Our invisble protectors
25 Aug 2010

We are in very capable hands:

Members of the brilliant, highly trained, and dedicated team of elite professionals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to protect our nation and keep its citizens out of harm’s way announced Tuesday that they do not exist.
“I know most Americans like to believe there are selfless, ultra-intelligent operatives like me out there watching over everything from an underground control room,” said the Rhodes Scholar Navy SEAL national security official who for the past 10 years we have all mistakenly presumed to be an actual human being. “Unfortunately, though, I’m not employed by the U.S. government, I’m not working at all hours to foil terrorist plots, nor am I part of some secret network of sharp, capable agents, because no such network exists.”
“And again, neither do I,” the imaginary man added.


The rise of Pinkwater
 25 Aug 2010  

More here.


Handy tips for those wanting to define anti-Semitism
 25 Aug 2010

A Yale conference on “anti-Semitism”, featuring mainly pro-settler academics, many of whom appear regularly in the Western press, that suggests any real criticism of Israel is akin to Jew-hatred.


America says; democracy in the Mid-East is for pussies
25 Aug 2010

Akiva Eldar in Haaretz on Washington’s desperate attempt to continue to maintain “democratic” Israel in the Middle East and US-backed dictatorships in the rear:

Despite the fact that they occurred almost simultaneously, any connection between the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq and Washington’s invitation of the leaders of Jordan and Egypt to a summit inaugurating direct Israel-Palestinian talks might appear to be entirely coincidental.
But it is hard to believe the White House is unaware of the strategic implications of its unilateral withdrawal from Iraq for the balance of power between pragmatic regimes, like Egypt and Jordan, and fundamentalist forces led by Iran. And Washington sees thawing the frozen peace process between Israel and the Palestinians – and not only the Palestinians – as the key to bolstering the region’s pro-Western axis.


Peter Beinart in Sydney
25 Aug 2010

Saw Peter Beinart tonight in Sydney. Talking about US power, or lack thereof. He’s articulate, bright and knows his subject. And yet Beinart seems oddly detached from the human beings affected by US foreign policy. Victims of Washington are absent in his analysis. And Beinart didn’t mention Israel. I couldn’t ask my question about his recent essay but told him personally before that t’was important coming from a Jew at the centre of the Zionist establishment.
UPDATE: Just remembered another interesting comment by Beinart. When asked about the Obama administration’s foreign policy legacy, he talked about the expansion of the drone assassination program. It may be “illegal”, he said and immoral and counter-productive.


Pull out of Afghanistan now, says new Australian MP
 24 Aug 2010

An Australian politician who actually thinks before he speaks on Afghanistan (unlike the parrots in the major parties):

Andrew Wilkie has said the justification given by both parties for keeping Australian troops in Afghanistan is a “great lie”.
Mr Wilkie has argued that both parties lied during the election campaign about the relevance of the war to Australia’s national security and has called for a parliamentary debate on the almost decade-long conflict.
“We certainly do need a debate about why we’re there,” he told the ABC.
“And one of the great lies, one of the big lies of this federal election campaign – a lie told by both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party – is that we have to be there to fight terrorists for Australia’s national security.
“And that became a lie years ago once the global extremist Islamic threat morphed into a network around the world.”
Honesty in government is a crucial issue for Mr Wilkie, who came to national prominence as an intelligence analyst with the Office of National Assessments when he “blew the whistle” over the emptiness of the Howard government’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
“If Western forces – the US in particular – had stayed [in Afghanistan] in 2002 and finished the job we wouldn’t be there now, but instead they raced off to invade Iraq and to prepare to invade Iraq,” he said.
“So people are dying now in Afghanistan, including our soldiers, unnecessarily because of the decisions of the Howard government back in 2002.
“Ultimately, we have to get out as quickly as we can and let Afghanistan find its own natural political level. And a lot of people will die in the process. And it’s not my fault. It’s the fault of the decision-makers who got us there in the first place.”

Wilkie has been speaking out against illegal wars for years.


Israel is always run by the Bush administration
 24 Aug 2010

A handy reminder of the Zionist mindset, from the New York Times on 12 September 2001:

Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would ”strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”


The “enlightened” occupation
 24 Aug 2010

The bravery of people speaking out against Israel’s corrupted soul:

It was a single word scrawled on a wall at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that unlocked something deep inside Inbar Michelzon, two years after she had completed compulsory military service in the Israeli Defence Force.
The word was “occupation”. “I really felt like someone was speaking the unspoken,” she recalled last week in a Tel Aviv cafe. “It was really shocking to me. There was graffiti saying, ‘end the occupation’. And I felt like, OK, now I can talk about what I saw.”
Michelzon became one of a handful of former Israeli servicewomen who have spoken out about their military experiences, a move that has brought accusations of betrayal and disloyalty. It is impossible to know how representative their testimonies are, but they provide an alternative picture of the “most moral army in the world”, as the IDF describes itself.
Concerns about Israeli army culture were raised last week following the publication on Facebook of photographs of a servicewoman posing alongside blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinians. The images were reminiscent of the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq. But the former soldier, Eden Abergil, said she didn’t understand what was wrong with the pictures, which were described by the IDF as “ugly and callous”.
Israel is unique in enlisting women at the age of 18 into two years of compulsory military service. The experience can be brutalising for the 10% who serve in the occupied territories, as Michelzon did.
“I left the army with a ticking bomb in my belly,” she said. “I felt I saw the backyard of Israel. I saw something that people don’t speak about. It’s almost like I know a dirty secret of a nation and I need to speak out.”
Michelzon, now 29, began her military service in September 2000, just when the second intifada was breaking out. “I joined the army with a very idealistic point of view – I really wanted to serve my country.” She was posted to Erez, the crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, to work in the radio control room.
“There was a lot of tension, a lot of shootings and suicide bombings,” she said. “Little by little you understand the rules of the game. You need to make it hard for the Arabs – that’s the main rule – because they are the enemy.”


It’s illegal to even protest illegal Jewish colonies
 24 Aug 2010

The Magnes Zionist writes about yet another Israeli jailing of a “Palestinian Gandhi“.
Protesting the occupation in the West Bank is illegal in the wonderful democracy known as the Jewish state:

So what were the charges against Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the internationally-known organizer of the Bil’in protest, that stuck? Exonerated of stone-throwing and weapons possession (a charge that even John Stewart in his wildest satire could not have concocted), he was convicted for “incitement” and “organizing illegal demonstrations.”
As the statement below reports, incitement is defined, under Israel military law, as “the attempt, verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order.” Forget for a moment that the evidence was gathered from minors arrested in the middle of the night. Since any protest against the expropriation of land in the Occupied Territories (by Arabs; Jewish settlers, under the system of Hafradah, are not tried in military courts) can be interpreted as IPSO FACTO disturbing the public peace or public order (what public peace or public order? These protests are in Palestinian villages), the law, in effect, bans all Palestinian protest. And if you organize a non-violent protest, you can sit in jail for up to ten years.


What is happening in the anti-Assange campaign?
24 Aug 2010

The increasingly murky world of the accuser against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

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