Archives: September 2004
Thu Sep 30, 2004
Holy spectators you stand.
From your pulpits you preach.
“End your sin.”
“It’s love that you must teach.”
A virtuous bellow.
A whole world apart.
Get down from your podium.
Revisit the start.
Take the test.
One month under occupation.
One month is all we request. More...
Wed Sep 29, 2004
Israeli troops admit sadistic abuse
Israeli state-run radio on Monday reported that five Israeli occupation soldiers had confessed to committing "degrading acts" against two Palestinian youths.
According to the radio report, the soldiers were manning a roadblock outside the Palestinian neighbourhood of Abu Dis earlier this month when they allegedly detained, beat and humiliated two unidentified Palestinian boys.
Press reports added that the soldiers forced the boys into an abandoned house near the roadblock. There they urinated into a small plastic bucket, dipped the boys' identity cards in and, at gunpoint, forced them to retrieve the IDs with their mouths. More...
Tue Sep 28, 2004
The Word Palestine
When I see the word PALESTINE,
I see checkpoints,
roadblocks, the Wall, and
tortured civilians on the streets.
Mon Sep 27, 2004
The Unfeeling President
I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear. More...
Sun Sep 26, 2004
One Out Of Every Nine
One out of every nine women gets breast cancer. There are doctors who say that statistic has worsened lately and now stands at one out of every eight. The disease is particularly violent in younger women and the primary growth in the breast spreads rapidly to the liver, the lungs, the bones and the brain. Is there anything worse than being a young woman with cancer whose chances are slim? It turns out that there is - being a young Palestinian woman with cancer whose chances are slim. More...
The Spoils of another War
'Wars, conflict - it's all business," sighs Monsieur Verdoux in Charlie Chaplin's 1947 film of the same name. Many will not need to be convinced of the link between US corporations now busily helping themselves to Iraqi state assets and the military machine that prised Iraq open for global business. But what is less widely known is that a similar process is already well under way in a part of the world where B52s were not so long ago dropping bombs in another "liberation" mission. More...
The war on terror makes the world safe for Barbarism
“I KNEW the American government wasn’t going to help me” More...
The UN moderator introduced Bush yesterday, this way:
“On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honor to welcome to the United Nations “His Excellency” Mr. George W. Bush, the president of the United States of America and to invite him to address the Assembly.” More...
The worse the situation in Iraq the bigger the lies that Tony Blair tells us
Iraq, remember, was going to be the role model. It would be the catalyst, 'crucible' even, of the new Middle East
We are now in the greatest crisis since the last greatest crisis. That's how we run the Iraq war - or the Second Iraq War as Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara would now have us believe. Hostages are paraded in orange tracksuits to remind us of Guantanamo Bay. Kidnappers demand the release of women held prisoner by the Americans. Abu Ghraib is what they are talking about. Abu Ghraib? Anyone remember Abu Ghraib? Remember those dirty little snapshots? But don't worry. This wasn't the America George Bush recognised, and besides we're punishing the bad apples, aren't we? Women? Why, there are only a couple of dames left - and they are "Dr Germ" and "Dr Anthrax".
Bush Upbeat as Iraq Burns
George W. Bush was a supporter of the war in Vietnam. For a while.
A Nation? What Nation?
"For many people it is difficult to give up the Zionist myths with which they grew up. They try to evade any discussion on this subject – and indeed, it is hardly ever mentioned in our media."
It sounds like a joke, but it is quite serious.
The government of Israel does not recognize the Israeli nation. It says that there is no such thing. More...
Iraq, remember, was going to be the role model
We are now in the greatest crisis since the last greatest crisis. That's how we run the Iraq war - or the Second Iraq War as Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara would now have us believe. Hostages are paraded in orange tracksuits to remind us of Guantanamo Bay. Kidnappers demand the release of women held prisoner by the Americans. Abu Ghraib is what they are talking about. Abu Ghraib? Anyone remember Abu Ghraib? Remember those dirty little snapshots? But don't worry. This wasn't the America George Bush recognised, and besides we're punishing the bad apples, aren't we? Women? Why, there are only a couple of dames left - and they are "Dr Germ" and "Dr Anthrax". More...
Sat Sep 25, 2004
“Finally it Broke My Heart”. Random Impressions from Palestine
A few weeks spent in Palestine is always an assault on the senses, on the emotions. And after three trips to the West Bank in the past eighteen months, it is impossible not to draw some conclusions. For most Americans, the eleventh commandment of the politics of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is Thou Shalt Not Reach Conclusions, for conclusions that Israel wants the land of Palestine without the people; that the Israeli settlements, the roads accessible only to Israelis, the land confiscations, the house demolitions, the destruction of agricultural land add up to an act of ethnocide against the Palestinian people; that Israel's occupation and Israel's land greed are the root of the conflict and the root cause of terrorism are too pointed for most people, too embarrassingly descriptive of an ugly reality impossible to ignore. More...
Humiliated and Impotent, every Iraqi is a Hostage Now
09/24/04 "The Guardian" -- They sit in their solitary cells all day, uncharged with any crime. No family member, no friend, no lawyer may visit. Their freedom depends on a callous game of Pentagon roulette. Word filters out that they are about to be released. Then word follows that - alas - it will take a bit more time.
Three Years and Counting
How Time Flies
By MICHAEL NEUMANN
When John Lee Hooker died three years ago, my friend Joe said, "I KNEW the heroin would get to him sooner or later!" It was a good joke, because John Lee Hooker died at the age of 83. It's like the joke about how Osama Bin Laden and the Mullah Omar 'can run, but they can't hide'. It's three years now, and it looks like both of them have done much more hiding than running. More...
British TUC calls for 'speedy withdrawal of the coalition forces' from Iraq
Resolution 82: Iraq
Congress reaffirms its opposition to the occupation of Iraq, condemns the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners by the coalition forces, and calls for an accurate audit of the actual cost of the invasion and occupation.
Congress believes it is now more vital than ever to support the new independent trade union movement as an essential force in the creation of a secular, democratic Iraq, free from fundamentalism and Saddam’s Baathism. More...
Fri Sep 24, 2004
Anglican group calls for Israel sanctions
Campaigners inspired by boycott of apartheid South Africa
An influential Anglican group is to ask church leaders to impose a boycott of Israel and firms that do business there in protest at the occupation.
The call, by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, comes amid growing concern in Israel at rising support among churches, universities and trade unions in the west for a divestment campaign modelled on the popular boycott of apartheid South Africa. More...
A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties
Commentary: This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in KIVUNIM (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism; Issue No, 14--Winter, 5742, February 1982, Editor: Yoram Beck. Editorial Committee: Eli Eyal, Yoram Beck, Amnon Hadari, Yohanan Manor, Elieser Schweid. Published by the Department of Publicity/The World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem.
This essay was translated into English by Israel Shahak, an anti-Zionist Israel Jew, and disseminated on 13 June 1982 -- a week after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon on 6 June 1982, but several months before the massacre at Sabra and Shatila.
Abstract: In the course of the Nineteen Eighties, the State of Israel will have to go through far-reaching changes in its political and economic regime domestically, along with radical changes in its foreign policy, in order to stand up to the global and regional challenges of this new epoch. The loss of the Suez Canal oil fields, of the immense potential of the oil, gas and other natural resources in the Sinai peninsula which is geomorphologically identical to the rich oil-producing countries in the region, will result in an energy drain in the near future and will destroy our domestic economy: one quarter of our present GNP as well as one third of the budget is used for the purchase of oil. The search for raw materials in the Negev and on the coast will not, in the near future, serve to alter that state of affairs. More...
Thu Sep 23, 2004
Baghdad Year Zero
Baghdad Year Zero
"Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia"
By Naomi Klein
Harper's Magazine, September 2004 -- It was only after I had been in Baghdad for a month that I found what I was looking for. I had traveled to Iraq a year after the war began, at the height of what should have been a construction boom, but after weeks of searching I had not seen a single piece of heavy machinery apart from tanks and humvees. Then I saw it: a construction crane. It was big and yellow and impressive, and when I caught a glimpse of it around a corner in a busy shopping district I thought that I was finally about to witness some of the reconstruction I had heard so much about. But as I got closer I noticed that the crane was not actually rebuilding anything - not one of the bombed-out government buildings that still lay in rubble all over the city, nor one of the many power lines that remained in twisted heaps even as the heat of summer was starting to bear down. No, the crane was hoisting a giant billboard to the top of a three-story building. SUNBULA: HONEY 100% NATURAL, made in Saudi Arabia. More...
Straw protests Stevens deportation from US
Mark Sage, PA News, in New York
Cat Stevens should never have been detained and deported from the United States, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told his American counterpart tonight.
The best university in Iraq. Imagine the rest
Broken or antiquated equipment, and too few chairs to go round. Luke Harding in Baghdad reports on what Saddam, sanctions and 'shock and awe' did to science.
Standing in the physics laboratory of Baghdad University, Professor Raad Radhi points to the machine for measuring liquid helium. "It hasn't worked for two or three years," he says, in front of a twisting assembly of pipes. Colleagues nod vigorously. "In fact we haven't got anything," he adds. "We don't even have chairs for our students to sit on.
"I got my PhD from the University of Michigan. Imagine the difference between the facilities here and there. How are we expected to work?"
It is a good question. Some 17 months after the fall of Baghdad, Iraqi science is in parlous state. Most of the equipment used by Radhi and his department, much of it British, is 20 or 30 years old. "Look at this," the professor says, as he shows off the university's crumbling electronics lab. "Most of this stuff doesn't work. The few things that do work should be in a museum." More...
PALESTINE: Pappe: `Israel must be treated as South Africa was’
Dr Ilan Pappe is one of Israel's most prominent “new historians”. In May 2002, Pappe was threatened with expulsion from his university, the University of Haifa, for supporting a Jewish graduate student whose dissertation documented an massacre of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. The expulsion proceedings were suspended due to a protest by international academics. Green Left Weekly's Nick Everett spoke with Pappe during his recent visit to Australia. More...
An Exposé of an Exposé: Seymour Hersh and the Missing Zionist-Israeli Connection
As I read Hersh’s highly publicized and influential reports in the New Yorker Magazine on torture in US occupied Iraq (1), it became increasingly apparent that this was not a thoroughly researched exposé of the higher ups responsible for the policy of torture. Hersh’s reportage was a selective account guided by selected question about selected officials. As one reads through Hersh’s version of events with increasing incredulity it is clear that Hersh hangs his whole argument and exposé of US officials involved in the use of torture on one person – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - (important to be sure) and not on the other top Defense officials who were extremely influential and responsible for war policy, establishing intelligence agencies and co-coordinating strategy and tactics during the occupation. Rumsfeld was part of an elite, which sanctioned and promoted torture. Throughout his exposé Hersh deliberately omits the role of the Zionists (Wolfowitz, Feith – numbers 2 and 3 in the Pentagon) who supported and promoted the war, torture-interrogation and particularly Israeli experts who led seminars teaching the US Military Intelligence their torture-interrogation techniques of Arab prisoners based on their half-century of practice.
In looking for documentary sources of torture interrogation Hersh relies on academic texts and 20 year old CIA manuals, not Israeli practice widely disseminated by the Mossad and Shin Bet advisers presently involved in torture in neighboring Palestine and Iraq today. More...
Tue Sep 21, 2004
The Last Deception
It's Ayad Allawi week. President Bush, starting with his address at the U.N. today, will try to present Mr. Allawi - a former Baathist who the BBC reports was chosen as prime minister because he was "equally mistrusted by everyone" - as the leader of a sovereign nation on the path to democracy. If the media play along, Mr. Bush may be able to keep the Iraq disaster under wraps for a few more weeks. More...
Seymour Hersh's Alternative History of Bush's War
The crack investigative reporter tells Salon about a disastrous battle the U.S. brass hushed up, the frightening True Believers in the White House, and how Iran, not Israel, may have manipulated us into war.
By Mary Jacoby
Sept. 18, 2004 "Salon" -- Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Seymour Hersh has written more than two dozen stories for the New Yorker magazine on the secret machinations of the Bush administration in what the White House calls the "war on terrorism." His revelations, including an investigation of a group of neoconservatives at the Pentagon who set up their own special intelligence unit to press the case for invading Iraq, have consistently broken news.
After Abu Ghraib
Huda Alazawi was one of the few women held in solitary in the notorious Iraqi prison. Following her release, she talks for the first time to Luke Harding about her ordeal
It began with a phone call. In November last year 39-year-old Huda Alazawi, a wealthy Baghdad businesswoman, received a demand from an Iraqi informant. He was working for the Americans in Adhamiya, a Sunni district of Baghdad well known for its hostility towards the US occupation. His demand was simple: Madame Huda, as her friends and family know her, had to give him $10,000. If she failed to pay up, he would write a report claiming that she and her family were working for the Iraqi resistance. He would pass it to the US military and they would arrest her.
"It was clearly blackmail," Alazawi says, speaking in the Baghdad office of her trading company. "We knew that if we gave in, there would be other demands." The informant was as good as his word. In November 2003, he wrote a report that prompted US soldiers to interrogate Alazawi's brother, Ali, and her older sister, Nahla, now 45. Wearing a balaclava, he also led several raids with US soldiers on the families' antique-filled Baghdad properties. More...
Mon Sep 20, 2004
When the Rabbits Get a Gun
This is the comforting fiction: Osama bin Laden is a monster who sprang whole from the fetid mire. He had no childhood, no influences, no education, no experiences to form his view of the world. He did not exist, and then he did, a vessel into which the universe poured the essence of evil. It is a simple, straightforward story of a man who hates freedom and kills for the pure joy of feeling innocent blood drip from his fingers. More...
The Temple Mount Bombers
The Security Service is haunted by a terrible fear: that another Israeli Prime Minister will be assassinated. The extreme right-wing, which does not hide its admiration for Yigal Amir and his deed, harbors some who dream of a similar action. After all, if Amir succeeded in murdering the Oslo process, why shouldn’t another Amir succeed in murdering the process of dismantling the settlements in the Gaza Strip? More...
`Israel must be treated as South Africa was’
Dr Ilan Pappe is one of Israel's most prominent “new historians”. In May 2002, Pappe was threatened with expulsion from his university, the University of Haifa, for supporting a Jewish graduate student whose dissertation documented an massacre of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. The expulsion proceedings were suspended due to a protest by international academics. Green Left Weekly's Nick Everett spoke with Pappe during his recent visit to Australia. More...
Apartheid Israel: An interview with Uri Davis
Jon Elmer: Your autobiography subtitle describes you as an "anti-Zionist Palestinian Jew." By way of introduction, can you explain that designation?
Uri Davis: Well, that particular designation is informed by a commitment to a rather conventional principle: the separation of religion from the state. I very much adhere to this principle, which I think is a hugely important contribution of the American and French revolutions, and a great advance toward humanism worldwide.
I attempt to subscribe to this principle, and possibly even expand it further in suggesting that it would be well-applied not only to religion - to synagogues, churches and mosques - but also to one's ethnic identity. The state should not intervene in people's choice of ethnicity, nationality, religion or tribal affiliation. That applies universally, including to the situation in Palestine and Israel.
In this context, the idea of a Jewish state is not, to my mind, such a brilliant or positive idea; rather than separating religion, ethnicity, nationality or tribal affiliation from the state, Israel weds all of these to the state.
Sun Sep 19, 2004
IFJ Demands Inquiry into Death of Journalist in US Missile Strike
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today backed protests by journalists in the Palestinian territories over the killing yesterday of Mazen Al-Tomaizi, a television journalist, when a United States helicopter fired on a crowd in Baghdad after insurgents attacked a military vehicle. More...
AIPAC'S Power Or American Cowardice
It was 1996, and Bill Clinton was president. To give the rascal his due, he was laboring mightily to make the Middle East peace process work. That same year, three American neoconservatives produced a policy paper for the newly elected Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel and Palestine : Choosing Sides
The most monumental cover-up in media history may be the one I’m about to describe. In my entir experience with American journalism, I have never found anything as extreme, sustained, and omnipresent. More...
Sat Sep 18, 2004
Secret papers show Blair was warned of Iraq chaos
Tony Blair was warned a year before invading Iraq that a stable post-war government would be impossible without keeping large numbers of troops there for "many years", secret government papers reveal.
The documents, seen by The Telegraph, show more clearly than ever the grave reservations expressed by Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, over the consequences of a second Gulf war and how prescient his Foreign Office officials were in predicting the ensuing chaos.
This Is Bush's Vietnam
The rows of simple white headstones in the broad expanses of brilliant green lawns are scrupulously arranged, and they seem to go on and on, endlessly, in every direction. More...
Far Graver than Vietnam
Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale
Thursday September 16, 2004
'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday. More...
The Resort to Force
As Colin Powell explained the National Security Strategy (NSS) of September 2002 to a hostile audience at the World Economic Forum, Washington has a "sovereign right to use force to defend ourselves'' from nations that possess WMD and cooperate with terrorists, the official pretexts for invading Iraq. The collapse of the pretexts is well known, but there has been insufficient attention to its most important consequence: the NSS was effectively revised to lower the bars to aggression. The need to establish ties to terror was quietly dropped. More significant, Bush and colleagues declared the right to resort to force even if a country does not have WMD or even programs to develop them. It is sufficient that it have the "intent and ability'' to do so. Just about every country has the ability, and intent is in the eye of the beholder. The official doctrine, then, is that anyone is subject to overwhelming attack. Colin Powell carried the revision even a step further. The president was right to attack Iraq because Saddam not only had "intent and capability'' but had "actually used such horrible weapons against his enemies in Iran and against his own people''-- with continuing support from Powell and his associates, he failed to add, following the usual convention. Condoleezza Rice gave a similar version. With such reasoning as this, who is exempt from attack? Small wonder that, as one Reuters report put it, "if Iraqis ever see Saddam Hussein in the dock, they want his former American allies shackled beside him.'' More...
Thu Sep 16, 2004
He's Just Sleeping, I Kept Telling Myself
It started with a phone call early on Sunday morning: "Big pile of smoke over Haifa Street." Still half asleep I put on my jeans, cursing those insurgents who do their stuff in the early morning. What if I just go back to bed, I thought - by the time I will be there it will be over. In the car park it struck me that I didn't have my flak jacket in the car, but figured it was most probably just an IED (improvised explosive device) under a Humvee and I would be back soon. More...
Too Much to Atone for on Yom Kippur
11 September 2004 - At 8:30am yesterday, the newsreader on Pacifica Radio's Morning Show told us of Shaul Mofaz's latest announcement that "Israel has locked down the West Bank and Gaza Strip until the Jewish holiday season ends in October…from fears of Palestinian attacks." (Direct quotation).
But what will prevent Israeli attacks? And what about the (very real) fears of Palestinians?
Unbelievable. Are we to infer that the news editor just accepts this as though it were normal? It is not normal to imprison a whole nation and keep from them every necessity of life. But it is certainly a novel way of celebrating Holy Days! And it serves the Zionist purpose very well - it reinforces the Jewishness which has been imposed upon Palestine since 1947 and is a vicious re-assertion of Jewish dominance.
As a result of the ethnic cleansing of the Christian population by the Jewish colonizers since 1948, Palestine is now largely Muslim: on Muslim Holy Days Israel celebrates by unleashing the full might of its state terror, launching deadly military assaults upon the Palestinian people.
Now, for the Jewish holy season when Jews around the world celebrate their New Year and Day of Atonement, the whole of a country, Palestine with its 3.5 million people, will be 'hermetically sealed' by the Israeli military under the kind of "lockdown" not experienced anywhere else on earth - it's a concept without equal or precedent, and it is devastating to every tiny aspect of life.
The United Nations has repeatedly asked Israel for implementation of the Geneva Conventions for the protection of the civilian population in the Occupied Territories (where, in any case, Israel has no legitimacy) against the arbitrary actions of the occupying state - without a single positive response: Israel has decided that it is outside the Law.
Lockdown, the latest, extreme violation, is just a continuation of Israeli actions over 37 years and more, and grows from its policy of curfew and closure. Indeed, it is an intensification of closure, and actually combines the horrors of closure with the terror of curfew.
Let me now tell you what it means for the populace which is to be 'locked down'. More...
Wed Sep 15, 2004
"I'm a Journalist! I'm Dying! I'm Dying!": One of Baghdad's Bloodiest Days
"I am a journalist. I'm dying, I'm dying," screamed Mazen al-Tumeizi, a correspondent for the Arabic television channel al-Arabiya, after shrapnel from a rocket fired by an American helicopter interrupted his live broadcast and slammed into his back.
Twelve others were killed and 61 wounded by rockets from two US helicopters on Haifa Street in central Baghdad. They had fired into a crowd milling around a burning Bradley fighting vehicle that had been hit by a rocket or bomb hours before. More...
Tue Sep 14, 2004
The War OF Terrorism
As the powerful seek domination their control of language is as important to their success as their possession of weapons to frighten and kill. The ability to pin the label of terrorist on their targets, and to have themselves (and clients) merely engaging in counter-terror and retaliation is a major advantage of the powerful, as terror is a highly invidious word. Who can oppose combating and defending against terror? More...
Mon Sep 13, 2004
What is Living Worth?
Finally the shroud is lifting from the events of three years ago. We know now that the attacks were being directed by Vice-President Cheney, and with his kind of insider assistance, it is no wonder they not only succeeded but were allowed to continue for 106 minutes, uninterrupted. More...
Rumsfeld's Dirty War On Terror
In an explosive extract from his new book, Seymour Hersh reveals how, in a fateful decision that led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the US defence secretary gave the green light to a secret unit authorised to torture terrorist suspects.
In the late summer of 2002, a CIA analyst made a quiet visit to the detention centre at the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where an estimated 600 prisoners were being held, many, at first, in steel-mesh cages that provided little protection from the brutally hot sun. Most had been captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan during the campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida. More...
The Point We Keep Missing
The Biggest Problems With The World Are Americans
By John Kaminski
There is a toxic quality to war that affects the inner life of individuals and, as a collective consequence, the society itself. In the degradation and dehumanization of the individual lies the destruction of all mankind.
- Butler Shaffer
Commuting in the time of occupation
It is well known that getting in and out of Gaza is not for the faint-hearted. But who could have known that this would take five taxis, four buses, one donkey cart and a combined total of 35 hours?
If tortuous is the word that best describes the route, then torturous is the word that perhaps comes closest to describing the journey.
I needed to renew my US visa, but the Americans, like many Western countries, have closed their offices in Gaza. Tel Aviv is off limits to all Palestinians, and the next closest consulate is in Cairo, Egypt. More...
Sun Sep 12, 2004
“God Wills It!”
Two shocking manifestos were published this week. Both call for comment.
One of them declares that dismantling the settlements in the Gaza Strip is a “crime against humanity”. It does not mention that they were set up on the land reserves of a million Palestinians crowded in the tiny strip, and rob them of their scarce water. Their removal, it says, is an “expression of tyranny, evil and arbitrariness”. Officers and soldiers are called upon not to take part in this “ethnic cleansing”.
This manifesto is signed by the father and brother of Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as Meir Har-Zion, the favorite pupil of Ariel Sharon, who became famous in the 1950s for slitting the throats of several innocent Beduins with his own hands in revenge for the killing of his sister. Two former Directors General of the Prime Minister’s office also signed. Most of the signatories are not religious. More...
We Should Not Have Allowed 19 Murderers To Change Our World
09/11/04 "The Independent" --- So, three years after the international crimes against humanity in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania we were bombing Fallujah. Come again? Hands up those who knew the name of Fallujah on 11 September 2001. Or Samarra. Or Ramadi. Or Anbar province. Or Amarah. Or Tel Afar, the latest target in our "war on terror'' although most of us would find it hard to locate on a map (look at northern Iraq, find Mosul and go one inch to the left). Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.
Sat Sep 11, 2004
Pulling Up the Welcome Mat
Has academic freedom fallen victim to post-September 11 efforts to safeguard the country's borders? For some people, the U.S. government's revoking of a visa for Tariq Ramadan, a controversial Muslim scholar, has raised such questions. Are their concerns valid? Why do other people consider him such a threat?
Tariq Ramadan, 42, is a professor of Islamic studies and philosophy at the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland.
A transcript of the chat follows More...
Fri Sep 10, 2004
Pots and Black kettles: Powell utters the G-word
On September9 ,2004 , in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, accused the government of Sudan of genocide as follows:
“When we reviewed the evidence compiled by our team, we concluded -- I concluded -- that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility, and that genocide may still be occurring.”
Consider the context of this statement. The US conducted a war of aggression against Iraq, and it has therefore committed a supreme international crime . Therefore, American leaders -- including General Powell -- “are guilty of having committed the supreme international crime in Iraq .” Furthermore, even while Powell was accusing the Sudanese government, the US military in Iraq were engaged in actions that can only be considered war crimes or worse. So here is General Powell, a mass criminal, accusing the Sudanese government of some retail barbarity. It is not an issue of whether or not such crimes are occurring, but what is revolting is to find Powell sanctimoniously accusing the Sudanese. It is another case of the “pot calling the kettle black.” More...
Why America Should Welcome Tariq Ramadan
At the behest of the U.S. Homeland Security Department, the State Department has revoked a visa for Tariq Ramadan, a theologian of Swiss nationality, thereby preventing him from assuming a teaching position at the University of Notre Dame. The damage done to academic freedom is serious, but the harm to our country's efforts to combat Islamic extremism is worse. More...
Toward a True Democratic State in the Middle East: The Emerging Case for a Single-State Solution
Recently, the debate about Israel and Palestine has taken an odd turn. The idea of a single democratic state in historic Palestine, once thought dead, has re- emerged as an option worthy of consideration. For some, the idea of a single state is a matter of realism. Tony Judt, for example, argues in The New York Review of Books that the integration of the West Bank may already be irreversible, and suggests that a single binational state may be the only alternative to ethnic cleansing. More recently, Noah Cohen has criticized Noam Chomsky's endorsement of a two-state solution. In Cohen's view, we ought to think of Palestine on the model of South Africa, and follow its solution of endorsing a democratic state for all who live in it.
Like many, I long favored a two-state solution. It seemed to me the best of a set of bad solutions to the problem of two peoples living side by side on a small parcel of land. I believe now that I was wrong. The two-state solution is neither moral nor realistic. The only politically and ethically viable approach to the problem of Israel and Palestine is to support a single democratic secular state that provides equal rights for all of its citizens. Furthermore, the failure to recognize this has, I believe, helped underwrite some of the most egregious of Israel's policies. The most important reason for this has not, to my knowledge, yet been sufficiently addressed. I would like to do so here. More...
The First Thousand
This is important, because only when something gets to this level can it become of potential importance to others. So what does this title refer to: The first thousand what—dollars, lies, obscenities, human lives, or all of the above? More...
Fellow Americans: Why does the rest of the world hate you and me?
Paul J. Balles considers why world repugnance at US policies now extends to ordinary Americans. He asks his fellow Americans whether they deserve this hatred and concludes: "If, instead of seeking to understand the causes and possible cures for the bloody actions we've engendered, we carry on prompting the actions, we deserve whatever the outcome may be."
Outside of America, the rest of the world hates you and me. Yes, hates! And yes, you! Hates America; and hates Americans!
In 35 years of living in the Middle East and travelling around the world, I have never before felt the acrimony that I've seen and heard and felt during the past year. More...
Dude, where are the Arabs?
Amira Howeidy wonders why the Arabs have rallied around Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11
The controversial Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has finally arrived in our movie theatres. After the film was banned in several Arab countries, few expected the Egyptian authorities would approve the anti-Bush, anti-war diatribe which focusses a significant part of its contempt on the Saudi royal family. But they did. Moreover, the release has been accompanied by an advertising campaign on an unprecedented scale for a foreign film. Huge promotional Fahrenheit 9/11 billboards have been strategically placed at the length of Cairo's main 6th of October bridge, while the impressive trailer was recently aired on Egyptian TV. More...
How Are You, Non-Violence?
At the mass meeting with Arun Gandhi, the grandson of the Mahatma, in Abu-Dis, I observed the faces of the participants. While Gandhi was preaching non-violence, I imagined a debate between two young Palestinians in the audience.
Thu Sep 09, 2004
Tne Unwinnable War
GEORGE W. BUSH finally told the truth. It happened last week when he said of the war on terrorism, "I don't think you can win it." More...
“…they beat him so much that he can no longer smile” - Ten years of Israeli state terrorism as experienced by one Nablus family
‘Palestinian Couple wait to see their Five Sons in Zionist Jail’ - reads a recent headline on the Palestine Information Center.
The couple is Abu Bakr and his wife Umm Bakr (abu is father, umm, mother, Bakr, their first-born son) – and, indeed, their five sons are undergoing torture in Zionist prisons. This is a Nabulsi family very dear to me and I weep for the quiet dignity of their words and the courage, endurance and steadfastness they have shown throughout the 37 years of merciless, relentless Occupation. In my notes, I had written that ‘quite by chance’ this extraordinary family granted me the privilege of becoming their ‘close and trusted friend’, but I know now that nothing happens by chance in Nablus.
Like all Palestinian prisoners, Umm and Abu Bakr’s five sons are entirely innocent of any crime – every one either a political prisoner (mu:ataqal seyyassi) or a member of the Legal Resistance (mu:ataqal ascari) captured while fighting against the illegal, Israeli occupation of Palestine. I felt outraged when I read under that PIC headline the words of a Zionist ‘judge’ (not a judge but an army officer) at a ‘court’ (not a court but a military tribunal), about Umm Bakr - not a defendant but a suffering mother at the sentencing of one of her sons. In his delusional, paranoid hatred the judge spat out that ‘she is a mother who doesn’t deserve to live because she gave birth to five terrorists’. A non-judge sentencing a non-defendant! And, as with all the Israeli propaganda statements, there is not a shred of evidence to back it up.
So, let me tell you about this cultured, gentle family so that you can see for yourselves. More...
Wed Sep 08, 2004
UN agent: Apartheid in territories worse than S. Africa
South African law professor John Dugard, the special rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, has written in a report to the UN General Assembly that there is "an apartheid regime" in the territories "worse than the one that existed in South Africa."
As an example, Dugard points to the roads only open to settlers, from which Palestinians are banned. More...
The slaughter of Iraq's intellectuals
Since the occupation began, some 200 leading Iraqi academics, most of them in the humanities and social sciences, have been killed. Is the CIA responsible? By Andrew Rubin
Control, intimidation, and even murder of Iraqi intellectuals, professors, lecturers and teachers has become more or less systematic since the US-led invasion of Iraq began in March 2003. Under the subsequent occupation, initially governed by a body called the Coalition Provisional Authority, US military officials dismissed many Iraqi intellectuals from university positions, often on spurious grounds; and a surprisingly large number fell victim to assassination. The Union of Iraqi Lecturers believes that roughly 200 have been killed, and estimates by various professors in Iraq back up this figure.
Intellectuals, professors, lecturers and teachers are being assassinated on what seems to be almost a regular basis. More...
Mon Sep 06, 2004
Corporals Don't Order Nuclear Radiation Weapons, Presidents Do
President George W. Bush's on demand concert performance dubbed "Shock and Awe" hit the Iraqis hard. It was March 20, 2003 and the full court press was totally ON! It was us or them. No Choice!
Surprise! The whole world now knows the nation of Iraq was defenseless before the "only remaining" Mighty Super Power War Machine. It was a turkey shoot. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
The far superior American weapons guaranteed killing, maiming, cooking, and dismembering Iraqi soldiers and civilians; that much was child's play. The really good part, as far as a beaming President Bush and his Neo-Cons were concerned, was the unseen slaughter of the Iraqi soldiers' and civilian's children and grand children into eternity with great birth defects and fearsome cancers! More...
Sat Sep 04, 2004
The hoo-ha about John Kerry's Vietnam War record reminds me of a conversation I had with a teenage baby sitter back in the 1960s when the war was actually going on in Vietnam. More...
A Terrible Lesson from a Classroom in Beslan
The west can no longer ignore the violence and killings in Chechnya
Children make it different. Like the tragedies of Columbine and Dunblane, the terror that stalks the classrooms of besieged Middle School 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, is uniquely disturbing. More...
Fri Sep 03, 2004
Noah Cohen: Noam Chomsky and ‘Left’ Apologetics for Injustice in Palestine
It’s particularly interesting in the case of Palestine to see where US intellectuals and progressives decide that it’s necessary to be "realistic" and where "principled;" where they choose to accept more or less the general media consensus about "the boundaries of acceptable discourse" and where they reject it. In the case of Palestine, people who are generally on record as calling for forthrightness and honesty in the demand for justice in political discourse, who criticize a false "pragmatism" oriented toward the corporate media and academic political consultants and who question generalizing statements about popular consensus, suddenly become believers in pragmatism and the limits of what the discourse will allow. An interview with Noam Chomsky published on Znet under the title "Justice for Palestine?" (Znet, March 30, 2004) is an exemplary contribution to this genre of left apologetics. Since it contains so many of the arguments generally advanced to legitimize some form of continued existence for an Israeli system of colonialism and Apartheid—and to shore up rear-guard support for it among US progressives—it is worth examining in full. In general, the argument rests on two pillars:
(1) Israel’s history of colonial occupation and expansion must be separated from all other colonial histories as a special case and special consideration must be given to Zionist colonial settlers as a historically vulnerable group;
2) Since this "historically vulnerable group" also has massive military power, nuclear weapons, and U.S. military and economic support, calling for an end to the colonial regime is unrealistic; it only hurts the colonized, and should be redirected to more useful activities.
The first is a tortured attempt to meet arguments about justice; the second is an attempt to make them moot by arguments about realism. More...
Advocacy and Realism: A reply to Noah Cohen
[This is a reply to an article by Noah Cohen, which in turn is a response to an interview Chomsky gave with Shalom and Podur several months ago.]
Noah Cohen’s charges raise some interesting questions about advocacy, principle, and realism, which have much broader applications. Let’s focus on his particular case – defense of Palestinian rights -- bringing up the broader issues in this context. The core question, then, has to do with the stands that can be taken by people with serious concerns for the fate of the Palestinians, who have suffered severely and face an even more miserable future unless we find ways to reverse the processes now underway, for which we bear considerable responsibility and accordingly, can influence if we choose. More...
The Cohen-Chomsky Debate Continues: Chomsky's "Realism" and "Advocacy" : Advocacy for what and for whom?
Editor's Note: Noah Cohen (New England Committee to Defend Palestine) challenged Noam Chomsky in his 8/23/04 critical analysis: Noam Chomsky and ‘Left’ Apologetics for Injustice in Palestine (originally published on Axis of Logic). Cohen's challenge goes to the heart of the horrific conditions faced by the Palestinian people every day. Until Cohen opened this debate, the "Left" - so-called, has dominated the discussion in the Corporate Media and in large sectors of the Alternative Media, presenting a "two-state solution" as the only realistic alternative for Palestine. Chomsky took Cohen's critique seriously enough to respond in an article titled: Advocacy and Realism: A reply to Noah Cohen (published on ZNet and posted on Axis of Logic)
Noah Cohen's reply to Chomsky's defense is published below. Readers are encouraged to submit comments on this debate to Axis of Logic. - Les Blough, Editor
Chomsky's "Realism" and "Advocacy" : Advocacy for what and for whom?
I'm glad to see that Chomsky took the trouble to publish his response to my article, if for no other reason than that his response has provoked ZNet to print the critique. (I sent it to ZNet when I wrote it; up to now it has circulated on e-mail and on other websites.) Perhaps ZNet will also print this further reply.
In fact, Chomsky largely ignores the substance of the critique. He comments directly only on one passage from the beginning, which he also misconstrues. In discussing Chomsky's apologetics for injustice, I gave first the general form of an argument for Israel continually advanced by its 'left' apologists; I then gave its specific form in Chomsky's hands. I trust that readers will look back at the original and see whether they think that the quotations I cited from Chomsky contain the basic assumptions of the general argument. Their specific form, for Chomsky, is as follows: More...
Thu Sep 02, 2004
Days of plunder
Coalition forces are doing little to prevent the widespread looting and destruction of Iraq's world-famous historical sites
The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban was met with an outcry in the United States, Britain and the countries that form the coalition in Iraq. Yet the coalition forces can now claim, among other things, the destruction of the legendary city of Babylon.
Ironically, the bombing campaign of 2003 had not damaged archeological sites. It was only in the aftermath, during the occupation, that the most extensive cultural destruction took place. At first there was the looting of the museums under the watch of coalition troops, but that was to be followed by more extensive and active destruction.
Wed Sep 01, 2004
Teacher slain in Mosul ambush
Unknown assailants have shot dead a university lecturer in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, ambushing the teacher as she was driving to work.
Police said on Friday the men had blocked a road and opened fire on Dr Iman Abd al-Munim Yunus with AK-47 assault rifles when her car approached.
Yunis was head of the translation department at Mosul University's College of Arts.
Aljazeera learnt that the lecturer had previously received death threats.
Police said there was no obvious motive for the attack, but anti-government forces regularly target Iraq's political and intellectual elite as part of their campaign to destabilise the interim government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
Scholar under siege defends his record
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, without offering an explanation, has revoked a visa that was granted to me to teach at the University of Notre Dame. In Sunday's Chicago Tribune on the Commentary page, Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, provided his "explanation" for this action. In what follows I respond to his unfounded allegations.
- Pipes claims that I have praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan al-Turabi. More...
Ramadan's vital work
The department of homeland security's de facto veto of the University of Notre Dame's appointment of the Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan to a chair in the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies is offensive, not least as a denial of academic freedom (An oft-repeated 'truth', August 31). This revocation of Ramadan's work visa bears the imprint of those influential supporters of Israel's rightwing government in the Pentagon. These pro-Sharon neocons have been at the centre of the Bush administration's foreign policy. More...
The Ban on a Muslim Scholar
Tariq Ramadan, a professor at the College of Geneva and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, is the author of a book that is perhaps the most hopeful work of Muslim theology in the past thousand years. This month he was to come to America to take the position of Luce professor of religion, conflict and peacebuilding at Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, when suddenly his visa was revoked. Apparently Notre Dame didn't realize what a dangerous man it was getting.
A degree in bullying and self-interest? No thanks
Turn to the Guardian's university clearing pages and there are many vacancies for a subject that was once hugely popular. Until recently, American studies departments sprang up everywhere. But no longer.
Now 28 universities still have American studies places unfilled, and they include many at well-regarded institutions - Essex, Keele, Kent and Swansea among them. Due to lack of demand, five universities have closed American studies departments while others have cut staff. Keele, traditionally the top-ranking American studies department, with a maximum, grade five ranking for research for the past few years, has had to fire half its staff. Professor Ian Bell at Keele says: "Students don't want to be branded by doing American studies. They still want to do American modules as part of English or history but, after Bush, they shy away from being labelled as pro-American - not after the obscenity of Iraq." More...