Archives: June 2004

Mon Jun 28, 2004

Above all others

Israel firmly believes it can get away with anything. Emad Gad examines the consequences

There is a strong belief in the Arab world that one of the biggest obstacles to reaching a political settlement to the Arab- Israeli conflict that would give the Palestinian people their legitimate rights and allow them to establish an independent state is the United States' absolute bias towards Israel. There are those who believe that the absence of a political settlement, and thus the absence of stability in the Middle East, is attributable to America's persistence in providing international legal and political protection to Israel.

The US has always used its right of veto in the Security Council to block any resolution condemning Israel or demanding that it end violations or calling on it to desist from changing facts on the ground. And Arabs know very well that even if any compromise resolutions are issued by the Security Council, they will remain mere ink on paper and will not be implemented. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 28, 04 | 6:57 pm

Troubled Lebanon emerging as model for Iraqi change

In all the talk of democratizing the Middle East, it is often claimed that there is as yet no democratically elected Arab government. The truth is more complex.


Posted by: Hazem on Jun 28, 04 | 8:38 am

Sat Jun 26, 2004

The multibillion robbery the US calls reconstruction

The shameless corporate feeding frenzy in Iraq is fuelling the resistance

Good news out of Baghdad: the Program Management Office, which oversees the $18.4bn in US reconstruction funds, has finally set a goal it can meet. Sure, electricity is below pre-war levels, the streets are rivers of sewage and more Iraqis have been fired than hired. But now the PMO has contracted the British mercenary firm Aegis to protect its employees from "assassination, kidnapping, injury and" - get this - "embarrassment". I don't know if Aegis will succeed in protecting PMO employees from violent attack, but embarrassment? I'd say mission already accomplished. The people in charge of rebuilding Iraq can't be embarrassed, because, clearly, they have no shame. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 26, 04 | 10:12 pm

Wed Jun 23, 2004

Interview With Middle East Scholar Avi Shlaim: America, Israel and the Middle East

Avi Shlaim is a fellow of St. Antony's College and a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford. He was born in Baghdad on October 31, 1945, and grew up in Israel, where he did national service in 1964-66. He read history at Cambridge University in Britain, and has remained in that country ever since, holding dual Israeli and British citizenship. Professor Shlaim is the author of numerous books, most notably The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, and is a regular contributor to The Guardian, the leading liberal British broadsheet. He is widely regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

I wonder if we can look briefly at ongoing events in and affecting the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, Israel and America. First of all, how would you advise President Bush to extract himself from the current calamity in Iraq?

My advice to President Bush would be to be honest. Either he plans to hand over power to the Iraqis on June 30 or he doesn't. The Americans are playing games and are pretending that there will be a handover, but the Iraqi provisional government have chosen a president, and Paul Bremer tried to veto their choice. The Iraqis need to know where they stand: Either they are going to be given sovereignty and appoint their own leaders, or they are going to be dictated to by the Americans. It would be unwise for the Americans to treat Iraqis as pawns in the game, because the interim government would cease to have legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people if all the orders came from Washington. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 23, 04 | 10:38 am

The story TV news won't tell

For 10 years Tim Llewellyn was the BBC's Middle East correspondent. In this passionately argued polemic he accuses British broadcasters, including his former employer, of systematic bias in covering the Arab-Israeli conflict, giving undue prominence to the views of Jerusalem while disregarding the roots of the crisis.

Since the Palestinians began their armed uprising against Israel's military occupation three years and eight months ago, British television and radio's reporting of it has been, in the main, dishonest - in concept, approach and execution.

In my judgment as a journalist and Middle East specialist, the broadcasters' language favours the occupying soldiers over the occupied Arabs, depicting the latter, essentially, as alien tribes threatening the survival of Israel, rather than vice versa. The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is shown, most especially on mainstream bulletins, as a battle between two 'forces', possessed equally of right and wrong and responsibility. It is the tyranny of spurious equivalence. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 23, 04 | 9:29 am

Tue Jun 22, 2004




Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 22, 04 | 9:34 pm

Catch 22: The end of the two-state solution

A majority of Israeli Jews - 63.7 percent - believes the Israeli government should encourage Palestinians to leave the country, according to a poll conducted by the Haifa University, which was released yesterday. This poll comes at a time when Ariel Sharon, Israel's Prime Minister is working on his unilateral "disengagement plan". While various governments are trying to influence the process, contribute to security, and debating their own role, they fail to see developments on the ground.

Last year, Tony Judt, the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies at New York University, known for his writings on European history, published a 2,900 essay in the October edition of The New York Review of Books, in which he argues that the "true alternative" facing the Middle East in coming years will be "between an ethnically cleansed Greater Israel and a single, integrated, binational state of Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 22, 04 | 8:35 pm

Sun Jun 20, 2004


The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.


Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 20, 04 | 3:32 pm

Fri Jun 18, 2004


The biggest single problem the federal government has is its hypocrisy. It talks one way and acts another. It talks of spreading democracy while supporting dictators; it blathers about human rights while violating them; and it claims to promote the rule of law while scoffing at laws it considers inconvenient. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Jun 18, 04 | 10:49 pm

Rise of the terrorist professors

Throughout academia, the study of terrorism is booming. But in reality, argues Kevin Toolis, these "experts" represent an ideology that has its roots in the cold war and in Israeli conservatism.

After every atrocity, every shooting, every bomb, the television studios are filled with a new breed of expert - the counter-terrorist academic, with his pat soundbites. In our baffling, violent world, the terrorism expert, discreetly hinting at access to cryptic intelligence material, is the high priest, able to discern within the entrails of atrocity a fingerprint and a culprit.

At best, "counter-terrorism" is a rehash of very old-fashioned political studies with a bit of fortune-telling thrown in. At its worst, it is a bogus intellectual justification for authoritarianism, military repression and neoconservative Islamophobia. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 18, 04 | 6:27 pm

Tue Jun 15, 2004

FENCED IN ALL ROUND: Sharon’s master plan

The current Israeli policy of ‘politicide’ goes back to the 1948 war: it describes the process intended eventually to dissolve the Palestinian people as a social, political and economic identity.

Baruch Kimmerling

ARIEL Sharon’s political troubles began some years ago when a grassroots movement inside Israel demanded that a "wall of separation" be built around major urban centres. Supporters of this hoped it would prevent suicide bombers from entering Israel. Settlers and most of the Israeli far right opposed the wall because it created an implicit border that would in effect re-partition Palestine and leave many settlements outside its boundaries. Many feared it would also mean the end of the Greater Israel ideology.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 15, 04 | 7:05 pm

Israel: industrial estates along the wall

THE farmers of Irtah, a village near the West Bank market town of Tulkarem, can still see their land. But they haven’t had access to it for more than a year because the trenches, walls and barbed wire of Israel’s "security fence" lie between their hilltop homes and the fields. Now the Israeli army is threatening officially to confiscate the 500 dunams they are forbidden to access (1). The fate of this land is almost certainly determined: an industrial estate will be built astride the fence, funded jointly by the Israeli authorities and Palestinian entrepreneurs. The farmers, left without land, will have no choice but to work in the new factories for a minimum wage set at barely a third of Israel’s official minimum. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 15, 04 | 10:17 am

The Nightmare Comes True

I thought it was terrible. I was wrong. It is far, far worse! - These words sum up my feelings at that moment.

I was standing on a hill overlooking the infamous Kalandia checkpoint.

Below me was a narrow road, packed with Palestinians in the blazing sun, 30 degrees centigrade in the shade (but there was no shade) trudging towards the checkpoint. Very soon this road will be transformed. It will be widened to three lanes and be reserved for Israelis: on both sides of it, 8-meter high walls will spring up. It will allow the settlers of the Jordan valley to reach Tel-Aviv in about an hour. The Palestinians living on either side will be cut off from each other. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 15, 04 | 10:12 am

Mon Jun 14, 2004

The Parade of the Body Bags

The body count used to be an integral part of warfare — that meant counting the bodies of the enemy. RAF fighter pilots would adorn their airplanes with kill signs, Israeli soldiers put notches on their guns for each Palestinian killed, and the American military reveled in body count statistics in Vietnam. Now body counts are out; they are considered ill advised when dealing with a passive but anxious home population. Perhaps populations eating TV-dinners in air-conditioned environments don’t have the stomach for the truculent warrior-speak of yesteryear. Certainly, the propagandists serving the Pentagon must have determined that body counts should be phased out; it is better not to cause anxiety among the American public.

To read the full article, click here.
http://www.monabaker.com/DeRooijIraq14june.htm More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 14, 04 | 6:28 pm

Sun Jun 13, 2004

NY Times Responds to FAIR Alert on Torture

New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent posted a response to FAIR's May 14 Action Alert that criticized the paper's May 14 report about CIA and Justice Department interrogation methods of Al Qaeda suspects. Though the techniques described in the article clearly seem to meet the legal definition of torture, the Times presented administration denials that these methods constituted torture, appeared to accept in its own reporters' voice that they were not torture, and failed to include and legal or human rights experts who might disagree with official claims that these practices merely "simulate torture." More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 13, 04 | 8:38 pm

General Granted Latitude At Prison: Abu Ghraib Used Aggressive Tactics

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior U.S. military officer in Iraq, borrowed heavily from a list of high-pressure interrogation tactics used at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and approved letting senior officials at a Baghdad jail use military dogs, temperature extremes, reversed sleep patterns, sensory deprivation, and diets of bread and water on detainees whenever they wished, according to newly obtained documents. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 13, 04 | 8:15 pm


Earlier this week, I was struck when reading the letter below, published on June 4 by Arab News, that was written in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia. Written by Faisal Alzamil, titled "Our Alkhobar, and reproduced here with permission, the letter stated the following.

"After the days of horror in the Oasis Compound, Alkhobar is sad and terrified. We have lost our city. Alkhobar was never the empty streets, beaches, restaurants and shops it is now. It was always welcome smiles, friendly faces and respect - for all and from all. Since the 1930s, Alkhobar has been hosting people of different nationalities, races, religions and backgrounds. We Saudis have always been a minority in our city. Every newcomer met a welcome when he entered our city. They all melted into our society. I remember Americans, Pakistanis, Indians, Italians and others coming to our homes and neighborhoods to greet us on our weddings, Eids and Ramadan and to share our sorrow at losing a relative or suffering other tragedies. Since the 1950s and 1960s, all of them have been part of our society. Many of them lived in the same neighborhoods with us. We played with their children. I remember the boy scouts and girl scouts of Aramco schools coming to visit our Arabic schools and sharing our games and classes. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 13, 04 | 8:10 pm

Military Death Toll While Enforcing the Occupation of Iraq

Commentary on the developments of the week.

The forecast for the May 1, 2003 thru Dec. 31, 2004 is: 1,350 US-uk military fatalities (using data through June 9, 2004). A partial explanation for the reduction of this forecast is attributable to the elimination from the database of several fatality entries that have not been confirmed by CentCom.

Note that there is an increasing number of CentCom reported fatalities that are subsequently not confirmed. The LunaVille database's approach has been to remove such instances, and in the meantime seeks clarification. The approach taken in the database used for this data sheet is different: the originally reported fatalities are included until such time DefenseLink issues a retraction. Please note that there are some accompanying news (Reuters or BBC) articles for some of the fatalities that didn't generate a DefenseLink confirmation.

To read the full article click here.
http://www.monabaker.com/DeRooij_Iraq-Coalition-Toll.htm More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 13, 04 | 2:02 am

Haifa conference 2004

This landmark Israeli conference was focused on the Palestinian right to return to their homes in Israel and its irrevocable connection to the Nakba. Held in the north coastal city of Haifa, the conference was organized by the Emil Tuma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies, and several Jewish/Palestinian-Israeli NGO’s including Ittijah (Union of Israeli-Arab Community Based Associations), the Association of the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons in Israel and Zochrot ("Remember" in Hebrew). The conference attracted more than 300 people of whom about 100 were Jewish according to conference initiator Haifa University Professor, Ilan Pappe. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 13, 04 | 1:47 am

Tue Jun 08, 2004

Memo Offered Justification for Use of Torture

In August 2002, the Justice Department advised the White House that torturing al Qaeda terrorists in captivity abroad "may be justified," and that international laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations" conducted in President Bush's war on terrorism, according to a newly obtained memo.

If a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, "he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the Al Qaeda terrorist network," said the memo, from the Justice Department's office of legal counsel, written in response to a CIA request for legal guidance. It added that arguments centering on "necessity and self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability" later. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 08, 04 | 12:00 pm

Mon Jun 07, 2004

Welcome to America

When writer Elena Lappin flew to LA, she dreamed of a sunkissed, laid-back city. But that was before airport officials decided to detain her as a threat to security ...

Somewhere in central Los Angeles, about 20 miles from LAX airport, there is a nondescript building housing a detention facility for foreigners who have violated US immigration and customs laws. I was driven there around 11pm on May 3, my hands painfully handcuffed behind my back as I sat crammed in one of several small, locked cages inside a security van. I saw glimpses of night-time urban LA through the metal bars as we drove, and shadowy figures of armed security officers when we arrived, two of whom took me inside. The handcuffs came off just before I was locked in a cell behind a thick glass wall and a heavy door. No bed, no chair, only two steel benches about a foot wide. There was a toilet in full view of anyone passing by, and of the video camera watching my every move. No pillow or blanket. A permanent fluorescent light and a television in one corner of the ceiling. It stayed on all night, tuned into a shopping channel. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 07, 04 | 10:15 am

Sun Jun 06, 2004

Palestinian misery in perspective

The media usually focuses on the latest casualty and quickly forgets those who died even a few days before. The American media in particular has a Dracula-like predilection for warm bodies, and no interest in cases where blood has already dried. Unfortunately this ahistoric focus on the last victim hides the scale of mass crimes and the responsibility of various perpetrators. Whether in Iraq, Palestine, Colombia, or Haiti, it is necessary to locate human rights abuses in a wider context to appreciate the scale of what is occurring on the ground.

Click here to read the full article
http://www.monabaker.com/MiseryWebDV.html More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 06, 04 | 5:26 pm

Before Rafah

On Sunday 16 May, a day before the IDF launched its long-awaited, well-planned attack on the civilian population of Rafah, the Israeli chief of staff, Major-General Moshe (Boogey) Ya'alon said it was 'almost the last chance' for such an operation and that 'special conditions were in place' for an imminent attack. By 'special conditions', of course, he meant the public desire for revenge following the deaths of 13 soldiers in Gaza in the space of 48 hours. It was a convenient opportunity to start a war. But he also meant that sooner or later the Jewish settlements blocking Rafah's access to its beach would be evacuated, so there was no choice but to destroy as much of Rafah as possible, and as soon as possible. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 06, 04 | 12:01 pm

Sat Jun 05, 2004

Bush Takes Refuge in History

Shock and awe was more than the first phase of the invasion of Iraq. It was the premise of Bush's foreign policy. Fear of unrivalled power would prompt the dominoes to fall - the dominoes being the traditional western allies. Unilateralism (depicted as the coalition of the willing) would yield in submission. The spectacle of Iraqi democracy, a beacon to the Arab world, would refute argument and opposition. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 05, 04 | 7:17 pm

Israel in new BBC blast over Vanunu

THE BBC is locked in a new row with the Israeli government after being accused of unacceptable conduct over this week's televised interview with Mordechai Vanunu.

The Beeb's Jerusalem bureau chief Andrew Steel has been hauled over the coals in a two-page letter from Foreign Ministry media and public affairs chief Gideon Meir.

In it, Meir charged that, following the detention of journalist Peter Hounan, Israel had learned the BBC was directly and knowingly involved in the interview - in potential violation of Israeli law. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 05, 04 | 7:13 pm

No More Tears: An Open Letter to the American Public

Dear Americans,

I've written to you a published open letter a year after the criminal attacks of September 11th reiterating my heartfelt condemnation of those attacks, while reminding you, despite your pain, to search deeper for the context, for the root causes that made them possible. I still had not run out of sympathy for your victims then. After Iraq, you can still count on my moral rejection of any similarly criminal attack against you in the future, but you can forget about my sympathy. I hope you realize what the difference means. 'Who cares?', you may ask. Well, although I obviously do not speak for the peoples of the south, the Arabs, or even my own people, the Palestinians, I suspect much of what I convey to you here is widely shared in all three domains. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 05, 04 | 6:52 pm

Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides

President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.


Posted by: Hazem on Jun 05, 04 | 10:31 am

Thu Jun 03, 2004

A whiff of hypocrisy

You finish teaching the class on your own campus, and drive to another, six miles away, to give a physiology course. A normal enough activity for a university teacher. Except that en route you are stopped by heavily armed soldiers. You explain where you are going. "How old are you?" they ask. Forty, you tell them. "Go back, we aren't letting anyone through under 45." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Jun 03, 04 | 3:20 pm

A little matter of genocide

A few years ago I was given a copy of Richard Drinnon’s Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building (1980), a volume of American history in which the author documents the successive genocides committed by white settlers against darker-skinned peoples from the extermination of the Pequods through the Viet Nam War. This frank approach was a refreshing change from the dominant-discourse view of these events as a series of heroic ‘frontiers’. Only one problem: it seemed that Drinnon’s courageous version of American history required, as a final chapter, an account of the genocide against the Palestinians now being carried out by those US surrogates the Israelis. When I called the editor who had entrusted the book to me and made this caveat, he said quietly, ‘I know. I called Drinnon and told him the same thing. He agreed with me. But he said if he had written that chapter, the book would not have been published.’ More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 03, 04 | 2:16 pm

'Its best use is as a doorstop'

Consider these statements:

"Why are most Africans, unless forced by dire necessity to earn their livelihood with 'the sweat of their brow', so loath to undertake any work that dirties the hands?"

"The all-encompassing preoccupation with sex in the African mind emerges clearly in two manifestations ..."

"In the African view of human nature, no person is supposed to be able to maintain incessant, uninterrupted control over himself. Any event that is outside routine everyday occurrence can trigger such a loss of control ... Once aroused, African hostility will vent itself indiscriminately on all outsiders."

These statements, I think you'll agree, are thoroughly offensive. You would probably imagine them to be the musings of some 19th century colonialist. In fact, they come from a book promoted by its US publisher as "one of the great classics of cultural studies", and described by Publisher's Weekly as "admirable", "full of insight" and with "an impressive spread of scholarship". More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 03, 04 | 2:10 pm

Inside The Arab Mind

In one of his recent New Yorker articles about Abu Ghraib, Seymour Hersh quoted an unnamed academic on the Bush administration's view of Arab culture. In the White House discussions of the subject, the academic said, two themes emerged: "one, that Arabs only understand force and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation." And, he explained, "the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior" was a book with what Hersh described as a "25-page chapter on Arabs and sex, depicting sex as a taboo vested with shame and repression"—Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 03, 04 | 2:06 pm

Misreading 'The Arab Mind'

AMONG THE STARTLING revelations in Seymour Hersh's recent articles about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was news of a peculiar scholarly revival. In the May 24 issue of The New Yorker, Hersh wrote that it was the late Raphael Patai, a Hungarian-born cultural anthropologist who taught at Columbia and Princeton, whose work provided the intellectual backdrop for the torture and sexual abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib. Patai's 1973 book "The Arab Mind," an unnamed academic told Hersh, had become "the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior." In his discussion with conservative prowar intellectuals, the same academic told Hersh, two themes predominated: "One, that Arabs only understand force, and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation." More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 03, 04 | 2:00 pm

Tue Jun 01, 2004

York (University) President Lorna Marsden under fire for her abuse of power!

York University President Lorna Marsden is under fire from all directions for her decision to banish student activist and journalist Daniel Freeman-Maloy from campus for three years. Freeman-Maloy's expulsion was meant to send a message: challenge my administration’s authority, and you will suffer the consequences. Instead, it is demonstrating that crude repression of student activism will always backlash. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Jun 01, 04 | 3:49 pm

From the York Free Speech Committee

To All Concerned Community Members:

Last week, a 3rd-year undergraduate student of political science, Dan Freeman-Maloy, received a letter informing him of a 3-year suspension from York University, simply for using a megaphone on campus. The letter referred only to his "use of an unauthorized sound amplification device" at an "unauthorized demonstration". He was given no information on how to appeal the suspension and was threatened with charges of trespass should he enter the campus grounds after 1 May. The suspension comes into effect on the same day that Dan is to begin work at the University's principal newspaper, Excalibur. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Jun 01, 04 | 3:43 pm

My Expulsion from York University: an appeal for support and reconsideration

On April 30, 2004, I received a letter signed by York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna Marsden declaring that I "will have no purpose on campus" after May 1, 2004. If I set foot on York's campus at any point in the three years following this date, she threatens, I will be charged for trespassing. My expulsion comes in the context of escalating repression of student dissent by York's administration, and sets an ominous precedent regarding student rights to freedom of speech, expression and assembly. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Jun 01, 04 | 3:40 pm


Daniel Freeman-Maloy received the following letter on April 30, 2004. The envelope that contained it was post-marked for April 26, the letter itself dated for April 21. Comments by Freeman-Maloy are in square brackets.

Dear Mr. Maloy,

In the past year you have been involved in conduct that is unacceptable according to the standards of York University. Specifically, on October 22, 2003 you were seen attending an unauthorized demonstration in Central Square and in Vari Hall Rotunda and using an unauthorized sound amplification device. This demonstration was in violation of the Temporary Use of Space Policy and the Policy for Use of Vari Hall Rotunda. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Jun 01, 04 | 3:36 pm

Imperial Momentos

The word "torture" seems to be a difficult word for Americans to utter when they are caught in the act of committing it. But political language has always been a malleable thing in America just as it was in Orwell's 1984. Torture of POWs and detained civilians, we are told, is "abuse of prisoners", murdered civilians by US bombings are "collateral damage", strafing of villages is "pacification", foreign occupation is "enduring freedom", pillage of natural sources is "free trade," and so on and so forth.

While the American media and the American educational system are quite adept at imparting to Americans this elastic language, for the rest of the world, the horrifying torture to which Iraqis have been subject will remain pure torture. The only "abuse" being committed here is the abuse of language by the American government and its subservient media. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Jun 01, 04 | 9:39 am

Bush and Sharon: The Oil Connection

On its face, President George Bush's recent endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's land grab in the occupied territories makes little sense. The plan, under which Israel would abandon Gaza while permanently annexing most of the West Bank, has met with almost universal condemnation.

* It has stirred rage in the Arab world, where, according to U.S. ally Egyptian President Honsi Mubarak, "there exists a hatred of Americans never equaled in the region."

* European Union (EU) foreign policy spokesperson, Brian Cowen, said that the "EU will not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement of the parties."

* A letter by 52 former senior British diplomats called Prime Minister Tony Blair's support for Washington on this issue, "one-sided and illegal," and predicted it "will cost yet more Israeli and Palestinian blood." A Financial Times editorial called the letter "the most stinging rebuke ever to a British government by its foreign policy establishment."

At a time when the U.S. is desperate for an international bailout in Iraq, why would the White House go out of its way to alienate allies? More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Jun 01, 04 | 9:38 am

A Remarkable Jewish Woman Speaks Out -- Shulamit Aloni

She founded and was Chairperson of Civil Rights Party/Ratz 1973-95, and was a Member of the Israeli Knesset from 1974-96. In 1973-74 she was Minister without Portfolio for Human Rights, in 1992-93 Minister of Education and Culture, in 1992-96 Member of The National Security Council, in 1993-96 Minister of Communication, Science and Art (and in 1995-96 Second in the Cabinet). She was born in 1929.

This interview was given to Attila Somfelvi of Ynet -- the Web site associated with Yediot Aharonot Israel's largest circulating daily newspaper. The Interview was translated by Sol Salbe from the original (see bottom for additional attributions).

Former Meretz Leader Shulamit Aloni has established a reputation for her critique of modern Israeli society. Recently, in front of hundreds of supporters of Yossi Beilin, who had just been elected head of Yahad, Shulamit Aloni -- "Oum Meretz" [The Meretz Mother (in Arabic)] -- settled accounts with everyone: stylishly, sharply and in her own inimitable style. More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 01, 04 | 9:32 am

Misreading 'The Arab Mind'

AMONG THE STARTLING revelations in Seymour Hersh's recent articles about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was news of a peculiar scholarly revival. In the May 24 issue of The New Yorker, Hersh wrote that it was the late Raphael Patai, a Hungarian-born cultural anthropologist who taught at Columbia and Princeton, whose work provided the intellectual backdrop for the torture and sexual abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib. Patai's 1973 book "The Arab Mind," an unnamed academic told Hersh, had become "the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior." In his discussion with conservative prowar intellectuals, the same academic told Hersh, two themes predominated: "One, that Arabs only understand force, and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation." More...

Posted by: adminr on Jun 01, 04 | 9:19 am