Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Bombshell: Israeli intelligence posed as CIA to recruit terror group for covert war on Iran

Jan 13, 2012

Alex Kane

Screenshot via

Acclaimed author and journalist Mark Perry has published an explosive, must-read investigation in Foreign Policy that exposes how the Israeli Mossad recruited known Pakistani terrorists to wage covert war on Iran by disguising themselves as CIA agents. Perry opens:

Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation.

The whole piece is worth reading. So let me try to unpack some of what Perry reports:

This is a huge story that gives crucial context to the current U.S.-Iran-Israel crisis going on right now. Perry’s article indicates that the speculation that Israel has been behind a covert campaign of bombings, assassinations and more in Iran to stop its nuclear energy program is right on the money; the scope of that campaign is much larger than previously reported, and may encompass incidents like the May 2009 Jundallah attack in Iran that killed 25 people, which Perry writes about.

Perry’s investigation gives the premise of my previous post on Iran (Iran wants talks, Israel pushing for war) a boost. Israel is running fast to kill any chance of of a diplomatic solution to the standoff over Iran–and the U.S. intelligence establishment doesn’t like it. From the article:

“It’s easy to understand why Bush was so angry,” a former intelligence officer said. “After all, it’s hard to engage with a foreign government if they’re convinced you’re killing their people. Once you start doing that, they feel they can do the same.”

Related to that point is this: certain sectors of the U.S. military and intelligence establishment are fed up with Israel’s tactics, and clearly see them as having a harmful effect on the United States. More from the article:

While the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel’s Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.

The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad’s efforts.

“It’s amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with,” the intelligence officer said. “Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn’t give a damn what we thought…”

The report then made its way to the White House, according to the currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush “went absolutely ballistic” when briefed on its contents.

“The report sparked White House concerns that Israel’s program was putting Americans at risk,” the intelligence officer told me. “There’s no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we’re not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians.”

Israel’s relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel’s activities jeopardized the administration’s fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel…

What has become crystal clear, however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about Israel’s actions. “This was stupid and dangerous,” the intelligence official who first told me about the operation said. “Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.”

Also related: the next time you hear complaints about the “Israeli brand” tanking in the U.S. and Europe, think about this story. Israel used fake European passports to assassinate a Hamas operative in Dubai, which upset a lot of European states. And now Perry reports that Israeli Mossad agents used American passports and cash to pass themselves off as CIA operatives. It’s as if Israel wants to be shunned as a pariah state.

And then there’s the Israel lobby angle, which is huge. President Bush was furious at Israel for doing this–but nothing was done about it. Here’s why:

A senior administration official vowed to “take the gloves off” with Israel, according to a U.S. intelligence officer. But the United States did nothing — a result that the officer attributed to “political and bureaucratic inertia.”

“In the end,” the officer noted, “it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat.” Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted, the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush’s national security team, pitting those who wondered “just whose side these guys [in Israel] are on” against those who argued that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

That reference to “political inertia” and not wanting to “rock the boat” is clearly about the power of the Israel lobby in the U.S. Bush would have been hammered by the neoconservative wing of the GOP had anything happened that resembled a “take the gloves” approach to Israel. And while Obama has, according to Perry, “drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran,” there’s just no way Israel has stopped using these tactics. But the U.S., the only nation who can stop Israel from escalating the Iran crisis, is tied up by electoral politics.

Why aren’t the best and the brightest in our MSM?

Jan 13, 2012

Annie Robbins

Benjamin Max Main pic 1
US President Barack Obama (R) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, 20 May 2011. (Photo: AFP – Jim Watson)

 Yesterday I spotted Sullivan’s  Newt’s Sugar Daddy …

… just happens to be Netanyahu’s chief propagandist in Israel. Sheldon Adelson is a Greater Israel fanatic, whose newspaper in Israel has featured full-on attacks on president Obama, featuring … Newt Gingrich. It’s important to understand that the Israeli prime minister is engaged in a full-on political campaign – against the re-election of the president of the US.

The link in Sullivan’s piece leads to the Lebanese website Al Akhbar English. I started reading“The Bibi Connection” and a little ways into it I’m like, ‘Holy Shit, awesome article. Now, if only we could get this article in the mainstream press here.’

While I was ranting on ‘they get better news about our presidential election in friggin Lebanon for Christ’s sake,’ it didn’t even occur to me to check out the author of that awesome article. It wasn’t til this morning Phil informed me, it’s Max Blumenthal.

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Max Blumenthal

You know, sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out why the best of the best of our young American reporters have their stories buried by the US msm just because they are not Zionists. And that’s what’s happening. It’s takes Sullivan linking to a Lebanese site for me to notice this great article while fear mongering war pushers  get their hyperventilating memes republished in Bloomberg and SFgate . Why aren’t  these publications republishing the best reporting surrounding the candidates and our election? A big shout out to Al Akhbar for bringing us the news. And now for our reading pleasure,  Max Blumenthal on the shadow campaign:

The US presidential election campaign that kicked off January 3 with the Iowa caucuses was the subject of a curious article attacking President Barack Obama in the mass circulation Israeli daily newspaper, Israel Hayom.

“US President Barack Obama is ‘naïve’ and needs to face up to the threat presented by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, Israel’s National Security Council concluded during a strategic discussion several days ago,” Israel Hayom reported.

The Israeli National Security Council consists of Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s closest advisers. And Israel Hayom is not just another right-leaning Israeli tabloid. Referred to by Israelis as the “Bibiton,” or Bibi’s mouthpiece, the paper is an instrument that gives him extraordinary political leverage. The obviously planted article in Israel Hayom rang like a bell sounding the start of Netanyahu’s own campaign in helping the Republican Party oust Obama from the White House.

Israel Hayom’s genesis demonstrates the depth of Netanyahu’s connections in Republican circles. It was created by one of Netanyahu’s top financial supporters, a Las Vegas-based casino tycoon named Sheldon Adelson, who is also a major donor to the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Adelson’s closest relationship is with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a longtime ally of Netanyahu who has been running a rancorous campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Netanyahu’s less than subtle intervention has become an open issue in Israeli politics. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni of the Kadima Party has criticized Netanyahu for damaging the US-Israeli relationship. “Netanyahu spoke about consensus,” Livni said in May, “and if there is a consensus in Israel, it’s that the relationship with the US is essential to Israel, and a prime minister that harms the relationship with the US over something unsubstantial is harming Israel’s security and deterrence.”

But Livni’s warning has been ignored. Rather than hesitating, the prime minister and his inner circle are moving full steam ahead in their political shadow campaign whose ultimate goal is to remove Obama. Bibi’s war against Obama is unprecedented. While Israeli prime ministers have tried to help incumbent presidents, none have ever waged a full-scale campaign to overthrow them.

Netanyahu has engaged enthusiastic allies in the Republican Congress, led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and within the right-wing media. His neoconservative allies in Washington are launching a “Super PAC” to generate emotional attack ads against Obama and any candidate that might be an obstacle to his policies. And his campaign has even broadened into an attempt to discredit the New York Times, whose editorial page and foreign policy columnists, Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen, have been critical of him.

Netanyahu’s shadow campaign is intended to be a factor in defeating Obama and electing a Republican in his place. He opposed Obama’s early demand to freeze settlements on the West Bank as a precondition for reviving the peace process, a process since the Oslo Accord that Netanyahu has attempted to stall or sabotage, despite his signing of the Wye Agreement under pressure from President Clinton. Since his adamant stand against the settlement freeze, Netanyahu has undermined every effort to engage the peace process. He appears dead set on consolidating Greater Israel, or what many Israelis call “Judea and Samaria,” and has signaled a strong desire to attack Iran.

Max is just warming up. Read the rest of The Bibi connection at Al Akhbar.

Surviving Guantánamo

Jan 13, 2012

Roqayah Chamseddine

On the 10th anniversary of the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, in commemoration of all the prisoners who have suffered, we invite you to listen to  former detainee Qari Mohemmed Saad Iqbal Madani.


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Guantanamo Photo: Getty/Shane T.McCoy/AFP

Without having being charged nor having committed a crime – and even after the authorities admitted that they had “made a mistake”, he was told that he would still have to go to Guantánamo Bay for a duration or he would have to lie and claim having a link with Osama Bin Laden, so that the authorities would in turn be able to save face.

‘I spent one year Bagram Air Base, then I was transferred to Guantánamo Bay; I was not allowed to sleep. I was not allowed to use the bathroom.
For six months they kept me in a refrigerator naked. It’s hard to explain. After spending 6 months in a refrigerator I have lost my hearing. The way I was treated…animals are not even treated this way…’

Watch the interview.

(This is crossposted on Roqayah Chamseddine’s blog The Cynical Arab)

The headline you aren’t seeing: Iran wants talks, Israel pushing for war

Jan 13, 2012

Alex Kane

Iranians hold a portrait of assassinated nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan at his funeral (Photo via National Post: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel sums up Iran’s latest diplomatic moves:

Iran has agreed to a U.N. inspector mission and to hold talks in Turkey with the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany on its nuclear program…

The U.N. delegation visit is scheduled for January 28 through the first week of February and will be headed by Herman Nackaerts, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector. Additionally, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Iran is ready for“serious” talks which he said could “yield results” if they are “not a game.”

These are openings for more diplomacy on Iran’s nuclear program. But they won’t go far unless the U.S. stops trying to “collapse” the Iranian regime.

And while the Obama administration is “relying on a secret channel of communication” with the Iranian leader to make clear what the “red lines” are for the U.S., Israel is busy trying to scuttle any chance of diplomacyIran expert Gary Sick writes in CNN that both the U.S. and Iran want negotiations to occur. But Israel and the hawkish Israel lobby in the U.S. have no interest in that.

All signs point to Israeli involvement in the assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, which has predictably resulted in Iranian threats to Israel and the U.S. and public outcries of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”

Eli Lake reports on the “circumstantial” evidence that points to Israeli involvement in the death of Roshan:

Six weeks ago in Washington, on the sidelines of a major U.S.-Israeli meeting known as the “strategic dialogue,” Israeli Mossad officers were quietly and obliquely bragging about the string of explosions in Iran. “They would say things like, ‘It’s not the best time to be working on Iranian missile design,’” one U.S. intelligence official at the December parley told The Daily Beast.

Those comments were a reference to a string of explosions at a missile-testing site outside Tehran on November 12. The explosions killed Maj. Gen. Hassan Moqqadam, the head of the country’s missile program. But the manner in which the message was delivered—informally and on the sidelines of an official discussion—also speaks to how Israel appears to seek to create the impression of responsibility for acts of violence and sabotage inside Iran without quite taking formal responsibility.

These kinds of actions even have their own Israeli euphemism, “events that happen unnaturally,” to quote the Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, from his remarks before the Knesset on Tuesday. In his testimony, Gantz promised more such unnatural events in 2012 aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear program.

The path to war with Iran has quickly become very real and very dangerous. So let’s be solid on the aggressors here, which the assassination of a young scientist makes clear. The U.S. is on a path to war, or already there, and Israel is gleefully trying to make sure a real war happens. As Sick writes, “what we need right now is a crisis exit ramp”–and that ramp doesn’t run through Tel Aviv.

What power will Paul have over Romney? (JJ Goldberg and Krauthammer ask)

Jan 13, 2012

Philip Weiss

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Charles Krauthammer says that Ron Paul is the most important story of the primary season so far, and I agree. I excerpt his comments on Paul’s political goals below.

But first the words of another mainstream pro-Israel writer, JJ Goldberg in the Forward. Both writers say that Paul will have power over Romney. And Goldberg segues from this political understanding to express parochial concern about the consequences. Warning: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear!

Read Goldberg’s John Sununu bits– some of his fears seem to involve: any Arab. (Thanks to Krauss). I’m reminded that when Walt and Mearsheimer published their attack on the Israel lobby, Goldberg was editor of the Forward, whose editorial was, “In Dark Times Blame the Jews.” Goldberg:

This is what made primary night television coverage so unsettling: the reminders that we don’t really know what Romney believes, and he may have no intention of telling us until he’s inaugurated.

Of all those reminders, the most chilling was the appearance of former New Hampshire governor John Sununu as a Romney spokesman. For those with long memories, it harkened back to the 1988 election, when Sununu was Republican candidate George H.W. Bush’s national campaign manager. Pro-Israel hawks were beating the drum for Bush that year, warning that Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis was a threat to Israel because Jesse Jackson was prominent in his party. Bush was Israel’s true friend, they said.

Nobody paid much attention to Sununu until after Election Day, even though the press was reporting some alarming facts about him (I remember, because I wrote the stories). One of the highest-ranking Lebanese Americans in national politics — and the only one then active in Arab-American community affairs — Sununu was also the only one of the 50 governors who refused to sign a 1987 proclamation saluting the 90th anniversary of Zionism and calling on the United Nations to rescind its Zionism-racism resolution. His reasoning was that governors shouldn’t dabble in foreign affairs — though he’d issued proclamations honoring Bastille Day and saluting Polish freedom on Pulaski Day. In 1988 he issued a proclamation honoring the veterans of the U.S.S. Liberty, an American naval vessel mistakenly attacked by Israeli jets in June 1967, causing 34 deaths. Sununu called the attack “vicious and unprovoked.”

Bush’s Jewish supporters insisted Sununu’s views didn’t reflect Bush’s. When word came out that Sununu was to be White House chief of staff, they said he wouldn’t be involved in Middle East policy. They said Bush was a devoted friend of Israel. Then we found out he wasn’t.

We hadn’t seen much of Sununu lately, until Romney went and found him. Or they found each other.

I believe that Goldberg has become hardened in late middle age; this view of American power and its importance for Israel is indistinguishable from the neocons in the ’70s, and why they made the long march from the Democratic Party. Didn’t like doves.

Far more respectful toward Paul, here is Charles Krauthammer at National Review, saying that Paul is the most important story of the campaign so far, and that he’s nuts– wants to get rid of Fed and CIA– but Romney will have to cut a deal with him.

He is Jesse Jackson in the 1980s, who represented a solid, African-American, liberal-activist constituency to which, he insisted, attention had to be paid by the Democratic party. Or Pat Buchanan (briefly) in 1992, who demanded — and gained — on behalf of social conservatives a significant role at a convention that was supposed to be a simple coronation of the moderate George H. W. Bush.
… His goal is to have the second-most delegates, a position of leverage from which to influence the platform and demand a prime-time speaking slot — before deigning to support the nominee at the end. The early days of the convention, otherwise devoid of drama, could very well be all about Paul.
The Republican convention could conceivably feature a major address by Paul calling for the abolition of the Fed, FEMA, and the CIA; American withdrawal from everywhere; acquiescence to the Iranian bomb — and perhaps even Paul’s opposition to a border fence lest it be used to keep Americans in.
the plain fact is that Paul is nurturing his movement toward visibility and legitimacy.

What Paul has already wrought is a signal achievement, the biggest story yet of this presidential campaign.

Israel’s nightmare: Jew against Jew

Jan 13, 2012

Lillian Rosengarten

Lillian Rosengarten

I have such a problem with Zionism today, some kind of distorted incarnation of what was once created from the ashes of the Holocaust to be a safe haven for Jews within a model of a secular nation state. I rage against attempts to blur the distinction between Zionist nationalism and Jewish religion. Of course some Jews are Zionists but I am a secular non-Zionist Jew who strongly believes in the separation of church and state for a country to be truly democratic.

From my view, nationalism in any form is dangerous. It means exceptionalism, an attitude of moral superiority, a hotbed for racism that is heightened by propaganda. Israelis in general do not know Palestinians. They are taught from an early age that all Palestinians are terrorists, that they hate Jews and want to drive them into the sea. This form of Islamophobia has spread through Europe and the US. This is the terrorism of fear. Israelis are taught Palestinians are dirty and they raise their children to be suicide bombers or to be used as human shields. Palestinians cease to be human and Israel behaves to its citizens and to tourists as if Palestinians do not exist. They have reduced them to sub-human monsters. It all sounds too familiar. Nothing about the caricature of Palestinian life is based on reality. It is a dirty myth used as a means to put an end to the Palestinian “problem.” Tragically, Israelis send their own children into the army to fight the “reviled unknown enemy” and this is considered patriotic. We know Jews have suffered and have been victims. Is it that mentality behind the wall Israel has built? Are they still “victims” of paranoia and fear? I say no! Yet, this is the justification for abominable actions perpetrated on their Palestinian neighbors and gives power to the idea of a Jewish State that belongs only to Jews. This is a dangerous road, as we know. Jews who love Israel must recognize that Jews can also do wrong and they must question and speak up against human rights abuses. The Jewish Community throughout the world but especially in the US and Europe, must distinguish the between secular Jew and Zionist Jew. This gives permission to stand up and say “No” and to debate the issues from a human rights perspective. To support the apartheid directives and the brutal forms of ethnic cleansing is to do an enormous disservice to Israel. To pretend Israel is a peace loving democracy is to be cajoled into a deception that pretends Israel is something it is not. Most important what has been done to the Palestinians by the Zionists in the name of Jews is false. What is being done to Palestinians by the Israeli Zionists will never be in my name as a Jew. To dissent is to rescue Democracy from death behind closed doors. (Molly Ivins) To dissent is not to be an anti-Semite.

I have evidence to exemplify a crucial component of Jew against Jew. As my readers most likely know, I along with six other elderly Jews set out to sail to Gaza. Human rights activists who believe in justice, we know that without justice, there can be no peace. Our mission was to show that we were Jews who did not support Zionist Israel’s agenda. In Gaza we were to be welcomed by a waiting crowd. We never made it but from the moment the IDF navy surrounded our little boat and kidnapped us to Ashdot, from the moment our beloved Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli refusnik who was tasered in the heart, from the moment I watched the Israeli navy in their scary uniforms with high boots and guns I wondered, how could Jews do this to Jews. We were not criminals, we were dissenters who speak out against Zionist Israeli policies. I was deported and cannot enter Israel for 10 years. To these soldiers, we were enemies of the state. For us, it was insanity, a state gone crazy, paranoia startlingly strong: a fear of it’s own destruction. A military state created by fear and desire for power where dissent is criminal. It is sickening, but torments me as well because I am ashamed of what Israel stands for.

When an American who runs for president states there is no such thing as Palestinians because there is no Palestine, one recognizes both racism and dishonesty. This talk was given to a Jewish audience. A pandering for votes and I suspect an enormous contempt for Israel and Jews. Lies such as this perpetuate man’s inhumanity to man and the failure to acknowledge some of the worst human rights abuses existing right in front of our noses. No, perhaps it was not meant as anti-Semitism but anti-Palestinian. What’s the difference? Hate is hate.

Nationalism has tainted the heart of Israel in its efforts to rid the country of people who also call Israel/Palestine their home. One must visit occupied Palestine and Gaza to see the truth of the deplorable crimes perpetrated on the hated neighbors. Tourists do not see outside the myth of Israel as a beautiful free democracy. Why is it anti-Semitic to shout against such abuses? If there were in Israel a separation of church and state, the boundaries that are now so blurred might be less likely to justify silencing dissenters on charges of anti-Semitism. Dissent against Israel is not anti-Semitic for it is not a statement against Jews. It is a statement against a nationalist Zionist movement that is guilty of gross human rights abuses. Incongruous as it sounds, it is the actions of the Zionist government against its Palestinian neighbors that has shaped a world response.. How can this not create anti-Jewish sentiments? What blindness prevails that propels Zionist Israel to detach itself from the humanity of Palestinians as people just like them? This is why it is so important to make a distinction between Jews and the rabid nationalism of the government of Israel. One must be awake to the painful intermarriage of religion and politics that has deepened the Israeli crisis and creates a distortion of who is a Jew. How can there be a democracy as Israel continues to hold Palestinians hostage in order to fulfill the fantasy of a Jewish State, a dream that explodes into a nightmare on the backs of the cruel occupation and murder of Palestinians?

Against a background of fragmentation, hate, violence and a police/military-run state, as Israel strives to become a Jewish majority, Charlie Rose in an interview with Ehud Barak asked, “Is a one state solution the worst thing that can happen to Israel?” Barak’s chilling response reinforces a profound failure for the hopes of Israel as a democratic state. “Israel has been established to become a Zionist Jewish state and to create a solid Jewish majority for generations.” It is Israel’s contempt and intolerance for other religions and cultures and the desire to be a “Jewish” state that is doomed to failure.

In Gaza, where I visited this past October, living conditions are a squalid hell. Hate, racist disregard to human life, harsh, brutalizing collective punishment aimed to destroy, not the lame excuse to target terrorists. What is destroyed is infrastructure required for a viable form of sustained life. What is destroyed are schools, power lines, waste facilities, water supplies, water purification systems, hospitals, homes, killing of families, killings and confiscation of the bare, sad little fishing boats used to catch a meager fish supply that may still inhabit the waste filled Mediterranean. Yet the Palestinians struggle on amazingly. It is something to see, their pride and hopes for freedom. They are a dignified people and to be witness to their suffering as well as the work they do for the Gazan population is beyond anything I have seen. Yet, it is not difficult to understand how brutalization invites hate. We can only guess how the children of Gaza who grow up amidst the endless violence, suffering, death and so much hopelessness, will grow up to despise the people (Jews) who are their enemy.

A Jewish state created through subjugation, occupation, collective punishment and humiliation of Palestinian neighbors, is not a democracy. This is not news. But these same people cry “Anti-Semitism” at the courageous ones who deplore Israel’s actions and dissent in any form it takes. I wish to reiterate, as I have written about many times about a government that has fallen into a black hole without the ability to reflect or empathize: Israel’s hard line has taken away its humanity and poetry. It is not healthy to occupy another country, for it violates the rights of individuals to be free, to live their own culture and religion with dignity. Israel’s poets must write of death for love cannot live in the presence of racism and apartheid. Listen before it is too late, for hate begets hate until there is no point of return.

This essay also appears at Palestine Chronicle.

Palestinian youth ‘fed up with illegitimate representation’ to protest negotiations

Jan 13, 2012

Allison Deger

Saeb Erakat
Saeb Erakat, chief negotiator and author of the book Life is Negotiations. (Photo: EFE)

Opposing the “negotiations to return to negotiations,” a group known as “Palestinians for Dignity,” yesterday released a statement against the meetings between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The call is for a silent demonstration on January 14, in Ramallah, protesting the political leadership and demanding Palestinian National Council elections (in which exiled Palestinians also vote).

The statement follows another, earlier this month, from Leila Khaled and other Arab intellectuals opposing the “hostile framework” of the talks:

Continuing to rely on the path of negotiations, in light of the ongoing developments in occupied Palestine and the region, and amid the daily Israeli criminal policies and attacks on the ground, deeply damages all of the efforts being made to unify the internal Palestinian front.

The recent negotiations took place in Jordan. The parties explored reconvening the quartet, an international negotiating team comprised of the U.S., the E.U., the U.N., and Russia. The last round of talks dissolved in 2010 after failing to halt settlement construction. Moving away from this staled process, the anti-normalization group seeks to revitalize national rights and popular representation.

The full text of Palestinians for Dignity’s statement is published below:

Statement on the Return to Negotiations
12 January, 2011

On the first anniversary of the ongoing Arab revolutions for justice, freedom and democracy, and the second anniversary of the Zionist Israeli aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian negotiators have again mistakenly returned to the negotiating table on January 3rd and 10th of this year. Counting on the same fruitless and failing process of the past two decades, the negotiations contradict past PLO statements that have explicitly rejected negotiations until settlement expansion is frozen, borders are clearly referenced and defined, and the fulfillment of the release of all political prisoners.

With dangerous disregard of the will and voice of the Palestinian people who have repeatedly protested these futile negotiations, failed Palestinian leadership is holding semi-clandestine meetings in Jordan.

By way of diversion, they have articulated that these meetings are merely “exploratory talks” when in fact they are negotiations to return to negotiations. Not only does this reflect the state of confusion and capriciousness on the part of the Palestinian leadership, but it also echoes its political weakness and lack of strategic vision.

While suffering daily at the hands of violent settlers, we continuously have more land swallowed by illegal colonies and an accelerated rate of the Judiaization of Jerusalem. Such negotiations have paved the way for 20 years of political subjugation and loss when their time should be spent on achieving unity and strengthening the peoples’ steadfastness to change the balance of power in favor of the Palestinian cause.

Therefore, we are calling on everyone to join us this Saturday, January 14th at 1:00 pm for a silent demonstration at the entrance of the Moqata (Irsal Street, Ramallah), to express our unequivocal refusal to these talks. Palestinian youth are fed up with illegitimate representation, a national consensus that does not unite them, and of a future state that does not guarantee the rights of the majority of the Palestinian people, in specific, Palestinian refugees in exile.

We will stand in silent protest to demand that these decision-makers adhere to the peoples’ will, withdraw immediately from these “exploratory talks,” and replace the current strategy with a strategy of resistance. We demand a strategy that is supported by political, economic, academic and cultural boycott of the Zionist entity, the strengthening of the steadfastness of the people, and preparation for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC) representative of Palestinians across the world.

Palestinians for Dignity

Carter: US backed Egyptian dictatorship for 30 years to preserve Israel treaty

Jan 13, 2012

Philip Weiss

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter speaking from Cairo to the New York Times. He says that most Egyptians want to retain the treaty with Israel, but want that treaty’s long-nullified promise of Palestinian freedom to be fulfilled. Then there’s this:

he also acknowledged that in retrospect the Egyptian revolution had cast a new light on the alliance he helped forge with Egypt’s military-backed strongmen, first President Anwar el-Sadat and then his successor, Mr. Mubarak. Many Egyptians, he said, now complain that for three decades the United States supported a dictatorship at odds with its values to preserve peace with Israel.

“I think that is true, we were,” he said. “And I can’t say I wasn’t doing that as well.”

So the U.S. helped maintain a dictatorship in the largest country in the Arab world for the sake of peace with Israel– the aforesaid only democracy in the Middle East. This is emblematic of the fact that since Partition we have opposed democratic values in the region, the idea of self-determination. We do not trust the Arab people generally because they do not like the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine. I don’t think this opposition to popular will has served Americans. And this is one reason I believe in the Israel lobby theory: for the sake of Israel, we’d toss our values when it comes to 85 million Egyptians. It’s not like Egypt has oil. And yes, Mohammad Atta, one of the leaders of the 9/11 hijackings, was Egyptian. Why did he hate us?

Obama speaks to Netanyahu– but White House refuses to say if another country was behind scientist’s murder

Jan 13, 2012

Philip Weiss

Jay Carney
Jay Carney

From yesterday’s White House briefing by Obama spox Jay Carney. A lot of tapdancing. Note the refusal to denounce the covert assassination tactic, and the question at the end about the regular communication between Netanyahu and Obama, the latest conversation being a phone call yesterday.

Q    Thank you, Jay.  The administration yesterday condemned the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist unequivocally, and I’m wondering if the White House can say just as unequivocally that Israel had nothing to do with it.

MR. CARNEY:  Well, obviously we don’t speak for any other country, Ben.  We had nothing to do with it.  This has been expressed by officials at a variety of levels of the U.S. government.  And we condemn the violence in Iran, but we’re not going to — you should not take from this anything except that we’re not speaking for any other country when we make statements like that.

Q    But the condemnation — I’m correct in saying the condemnation from the White House extends to anybody behind it, any party, any country?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, the condemnation is pretty clear.  It is condemnation in and of itself of the act of violence in Iran.  But again, our statement about — in response to accusations that there was American involvement is categorical.

Q    Okay.  So you can’t say either way whether —

MR. CARNEY:  Again, I won’t speak for any other country.

Q    Did the President address the incident in his conversation with the Prime Minister?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I think we provided a readout to you — has that gone out?  Yes — of the President’s call with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Part of their regular communications on bilateral and regional issues.

[Here’s that readout, also dated yesterday. Tells you nothing, reader:

[Today, as a part of their regular communication and cooperation on bilateral and regional issues, President  Obama spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel.  They reviewed the recent meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman and the President reaffirmed his commitment to the goal of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.  The two leaders also discussed recent Iran-related developments, including the international community’s efforts to hold Iran accountable for its failures to meet its international obligations.  The President reiterated his unshakable commitment to Israel’s security, and the President and the Prime Minister promised to stay in touch in the coming weeks on these and other issues of mutual concern.]

     The subjects were many, including the Middle East peace process, developments in the region, including in Iran.  But I won’t get more specific than that….

Q    I’m going to follow up on Iran.  What is the stated U.S. policy when it comes to Iran’s attempt to gain this nuclear technology?

MR. CARNEY:  The administration is committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Q    So it’s fair to say that covert action would be on the table?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I’m not going to discuss those kinds of things from here.  But we have a policy that’s focused on working with our international partners collectively and then, obviously, unilaterally to put pressure on Iran to abide by its international obligations, to come clean about its nuclear ambitions.  We have provided numerous opportunities for the Iranian government to act on the international community’s invitation to get right by their obligations.  And we will continue to take action to add pressure, increase their isolation until they make the right call.

Q    But you can say definitively that it wouldn’t be the policy of the United States to covertly assassinate people?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, look, I –

Q    Or be involved in some sort of attempt like that.

MR. CARNEY:  What we’ve said is that we deplore the violence, deplore the action —

Q    This violence?  Or the violence of all of the assassinations —

MR. CARNEY:  Well, it is — it’s a matter of U.S. policy in terms of the kind of action that you talk about, so I’m not about to revise that from here.  This comes up in relation to a specific incident that we have made clear that we had nothing to do with.  We’ve rejected those accusations.  We are engaged in an effort to try to pressure Iran to live up to its obligations, to give up its nuclear ambitions — nuclear weapons ambitions.  And we will continue to engage in that effort.

Q    How concerned are you about retaliation?  Is the U.S. government concerned about retaliation?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I think we’ve been categorical and clear about the fact that we were not involved in the death of this individual.  Our concern about Iranian behavior is ever present.  And we are very vigilant and mindful of various threats that can be — that are made, whether they involve the Straits of Hormuz or other areas or issues.  So — but I don’t have a specific level of concern to convey to you.

Q    If Iran decides to retaliate on Israel in a military way, U.S. response would be what?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, we are absolutely committed to Israel’s security, as we made clear again today in our readout of the President’s phone conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  But I’m not going to speculate about what we might do if some action were taken by another country.

Q    Was there any concern, by the way, of making that readout public, because it might feed the conspiracy theorists in Iran?

MR. CARNEY:  Look, I don’t think there’s any secret to the fact that we have an important and ongoing relationship with Israel.  We have many important issues to discuss with the Israeli government.  The President has many important matters to raise with Prime Minister Netanyahu and vice versa.  So that’s — those conversations are regular and ongoing.

Rick Santorum says murder of Iranian scientist was ‘wonderful thing’

Jan 13, 2012

Philip Weiss


Santorum is on the case:

“On occasion scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.- Rick Santorum

Got this from Mark Wauck, from Mark Shea’s Catholic site: “Murderers for Jesus.”  “Some people will try to make the claim that he was not a civilian. Sorry, but we are not at war with Iran. The scientist is part of the military-industrial infrastructure of Iran–just like the occupants of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were. If you say it is legitimate to murder him, you are saying it was legitimate for Osama bin Laden to murder his victims on 9/11.”

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