nuclear attacks as a close ally.

London’s support was officially expressed to US officials one month before the first and only nuclear attacks on a real target killed an estimated 250,000 civilians on August 6 and 9, 1945.

The go-ahead was given in a meeting of the Combined Policy Committee of the US and the UK in Washington on July 4, 1945 in which British officials referred to the nukes as Tube Alloys, a codename they used for their research on nukes and plutonium at the time.

British Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson told the meeting chaired by U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson that the British government “concurred in the use of the T.A. weapon against Japan”, Kyodo News Agency reported.

“The Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States had agreed that T.A. weapons should be used by the United States against Japan, the agreement of the British Government having been communicated” by Wilson, the documents said.

According to the documents, the initial agreement for the use of nukes against Japan when they are developed was made back in September 1944 in a meeting of the then US President Franklin Roosevelt and the then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

August 6, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Comments Off on UK played a key role in US decision to nuke Japan during World War II

Chilean judge closes case into the origin of Pinochet millions

MercoPress | August 6, 2013

Chilean court decided on Monday not to charge any of late Dictator Augusto Pinochet’s family members in a long-running investigation into the origin of the general’s fortune and his suspected embezzlement of public funds.

The judge did charge six former members of the military who had collaborated with Pinochet in the so-called Riggs case.

Pinochet was charged in 2005 with tax evasion in connection with millions of dollars he held in foreign bank accounts, which came to light after a US Senate investigation into banking irregularities at the now-defunct Washington-based Riggs Bank.

Chilean judge Manuel Antonio Valderrama decided not to charge Pinochet’s widow, Lucia Hiriart, and her children. He said the decision can be appealed within 15 days.

Pinochet, who took power in a 1973 military coup, died in 2006 at the age of 91. He did not face a full trial for crimes committed during his 1973-1990 dictatorship, when around 3,000 people were kidnapped and killed and 28,000 were tortured.

An audit by the Universidad de Chile’s Business and Economics faculty in 2010 estimated that Pinochet had accumulated 21 million dollars before his death, of which more than 17 million was of unknown origin.

The six former military members charged in the case could face five to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

August 6, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Chilean judge closes case into the origin of Pinochet millions

Mercosur complains to Ban Ki-moon on US global espionage and EU affront towards Bolivia’s Evo Morales

MercoPress |August 5, 2013

Mercosur foreign ministers warned UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the serious implications which the United States global espionage system represents for the international community, during a Monday midday meeting at the UN headquarters in New York.

“We have expressed our concern and warning over the serious implications that these illegal procedures displayed by the government of the US have on the political stability of countries and the necessary mutual trust of the international community members”, said Venezuelan minister Elias Jaua at a press conference following the meeting with Ban Ki-moon.

Jaua was the spokesperson of the Mercosur group of foreign ministers, Antonio Patriota, from Brazil; Hector Timerman from Argentina and Luis Almagro, Uruguay, as well as associate member Bolivia’s David Choquehuanca, because Venezuela since last July holds the rotating chair of the South American trade block.

The ministers thus complied with the formal request from the last presidential summit of Mercosur in Montevideo in mid July, when there was an official release condemning US world espionage, which was revealed by the former intelligence officer and whistle-blower Edward Snowden currently with one year political asylum in Moscow.

“This practice is absolutely in violation of international rights for the safeguard of countries sovereignty and independence, and even more, is in violation of fundamental human rights of the citizens of our countries”, underlined Jaua.

When asked about the reply of Ban Ki-moon to the Mercosur statement, Brazilian minister Patriota said that the top US official “shared the concern” of the block. “UN Secretary General reacted in a way that showed awareness towards the message we transmitted from our presidents”, added Patriota.

During the meeting the ministers also expressed Mercosur ‘deep concern’ because of ‘the abuse and affront’ to Bolivian leader Evo Morales presidential immunity “when he was impeded air space free passage over several European countries under suspicion that his aircraft could be transporting Mr. Snowden”, when he was still stranded in the Moscow airport and hoping to be granted political asylum by some country.

The decision adopted by Spain, France, Italy and Portugal last 2 July “seriously endangered not only the dignity of president Evo Morales, but also his own physical safety since he had to over-fly with limited fuel and was forced to land in Vienna”, explained Jaua.

Snowden who is wanted by Washington for having leaked the existence of a US secret program that operates domestically and internationally to spy on phone and internet communications, was finally granted temporary asylum (one year) in Russia given the difficulties to fly to Latinamerica where several countries had offered to help him.

Precisely asylum was another issue addressed with Ban Ki-moon following on the strong pressure exercised by the US on several Latam countries (Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela) which offered an alternative to Snowden.

“For us Latinamericans the right to asylum is a right all citizens can exercise as well as the right of States to be respected when they extend such a benefit, and it is a principle we are not willing to negotiate” said the Mercosur spokesperson emphatically, who then recalled that ‘this very principle helped to save many lives during the hard years of the military dictatorships suffered by many countries of the region”.

Finally the foreign ministers reiterated their standing concern on two recurring issues: the US blockade on Cuba and Argentina’s claim over Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty.

There is a demand that these two issues “definitively find a solution since they are highly sensitive and of great concern for the Latam region”.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez was scheduled to meet Ban Ki-moon later in the day in advance of her speech to the Security Council on Tuesday, taking advantage of the fact that Argentina will be holding the presidency of the council during the month of August. The president arrived in New York on Monday morning.

August 6, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Comments Off on Mercosur complains to Ban Ki-moon on US global espionage and EU affront towards Bolivia’s Evo Morales


By Sherwood Ross | August 6, 2013

State “civil-forfeiture”(CF) laws aimed at drug kingpins are being twisted to confiscate the property of people “never charged with a crime,” The New Yorker magazine (August 12) asserts.

Example: a Philadelphia couple fighting a home eviction after their son sold a small amount of marijuana to an informant.

What’s more, a high proportion of the victims appear to be African-Americans and Latinos, the magazine says.

Example: Tenaha, Texas, where victims of CF actions were motorists who had been pulled over for routine traffic stops, “and the targets were disproportionately black and Latino,” The New Yorker quotes one defense attorney as stating.

Under laws once enacted to penalize drug dealers and their ilk, the authorities using CF “are routinely targeting the workaday homes, cars, cash savings, and other belongings” of the innocent, writes magazine reporter Sarah Stillman.

“In general, you needn’t be found guilty to have your assets claimed by law enforcement; in some states, suspicion on par with ‘probable cause’ is sufficient. Nor must you be charged with a crime or even be accused of one,” Stillman adds.

“Unlike criminal forfeiture, which requires that a person be convicted of an offense before his or her property is confiscated, civil forfeiture is a lawsuit filed directly against a possession, regardless of its owner’s guilt or innocence.”

Owners who wish to contest CF often find that the cost of hiring a lawyer far exceeds the value of their seized goods, the magazine reports. “There’s this myth that they’re cracking down on drug cartels and kingpins,” says Lee McGrath, of the Institute for Justice, of Arlington, Va. In fact, the victims “aren’t entitled to a public defender and can’t afford a lawyer and the only rational response is to walk away from your property, because of the infeasibility of getting your money back.”

Since in many states law enforcement authorities can use CF revenue as they like, the temptation of easy money collides with ethical values. Reporter Stillman writes, in some Texas counties, more than 40 percent of law-enforcement budgets come from forfeiture” so that a system “that proved successful at wringing profits from drug cartels and white-collar fraudsters has given rise to corruption and violations of civil liberties.”

“What stands out to me is the nature of how pervasive and dependent police really are on civil-asset forfeiture—its their bread and butter—and, therefore, how difficult it is to engage in systemic reform,” says Vanita Gupta, a deputy legal director of the ACLU.

Jennifer Boatwright, one of the 140 CF plaintiffs in a suit against Tenaha, Tex., said the county district attorney threatened to put her in jail and her son into child protective services, if she did not sign over $6,000 in her car. “Where are we?” Stillman quotes her as saying. “Is this some kind of foreign country where they’re selling people’s kids off?”

(No, Ms. Boatwright: it’s worse than that. This is some kind of country where the president is ordering illegal drone strikes in foreign countries that are killing children by the score.)

Sherwood Ross can be reached at

August 6, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , , | 1 Comment