Monday, November 30, 2009

United Against Spitting

by Gilad Atzmon

Three days ago the Israeli Right wing paper The Jerusalem Post published an exposé of the growing tendency of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem to spit on their Christian neighbours. (‘Mouths Filled with Hatred’, By Larry Derfner The JPost, Nov. 26, 2009).

Father Samuel Aghoyan, a senior Armenian Orthodox cleric in Jerusalem's Old City, told the JPost “that he's been spat at by young Haredi (God fearing religious Jews) and national Orthodox Jews ‘about 15 to 20 times’ in the past decade”. Father Aghoyan added, "Every single priest in this church has been spat on. It happens day and night."

Similarly Father Athanasius, a Texas-born Franciscan monk who heads the Christian Information Centre in Jerusalem’s Old City, said he's been spat at by Orthodox Jews "about 15 times in the last six months".

Jewish spitting is not exactly breaking News. I myself have explored the issue more than once. The Israeli professor Israel Shahak commented on Jewish hatred towards Christianity and its symbolism, suggesting that “dishonouring Christian religious symbols is an old religious duty in Judaism.” According to Shahak, “spitting on the cross, and especially on the Crucifix, and spitting when a Jew passes a church, have been obligatory from around AD 200 for pious Jews.”

Interestingly enough Jewish spitting has had an impact on the European urban landscape. The following can be read in a ‘Travel Guide for Jewish Europe’.

“In Prague’s Charles Bridge, the visitor will observe a great crucifix surrounded by huge gilded Hebrew letters that spell the traditional Hebrew sanctification Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tzvaot, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts.” According to various commentators, this piece, degrading to Jews, came about because in 1609 a Jew was accused of desecrating the crucifix. The Jewish community was forced to pay for putting up the Hebrew words in gold letters. Another explanation is that a Jew spat at the cross and for this he was to be put to death as a punishment. When this man begged for his life, the king, seeking to have good relations with the Jews, said the Jewish community had to rectify the offence….” (To read more: Travel Guide for Jewish Europe, pg 497)

Shahak maintains that “in the past, when the danger of anti-Semitic hostility was a real one, the pious Jews were commanded by their rabbis either to spit so that the reason for doing so would be unknown, or to spit onto their chests, not actually on a cross or openly before a church.”

But times are changing. In the Jewish state most Jewish inhibitions seem to have disappeared. In Israel Jews can spit as much as they like and on whatever they like. As we read above, in the Jewish state it isn’t just Christian symbols that are being spat on, it is actually the Goyim in general. Far more concerning, it isn’t even just kosher saliva. It is actually everything they may find at their disposal: saliva, live ammunition, bombs, missiles, WMD, white phosphorous, you name it, they spit it.

In fact, spitting is not the problem. Spiting is just a symptom of a deeply imbued cultural categorical dismissal of ‘otherness’ that distinguishes Israel as a criminal state. It is also this very dismissal of ‘otherness’ that stops the Israelis and their supporters around the world from understanding the level of resentment that is mounting against any form of Jewish nationalism.

Hatred is a form of blindness. Jewish hatred, that is culturally, religiously and spiritually orientated, is also a form of deafness. This may explain the tragic consequences in which nationalist Jews fail time after time to internalise the criticism leveled against them: against their politics and culture. This may explain why Jews fail to grasp what is the root cause of ‘anti semitism’. Rather than being reflective and engaging in self-mirroring, the nationalistic Jew would insist that the problem is always somewhere else.

As interesting as it may be, Zionism was the only modern serious Jewish collective attempt to amend the cultural abnormalities within Jewish culture. Early Zionism took anti Jewish criticism seriously. It committed itself to bring about a civilized ethical person. Zionism obviously failed completely. Yet, till the 1980’s some fading voices of “humanist Zionism”, people who wanted to see the Jews setting themselves into a peaceful nation living amongst others, could still be heard in occupied Palestine. It may also explain why the most radical and effective voices against Zionism and Jewish nationalism, are in fact people who were a product of Zionist upbringing (Shahak, I. Shamir, Sand, Burg and a few others).

In the late 1970’s a young dissident movement led by an Israeli Refusenik Gadi Elgazi protested against serving in the occupied territories. “Occupation Corrupts” Elgazi said. He was sent to prison repeatedly. Elgazi and his supporters maintained that controlling other people would have a devastating impact on the Jewish state and its morality. They were obviously correct. Through the years Israel has become a criminal collective, complicit in genocide. With 94% of its population supporting the IDF measures in Gaza, there is no room for doubt, Israel has no room amongst nations. As if this is not enough, the level of crime within Israel is also soaring. The rate of homicidal crime is rapidly growing and it seems as if no one there knows how to tackle the problem. Elgazi’s predictions proved to be a prophecy. The occupation turned against the occupier.

Interestingly enough, it didn’t take long before Jewish cultural hatred towards Goyim and their symbols would turn inward and mature into an internal Jewish war where Jews do spit on each other. The tension within Israel’s Jewish communities is rising by the day whether it is the rapid rise of poverty or the rising social division between Israeli Jewish communities. Seemingly, there is a growing unresolved tension between the secular and orthodox Jews in Israel. As much as Jews can hate the Goyim, nothing is comparable with the way and manner in which they despise each other.

Channel 4, the brave British broadcaster that just 10 days ago exposed the cross-party Jewish lobby operating in the UK, did it again. The Battle for Israel’s Soul is an exposé of the feud between Jewish communities in Israel(1). Just like in the case of the occupation that turned eventually against the Israelis, hatred towards Goyim made the Israelis into a vengeful collective. Naturally it didn’t take long before the Israelis would start to spit on each other.

My message to the Palestinians is actually very simple. Give the Israelis time. They do not need enemies. With the level of self contempt they carry in themselves it is just a question of time before they totally implode.

(1) To watch the entire film:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

9/11: Pentagon Aircraft Hijack Impossible: flight deck door closed for entire flight

by pilots for 9/11 Truth:

Newly decoded data provided by an independent researcher and computer programmer from Australia exposes alarming evidence that the reported hijacking aboard American Airlines Flight 77 was impossible to have existed. A data parameter labeled "FLT DECK DOOR", cross checks with previously decoded data obtained by Pilots For 9/11 Truth from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) through the Freedom Of Information Act.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 departed Dulles International Airport bound for Los Angeles at 8:20 am Eastern Time. According to reports and data, a hijacking took place between 08:50:54 and 08:54:11[1] in which the hijackers allegedly crashed the aircraft into the Pentagon at 09:37:45. Reported by CNN, according to Ted Olson, wife Barbara Olson had called him from the reported flight stating, "...all passengers and flight personnel, including the pilots, were herded to the back of the plane by armed hijackers..."[2]. However, according to Flight Data provided by the NTSB, the Flight Deck Door was never opened in flight. How were the hijackers able to gain access to the cockpit, remove the pilots, and navigate the aircraft to the Pentagon if the Flight Deck Door remained closed?[3]

Founded in August 2006, Pilots For 9/11 Truth is a growing organization of aviation professionals from around the globe. The organization has analyzed Data provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for the Pentagon Attack, the events in Shanksville, PA and the World Trade Center attack. The data does not support the government story. The NTSB/FBI refuse to comment. Pilots For 9/11 Truth do not offer theory or point blame at this point in time. However, there is a growing mountain of conflicting information and data in which government agencies and officials along with Mainstream Media refuse to acknowledge. Pilots For 9/11 Truth Core member list continues to grow. for full member list. to join.

Comments? Click here for discussion.

[1] Hijacker Timeline -

[2] Common Strategy Prior to 9/11/2001 -

[3] Right click and save target as here to download csv file with "FLT DECK DOOR" parameter.

You Get What you Vote For!

By Cindy Sheehan for OpEdNews

The so-called anti-war movement currently finds itself in somewhat of a quagmire: What to do when the man you raised money for, volunteered for, and yes, even voted for, actually fulfills one of his most repulsive campaign promises?

First of all, I never understood why, or how, peace people could support someone who voted to pay for the wars while he was a Senator and was quite clear on the fact that he would increase violence in Afghanistan and perform a slow, painful and very incomplete withdrawal from Iraq. Principles that were proclaimed so loudly while Bush was president get shoved aside and buried now that a Democrat is president and how do you get your principles back from the dung-pile of selling out?

Secondly, On January 23rd of a rapidly dissipating 2009, Barack Obama perpetrated his first war crime (as president) by authorizing a drone attack in Pakistan. In February of this same year, he ordered an increase of roughly 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan: more war crimes, no corresponding outcry. However, when I cried out, I was roundly attacked by the “left” for not giving Obama a “chance.” 2009 is going to be the most deadly year for our troops and Afghan and Pakistani civilians on record. I think George Bush is calling: he wants his Nobel Peace Prize back.

It is being widely reported (and it seems hotly anticipated by some)—that even though the “anti-war” movement wrote a letter to Obama and asked him to “pretty please” not send any more troops to Afghanistan and had us calling the White House all day on Monday the 23rd when Obama was scheduled to hold his final “war summit"—that the U.S. will commit 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan which is a 50 percent increase in troop strength in the Land of Certain Empire Death.

What is the “anti-war” movement's response going to be? Candlelight vigils; “honk if you love peace” rallies; a hundred rounds of “We Shall Over Come" (someday, not today or tomorrow); or, is the “anti-war” movement going to say: “Phew, McChrystal asked for 80,000, but our letter worked—he's only sending 34,000?”

True story: in October of 2005, U.S. troop deaths were going to reach 2000, within days and the “movement” was planning its response. I called for a die-in, with risk of arrest, in front of the White House and called for a candlelight vigil in Lafayette Park. moved their vigil to another location because they told me that their members weren't ready to do civil disobedience and some of them may be accidentally swept up in some kind of a "peace sweep." I said, “Fine,, have a candlelight vigil for 2000 like you did for 1000 and next year you'll have one for 3000, then 4000, and then 5000.” I think many of's members were ready, I just don't think that was then, or is now. They didn't do it when Bush was president, I can't imagine standing up for peace when their man is the one doing the killing.

So, here we are four years, thousands of U.S. troops deaths and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths later, and the Pope of Hope, the Dalai O'bama, the Nobel Laureate will soon be condemning thousands of more to the same fate and his supporters have given him permission to do so, no matter how many letters they write, petitions they sign or phone calls they make.

In the end, you always get what you vote for.

I knew that this surge was a done deal no matter how much political posturing and pandering occurred. I chained myself to the White House fence on October 5th and was arrested with 60 other people protesting the wars and demanding that peace be put on the proverbial table. But those were symbolic actions and the problems we are facing are deadly and in full Techno-Color, real. The time for symbolism and street-theater ended years ago, but moribund actions won't seem to just go away gracefully, so we will have to cut them off, cold turkey!

On Monday, November 30, the Peace of the Action Coalition will be sending out a press release condemning the escalation and announcing our Mother of all Protests (MOAP) that will begin in the spring.

If you're looking for some action, look no further than Peace of the Action and stayed fine-tuned for further details!

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Far Beyond Chutzpah

by Gilad Atzmon

“How come Barak, Israel’s Defence Minister, is under threat of being arrested in the UK while Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas, roams London free of concern” asks Prof Alan Dershowitz, who is probably the leading defender of the Jewish state in America. In fact the question could be easily extended, one may wonder how come Dershowitz and his ilk are roaming freely between Western capitals considering the racist, nationalist expansionist ideology they promote i.e. Zionism. At the end of the day, Dershowitz the loudest Zionist apologist in America is promoting a precept that has proved to be genocidal.

What intrigues me about Dershowitz is the fact that Israel’s leading Hasbara cheer-leader is also one of America’s most prominent criminal lawyers specialising in murder and attempted murder cases. As a criminal appellate lawyer, Dershowitz has won thirteen out of the fifteen murder and attempted murder cases he has handled. Notable is his role as the appellate adviser for the defence in the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson. Seemingly, this is exactly what Israel needs and deserves, a ‘criminal attorney’. One that would help it to get away with murder.

In a conversation with Ynet, a leading Israeli paper, Dershowitz claimed that Judge Richard Goldstone, the author of the UN report investigating Operation Cast Lead, “preferred to give interviews to public television rather than debating him.” Dershowitz said that it isn't appropriate for Goldstone to ‘filter whom he debates with’. One may wonder why? It is a common and accepted practice amongst humanists not to share a platform with racists. Zionism is not only a racist ideology, it is also murderous in practice. Dershowitz is a proud rabid Zionist. It is understandable that any decent human being would prefer to avoid sharing a platform with him or his cohorts.

According to Ynet, “Dershowitz demanded that Judge Goldstone provide explanations of the sources that led him to his final conclusion in the report, which asserted that Israel's policy in Operation Cast Lead was to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible.” Dershowitz, may have to find time to watch this Youtube video. It is all there. An extensive review of the Israeli terror campaign in Gaza.

One doesn’t have to be a military expert to grasp that pouring WMD, and using artillery against a civilian population is sufficient evidence. Israeli murderous tactics are now established facts and common knowledge.

Dershowitz said that he “does not expect Israel to suffer much damage in the US following the Goldstone report. He asserted that the Americans understand that the Human Rights Council is a farce and its conclusions not taken too seriously”. Dershowitz obviously fails to tell the truth. If the Human Rights Council is a ‘farce’ as he says, why does Zionist loud mouth Dershowitz insist to debate Judge Goldstone?

Dershowitz also claimed that “Israel can breathe easily in academic circles as well, saying that students in the US can think for themselves and will not believe that Israel decided intentionally to kill Palestinian civilians.” Again, if this is the case, if Israel’s reputation within the academic circuit is secured, why is Dershowitz & Co mounted pressure on Finkelstein, Walt, Mearsheimer and every other critical voice of Israel and Zionism. Dershowitz is obviously failing to tell the truth again. He can see that the tide is changing. He knows that every ethically orientated human being sees the truth behind Israeli brutality. Why is Dershovitz lying? Because Jewish nationalism left, right and centre is grounded on a set of lies. By way of deception they make their wars.

Canada’s Guantanamo

Just what will it take to wake Canadians up to their government’s lies and subterfuge, wonders Eric Walberg

A scandal erupted last week in sleepy Ottawa with the revelations of Canada’s chief diplomat in Kandahar in 2006-07, Richard Colvin, who told a House of Commons committee on Afghanistan that Afghans arrested by Canadian military and handed over to Afghan authorities were knowingly tortured. His and others’ attempts to raise the alarm had been quashed by the ruling Conservative government and he felt a moral obligation to make public what was happening.

The startling allegations — the first of their kind from a senior official — have caused extreme embarrassment to the government, which has more than once stated categorically detainees were not passed to Afghan control if there was any danger of torture. Canada has 2,700 soldiers in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, the hotbed of the insurgency, on a mission that is due to end in 2011.

Warnings to Colvin to keep quiet were not enough to cow him and he calmly told shocked MPs that he started sending reports soon after he arrived in Kandahar in early 2006 to top officials indicating the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) was abusing detainees. “For a year and half after they knew about the very high risk of torture, they continued to order military police in the field to hand our detainees to the NDS.”

Colvin’s comments come at a sensitive time for the minority government, which was almost ousted by the opposition a year ago. So far 133 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan and recent polls indicate most Canadians oppose the mission. Colvin said Canadian military leaders in Afghanistan “cloaked our detainee practices in extreme secrecy,” refused to hand over details of prisoners to the Red Cross in a timely fashion and kept “hopeless” records. “As I learned more about our detainee practices, I came to the conclusion that they were un-Canadian, counterproductive, and probably illegal.” Officials in Ottawa initially ignored his reports. “By April 2007 we were receiving written messages from the senior Canadian government coordinator for Afghanistan to the effect that we should be quiet and do what we were told,” he said.

Canadian troops first began transferring detainees to Afghan authorities in late 2005. Eventually, faced with persistent allegations of abuse, Ottawa signed a deal with Kabul in May 2007 to boost protection for detainees. Colvin said Canadian troops regularly detain six times as many Afghans as the British, who are also operating in southern Afghanistan. Although some may have been Taliban members, many were “random human beings in the wrong place at the wrong time”. He added: “We detained and handed over for severe torture a lot of innocent people. Complicity in torture is a war crime.” In the face of accusations of this complicity, Prime Minister Stephen Harper publically insisted Canadian military officials did not send individuals off to be tortured. “Behind the military’s wall of secrecy that unfortunately was exactly what we were doing,” Colvin told his captive audience.

Now, instead of launching an inquiry, the Conservatives are pursuing their usual practice of smearing critics. “We frankly just found his evidence lacked credibility. All his information was, he admits, at best second hand,” said Lawrie Hawn, parliamentary secretary to Defense Minister Peter MacKay. MacKay angrily dismissed the charges, while former Canadian military chief-in-command in Afghanistan Rick Hillier can’t “remember reading a single one of those cables”, and depicted the fuss as mere “howling at the moon”. “Even in our own prisons somebody can get beaten up,” he cracked to reporters.

But then this is standard operating procedure for Harper’s Conservatives. They called New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton “Taliban Jack” for his suggestion that NATO should negotiate with elements of the Taliban. That is now the policy not only of Canada in Afghanistan, but of the Karzai government in Kabul.

In The Unexpected War, Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang report that the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, and Canadian Louise Arbour, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights “had concluded that abuse, torture, and extrajudicial killing were routinely inflicted on people in Afghan custody.” University of Ottawa Law Professor Amir Attaran documented how Afghan detainees have been beaten not only by the NDS, but while detained and interrogated by Canadian soldiers. Attaran called for an investigation into the treatment of the detainees by the Military Police Complaints Commission, a civilian body established to investigate complaints against the Canadian military. In February 2007, the Canadian military launched an investigation and heard testimony concerning three Afghans beaten by Canadian soldiers, handed over to the Afghans, who subsequently disappeared. The Globe and Mail managed to interview thirty former detainees who said they had been transferred from Canadian to Afghan jurisdiction and then had been tortured.

Then defence minister Gordon O’Connor told the House of Commons that a new agreement struck with the Karzai government stipulated that “If there is something wrong with their treatment, the Red Cross or Red Crescent would inform us and we would take action.” This was exposed as a lie when Red Cross spokesman Simon Schorno told the Globe and Mail that “we were informed of the agreement, but we are not a party to it and we are not monitoring the implementation of it.”

Colvin immediately warned that the new agreement was full of holes. It can only be concluded that the government condoned the torture, ignoring and now pooh-poohing complaints about it. Attempts to feign innocence don’t hold water. According to a senior NATO official, Harper used a “6,000-mile screwdriver” to make sure “that every single statement that went out [was] cleared by him personally”.

Michael Semple, Colvin’s EU colleague in Kabul, said he was “totally flabbergasted” by insinuations that Colvin’s reports were not credible, that he was a closet Taliban sympathiser “soft on terrorists”. Colvin was an “absolutely rock solid” diplomat who volunteered to go in as a civilian representative with Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar after a close friend of Semple’s was killed by a suicide car bomber outside Kandahar.

But to anyone who knows anything at all about US -- and now, alas, Canadian -- politics this is hardly new. Colin Powell’s rise to the heights of US politics was due to his burying the initial reports of the My Lai massacre in 1968 where US troops gunned down 500 mostly women, children and seniors in an act of revenge. Charged with investigating the incident, then major Powell reported, “In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” Powell was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1970, served a White House fellowship under president Richard Nixon from 1972-73, and continued up the ladder, becoming a general in 1989 and finally secretary of state in 2001.

Current Canadian politics occasionally provides a touch of humour to the inanities of Western moral hypocrisy. Remember the travel ban imposed by the Conservative government on UK MP George Galloway this spring, apparently because he is a terrorist. The Conservative government denied it had anything to do with the decision, that it was entirely up to the Canada Border Services Agency. Or the current furore over US lesbian soldier Bethany Lanae Smith, whom a Canadian judge insists be granted refugee status, overturning an Immigration and Refugee Board ruling. Not because she rejects the illegal US wars and occupations, but because she was harassed by male US soldiers and resented their taunts and/or untoward advances.

The recent haemorrhage of US war resisters coming to Canada has been resolutely staunched by the pro-war government, in line with its fervent support of US/ NATO wars. But in the interests of political correctness the government may well allow Smith to stay, unlike her more principled fellow soldiers, male and female, who defected to Canada out of conviction, and who were sent back to the US to face jail terms.

Will there be any consequences to Colvin for his embarrassing revelations? Word has it that the hitherto promising career of the former second-in-command in Afghanistan and current high-level diplomat in Washington is over. Remember the fate of UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray from 2002-2004 whom the Foreign Office tried to declare noncompis mentis, and who resigned, supposedly in disgrace. His altercation with the empire sobered him and made him a committed anti-imperialist. At his site, he even posts an update of US-caused deaths in Iraq, now at 1,339,771.

If Colvin’s career as a diplomat is over, he can still take a page from Murray ’s post-FO career book. His expose of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov as one of the world’s most eminent torturers, Murder in Samarkand, is now being made into a feature film. He has been awarded multiple prizes for promoting world peace, ran for parliament against his former boss foreign minister Jack Straw, and is a witty and incisive commentator on the internet, PressTV and elsewhere. He is currently rector of his alma mater the University of Dundee. There is life after the death of diplomatic service. Murray quips, “Being a dissident is quite fun.”

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly You can reach him at

No Way Through: what if the Zionists ruled your country?

Written and Directed by: Alexandra Monro + Sheila Menon
Mentor: Jim Threapleton
Music: The Thirst

No Way Through highlights mobility restrictions imposed in the West Bank, that are limiting its habitants access to health care, thus violating a fundamental human right.

Take Action to help people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories get justice.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Speech of Hezbollah SG Hassan Nasrallah on Martyr's Day

Thanks to Z for the translation and to A for additing the subtitles to the video. The last couple of minutes of the speech are missing due to a station break.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Interview of Norman Finkelstein on Danish TV

Russia: New Iran sanctions not on agenda

Press TV reports:

Whilst the US threatens Iran with consequences, Russia rules out the possibility of additional UN Security Council sanctions against Tehran at the present juncture. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Andrei Nesterenko, said on Thursday that there was as yet no talk of new sanctions at the UN Security Council.

"Currently there is no discussion about working out additional sanction measures against Iran at the UN Security Council," he said in a statement. "At the current moment it is important to let diplomacy work, and superfluous emotions only harm the situation," he added.
Note: in the meanwhile, the "big guys" (P5+Germany) are meeting in Brussels behind closed doors to discuss Iran.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Complete Guide to Killing Non-Jews

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon

It is rather impossible to grasp the magnitude of the crimes against humanity performed by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people unless one elaborates on Jewish culture in the light of Judaic teaching.

Zionism was founded as a secular movement. It was there to provide the emancipated Diaspora Jew with a ‘national home land’ of his or her own. However, Zionism was rather effective in transforming the Old Testament from a spiritual text into a land registry. As the truth of Israeli barbarism is unfolding a devastating continuum is being established between Israeli murderous policies and Judaic Goy hating.

It would be fair to argue that Judaic teaching is not monolithic. As we know, one of the only Jewish collectives that stands along the Palestinians call themselves the Torah Jews (Neturei Karta), a Jewish orthodox sect. In other words, the Torah must have a humanist side to it.

The following is a review of Torat ha-Melekh, a “kind of guide for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew”. It was published by Ma’ariv Israel's second biggest paper. It is a must read. I would assume that those American and British corrupted politicians who are happy to take donations from Israeli Tycoons and other ‘Friends of Israel’ better start to understand once and for all what kind of Ideology they are aligning themselves with.

Here is a full translation of an article in the Maariv newspaper of Israel

Ma’ariv 09.11.09 (p. 2) by Roi Sharon –

When is it permissible to kill non-Jews? The book Torat ha-Melekh [The King’s Teaching—INT], which was just published, was written by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, the dean of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in the community of Yitzhar near Nablus, together with another rabbi from the yeshiva, Yossi Elitzur. The book contains no fewer than 230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guide for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew.

Although the book is not being distributed by the leading book companies, it has already received warm recommendations from right-wing elements, including recommendations from important rabbis such as Yitzhak Ginsburg, Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, that were printed at the beginning of the book. The book is being distributed via the Internet and through the yeshiva, and at this stage the introductory price is NIS 30 per copy. At the memorial ceremony that was held over the weekend in Jerusalem for Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was killed nineteen years ago, copies of the book were sold.

Throughout the book, the authours deal with in-depth theoretical questions in Jewish religious law regarding the killing of non-Jews. The words “Arabs” and “Palestinians” are not mentioned even indirectly, and the authours are careful to avoid making explicit statements in favor of an individual taking the law into his own hands. The book includes hundreds of sources from the Bible and religious law. The book includes quotes from Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, one of the fathers of religious Zionism, and from Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, one of the deans of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, the stronghold of national-religious Zionism that is located in Jerusalem.

The book opens with a prohibition against killing non-Jews and justifies it, among other things, on the grounds of preventing hostility and any desecration of God’s name. But very quickly, the authors move from prohibition to permission, to the various dispensations for harming non-Jews, with the central reason being their obligation to uphold the seven Noahide laws, which every human being on earth must follow. Among these commandments are prohibitions on theft, bloodshed and idolatry. [The seven Noahide laws prohibit idolatry, murder, theft, illicit sexual relations, blasphemy and eating the flesh of a live animal, and require societies to institute just laws and law courts—INT]

“When we approach a non-Jew who has violated the seven Noahide laws and kill him out of concern for upholding these seven laws, no prohibition has been violated,” states the book, which emphasizes that killing is forbidden unless it is done in obedience to a court ruling. But later on, the authors limit the prohibition, noting that it applies only to a “proper system that deals with non-Jews who violate the seven Noahide commandments.”

The book includes another conclusion that explains when a non-Jew may be killed even if he is not an enemy of the Jews. “In any situation in which a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives, the non-Jew may be killed even if he is a righteous Gentile and not at all guilty for the situation that has been created,” the authors state. “When a non-Jew assists a murderer of Jews and causes the death of one, he may be killed, and in any case where a non-Jew’s presence causes danger to Jews, the non-Jew may be killed.”

One of the dispensations for killing non-Jews, according to religious law, applies in a case of din rodef [the law of the “pursuer,” according to which one who is pursuing another with murderous intent may be killed extrajudicially] even when the pursuer is a civilian. “The dispensation applies even when the pursuer is not threatening to kill directly, but only indirectly,” the book states. “Even a civilian who assists combat fighters is considered a pursuer and may be killed. Anyone who assists the army of the wicked in any way is strengthening murderers and is considered a pursuer. A civilian who encourages the war gives the king and his soldiers the strength to continue. Therefore, any citizen of the state that opposes us who encourages the combat soldiers or expresses satisfaction over their actions is considered a pursuer and may be killed. Also, anyone who weakens our own state by word or similar action is considered a pursuer.”

Rabbis Shapira and Elitzur determine that children may also be harmed because they are “hindrances.” The rabbis write as follows: “Hindrances—babies are found many times in this situation. They block the way to rescue by their presence and do so completely by force. Nevertheless, they may be killed because their presence aids murder. There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”

In addition, the children of the leader may be harmed in order to apply pressure to him. If attacking the children of a wicked ruler will influence him not to behave wickedly, they may be harmed. “It is better to kill the pursuers than to kill others,” the authors state.

In a chapter entitled “Deliberate harm to innocents,” the book explains that war is directed mainly against the pursuers, but those who belong to the enemy nation are also considered the enemy because they are assisting murderers.

Retaliation also has a place and purpose in this book by Rabbis Shapira and Elitzur. “In order to defeat the enemy, we must behave toward them in a spirit of retaliation and measure for measure,” they state. “Retaliation is absolutely necessary in order to render such wickedness not worthwhile. Therefore, sometimes we do cruel deeds in order to create the proper balance of terror.”

In one of the footnotes, the two rabbis write in such a way that appears to permit individuals to act on their own, outside of any decision by the government or the army.

“A decision by the nation is not necessary to permit shedding the blood of the evil kingdom,” the rabbis write. “Even individuals from the nation being attacked may harm them.”

Unlike books of religious law that are published by yeshivas, this time the rabbis added a chapter containing the book’s conclusions. Each of the six chapters is summarized into main points of several lines, which state, among other things: “In religious law, we have found that non-Jews are generally suspected of shedding Jewish blood, and in war, this suspicion becomes a great deal stronger. One must consider killing even babies, who have not violated the seven Noahide laws, because of the future danger that will be caused if they are allowed to grow up to be as wicked as their parents.”

Even though the authors are careful, as stated, to use the term “non-Jews,” there are certainly those who could interpret the nationality of the “non-Jews” who are liable to endanger the Jewish people. This is strengthened by the leaflet “The Jewish Voice,” which is published on the Internet from Yitzhar, which comments on the book: “It is superfluous to note that nowhere in the book is it written that the statements are directed only to the ancient non-Jews.” The leaflet’s editors did not omit a stinging remark directed at the GSS, who will certainly take the trouble to get themselves a copy. “The editors suggest to the GSS that they award the prize for Israel’s security to the authors,” the leaflet states, “who gave the detectives the option of reading the summarized conclusions without any need for in-depth study of the entire book.”

One student of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar explained, from his point of view, where RabbisShapira and Elitzur got the courage to speak so freely on a subject such as the killing of non-Jews. “The rabbis aren’t afraid of prosecution because in that case, Maimonides [Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, 1135–1204] and Nahmanides [Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, 1194–1270] would have to stand trial too, and anyway, this is research on religious law,” the yeshiva student said. “In a Jewish state, nobody sits in jail for studying Torah.”

Iran Rabbi urges Jews to burn controversial book
Tue, 17 Nov 2009 09:57:20 GMT

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Israel gaffe reveals 'Iran ship photos' were forged

Press TV reports:

After Israel released photos it said proved that a huge shipment of weapons for Hezbollah came from Tehran, Iranian news agencies publish evidence showing that the photos are forged.

Israeli naval sources recently claimed that they found a large cache of Iranian-made arms when they stormed a vessel near Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea.

They claimed that the ship was heading for the Hezbollah resistance movement, either in Lebanon or Syria.

Iran instantly dismissed the claims, issuing a statement with which it condemned Israel's many acts of piracy in international waters.

But the Israeli government persisted in its accusations, releasing what it claimed to be photos and documents in an effort to implicate the Iranian government in the matter.

The photos and documents were carried by a number of leading newspapers in the West, including The Los Angeles Times.

"The Israeli regime has made a fool of itself with regards to what it claims to be evidence that Iran was sending weapons to Hezbollah," IRNA news agency said on Monday.

"Take a close look at the photos, one of which merely shows a couple of boxes labeled 'Ministry of Sepah' without providing corroborative evidence that they came from Iran, and you will see the huge gaffe committed by Israel," it added.

The article explained that Iran's Ministry of Sepah gave its place to the Defense Ministry more than twenty years ago. "So this begs the question of what the emblem of a nonexistent body was doing on the cargo?"

"It seems the American daily has failed to get its facts straight, or on the other hand, maybe it is getting its cue from the Israeli leadership," said the news agency.

"In any case, the newspaper should know that if a country plans to send a secret arms cargo to another, it will not brand the shipment with a full description of the batch."

"Tel Aviv's baseless claims [about Iran providing Hezbollah with military] are evidently designed to justify another Israeli attack on Lebanon."

Yadollah Javani, the Director of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said last week that the claims were intended to divert attention from a UN report detailing Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

"These accusations are nothing but an Israeli ruse to deflect international attention from the Goldstone report as they move closer to the war crimes tribunal [at the International Criminal Court (ICC)]," noted Brigadier General Javani.

He was referring to the 575-page report headed by Jewish South African judge Richard Goldstone, which detailed numerous acts of war crimes and human rights violations committed by Israeli soldiers during their incursion into Gaza.

"Israeli officials have a longstanding tendency to level baseless accusations against others when they are in serious trouble," he added.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri also dismissed the charges, questioning why the Israelis had failed to detain the crew, if the ship was supposedly carrying weapons.

Berri said that while Hezbollah has the right to obtain arms from “anywhere in the world,” it is pretty obvious that Israel made the claims to fudge the issue of its war crimes in Gaza.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why is Saudi Arabia going on a weapons shopping spree in Russia?

Russian media outlets are reporting that Saudi Arabia is negotiating a 2 billion dollars weapons deal with Russia which would include the sale of 150 helicopters (30 Mi-35 and 120 Mi-17), over 150 T-90C tanks, about 250 BMP-3 (infantry combat vehicle) armored vehicles and several dozens of anti-aircraft systems and complexes including the brand new S-400 Triumf missile system. In the meantime, Russia is also clearly delaying the sale of its S-300 missile system to Iran prompting some angry remarks from Iranian Chief of Staff of Iran's Joint Armed Forces Hassan Firouzabad. Is this all a coincidence?

One needs to remember here that Saudi Arabia has often served as the USraelian Empire's banker, providing money in support of US strategic objectives (the best examples of this are the war in Afghanistan and the US support for the Nicaraguan "Contras"). Why would Saudi Arabia, which has always relied almost exclusively on US made weapons systems, suddenly turn to Russia? Most definitely not because Russian weapons systems are better - which they undoubtedly are, by the way - as weapons purchases are almost never decided on the basis of technical capabilities. Three factors decide in such deals: the kickbacks given to the officials involved in the deal, the political pressures and allegiances of the countries involved and the offset agreements provided as an incentive by the parties (including, of course, even more kickbacks).

In this case, the US is as least as corrupt as Russia and can easily match any kickbacks, the political allegiances of the Saudis are clearly with the USA, and there is no way that Russia could offer better offset terms than the USA. Hence - the Saudi shopping spree, if confirmed and finalized, is definitely a reward for Russia's reneging on the S-300 deal with Iran.

The Iranian military Chief of Staff Hassan Firouzabad is, of course, quite correct when he asks the key question: "Don't Russian strategists realize Iran's geopolitical importance to their security?". While I am quite confident that Russian strategists understand this perfectly well, I am also inclined to believe that these strategists do not have the final say in Russian policy making. Call it the almighty Dollar, or Ruble, or Riyal - the bottom line is that the Russian government appears to favor short-term economic interests over long-term national security objectives. If that is true, that is very bad news indeed.

The Saker

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Defense of Larry David

by Gilad Atzmon

Don’t Blame the Messenger

Critics of Larry David say he has gone further than any other Jewish comic or intellectual in insulting Christianity and Christian values.

In an episode of the highly popular HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which caricatures David’s true personal life, David accidentally splashes a drop of urine on a framed picture of Jesus that is hanging in his devout secretary’s bathroom.

Having been prescribed a drug that makes him urinate like an Israeli police anti-riot water-jet cannon, a drop of urine splashed right under the eye of Christ. In the scene David seems to be aware that some of his water has ended up on the face of Jesus. Before leaving the bathroom he stares at the drop closely, he is just about to clear it but guess what, he doesn’t. The man wouldn’t touch his own urine. He prefers to leave the mess behind. He doesn’t take responsibility. In the following scene, David’s secretary springs into his office overwhelmed with divine excitement, announcing that she and her mother have witnessed a miracle in their bathroom just after David left. They saw Jesus crying with a fresh tear running down his cheek.

People in America and around the world are outraged. ‘A Jewish comedian urinated on Jesus Christ they say.

Henry Makow was very eloquent in describing what is so wrong in David’s comedy. In his ‘toilet accident’ David managed to express contempt for “Jesus, Christianity and millions of Christians. First, No Christian would keep a portrait of Jesus in the bathroom. Only an arrogant, disrespectful, ignorant person like Larry David could imagine that. Second, no writer with respect for human dignity and decorum talks about toilet accidents. What is this childish fetish comedy-writers have with bodily and sexual functions? Is this the last taboo? Third, this scene would be classified as a hate crime if it were aimed at anyone but Christians. Imagine the reaction if he peed on a Menorah, an Israeli flag or a Koran? I don't believe this scene is an accident. It's a deliberate attack on the Christian majority, designed to humiliate, shame and disinherit.”

I obviously agree with the thrust of Makow’s argument, yet I would suggest to him to leave out the Jewish Menorah, for not many Jews know what the Menorah stands for. Let’s try instead, to imagine what would have happen if a Gentile would urinate by mistake on a Holocaust symbol. What would have happen if, for instance, a French Muslim comedian splashed a drop of urine on a portrait of Elie Wiesel? Let me tell you, hell would break loose.

I Spit Therefore I am

One must bear in mind that contempt towards others beliefs and spiritual symbols, is well imbued in the Jewish value system. This applies to the religious secular, left, right and centre. It is an established fact that Orthodox Jews are taught to spit whenever they come across a Crucifix or pass by a Church. Not many Gentiles are aware also of the devastating fact that Yeshu, the Hebrew name for Jesus, corresponds to the abbreviation for the Hebrew expression ‘yimmach shemo vezikhro’, meaning "May his name and memory be blotted out", an expression saved for the most hated enemies of the Jewish people such as Hitler and Amalek.

I learned recently from an American Jewish professor who teaches in Prague, that convoys of young American Jewish students make their way to the beautiful Czech capitol every summer. They apparently use the opportunity to spit on the many Churches and golden crucifixes around. I also learned from the professor that the Crucifixes on Prague’s famous Charles Bridge were initially decorated with the Hebrew words Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tzvaot, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts” back in the 17th century just to stop Jews spiting on Christian symbols and the Crucifix in particular. *

But it isn’t just the orthodox Jews who spit on others precious symbols. In fact Jewish secular ideology is just as spiteful towards other ideologies. The so called Jewish Humanists, Liberals, progressives and atheists happen to spit on every form of spirituality and divinity. Jewish emancipation has led Jews towards a new form of Atheist zeal that has matured into zero tolerance towards religion. The emancipated believes in ‘reason’ and the ‘spirit of enlightenment’. But it goes further; the Zionists spit on human rights and universal values in the name of Jewish national revival. The Israelis spit white phosphorous on civilians in the name of the war against terror. The Marxist mocks God and religion in the name of ‘working class politics’. In fact to be a Jew is to spit on something. Even the so-called ‘self hating Jews’ spend much of their intellectual effort spitting on themselves.

Here Comes the Twist.

Larry David is a TV genius. I came across him for the first time a year or so ago. In the band wagon I was touring with at the time, the English Jewish manager played ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ all day long. My first reaction was total resentment towards the self-centric skinny sociopath. But soon he grew on me. In fact I fell in love, I became addicted and so were all the other band members who rushed to buy the entire DVD box. Interestingly enough, many of my Arab Friends happen to love David as well. I have recently learned from my friend Mamoon Alabbasi, an Iraqi born writer and editor, that he is a devoted Larry David fan. He insists that David could easily be an Arab character. Seemingly the Jewish protagonist has managed to bring to light some tribal tendencies that may as well cross the divide. David, the protagonist of Jewish autism, greed and selfishness somehow touches the universal.

In ‘Curb your Enthusiasm,’ David manages to blur the distinction between Larry David the protagonist and David the person. He invites the camera to his home, to his kitchen, to his bed, into his wife’s knickers. He is far more than just a glimpse into a Jewish, modern, Godless life. He is a dark satirical portrayal of everything that could ever go wrong with Jewish secular identity.

David spits on everything: you name it, he spits on it. It was David who exposes the Jewish fetish with body organs long before we all started to discuss Israeli organ harvesting. David ridicules the Shoa obsession, the Jewish and anti Wagner fetish. David spits on every possible American value one can think of. He mocks the celebrity culture, materialism and greed. He exposes Jewish supremacy, ignorance and arrogance. Yet, he is doing it all by putting himself in the line of fire. He doesn’t just bring to light to Jewish ugliness, he often embodies this ugliness himself.

David is probably the most courageous Jewish comedian of all time. He is there to provide us with the ultimate possible devastating portrait of Jewish emancipation. He is the self centric, egotistic, sickening character and yet, he is totally beloved and adorable.

In fact, it is not Larry David we should ‘pick on’, it is not David who is caught in a ‘toilet incident’. It is the disastrous identity he exposes and portrays on the little screen, which was once again caught spitting. Rather than David, it is those who are indoctrinated to hate whom we should criticize. Those who spit on Crosses, Churches, Koran, Islam, God, the prophets, spirituality, divinity and so on.

The above should lead us into a different interpretation of David’s latest incident.

The complexity that is exposed by David’s scene has very little to do with his accidental urine spray. It is not even David’s conscious decision not to clean the mess he left behind. Far more crucial and deep is David’s role in ridiculing and dismissing of divinity. By presenting the secretary as a fool who sees God in a ‘drop of urine’, David actually shows contempt to billions of believers. The sad truth is that constant rage against spirituality and divinity is the real message of the emancipated Jew to the Western World. The modern Jew regards him or herself as the embodiment of rationality, they dismiss the possibility of supernatural forces, they are logical, rational and positivist. They believe in empiricism, science and technology.

But in David’s ‘toilet scene’ it is not just Christ and the Christians who are being insulted, it is an insult to anyone who believes that life is more than just physical matter. And yet, David should be thanked for providing us once again with a glimpse into the emancipated Jewish mind.

Far more concerning is the fact that even the Catholic leaders who were outraged by David's toilet scene failed to grasp or articulate where the problem was. Even they lost the capacity to think in spiritual terms. They themselves fell into the Judeo centric material symbolic trap thinking about ‘a urine drop’ and a ‘portrait of Christ’.

David’s Catholic critics failed to grasp it all because they are already spiritually suppressed, silenced, robbed and indoctrinated by different enlightened rational ‘Davids’. They are pushed into the corner by an extremely intolerant institutionalised liberal discourse that is there to serve one emancipated tribe in particular.

David, bless him, took upon himself the courageous responsibility to portray the ugly face of Jewish atheism and Jewish liberal identity. He took it upon himself to embody the dismissal of divinity and spirituality. Rather than blaming the messenger we better be brave enough to read the message.

* “On Charles Bridge, the visitor will observe a great crucifix surrounded by huge gilded Hebrew letters that spell the traditional Hebrew sanctification Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tzvaot, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts.” According to various commentators, this piece, degrading to Jews, came about because in 1609 a Jew was accused of desecrating the crucifix. The Jewish community was forced to pay for putting up the Hebrew words in Gold letters. Another explanation is that a Jew spit at the cross and for this he was to be put to death as punishment. When this man begged for his life, the king, seeking to have good relations with the Jews, said the Jewish community had to rectify the offence….” (To read more: Travel Guide for Jewish Europe, pg 497)


More Israeli spitting, this time on a priest:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clinton appoints former embassy hostage as point person on Iran

by Phil Wilayto

When the Iranian Revolution exploded on the world scene three decades ago, John Limbert was a greenhorn diplomat assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. After that station was taken over by revolutionary students, he spent 14 months as a political hostage in the building that came to be known as the “Nest of Spies.”

Today Limbert is the newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. That makes him Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's point person on Iran, just as pressure is building in Congress to impose more sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Limbert, who has praised what he calls Obama “patience” in dealing with Iran, is expected to play an active role in current U.S.-Iranian negotiations. He replaces hardliner Dennis Ross, a longtime Iran expert who co-founded the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

At first glance, it might look like the Obama administration is reinforcing its stated goal of pursuing dialogue over confrontation.

On second glance, not so much.

Ross already had been moved to the White House, where, as a member of the National Security Council, he serves as special assistant to President Obama on the issue of Iran. So Ross is still a major player, at least as well positioned as Limbert. And just before his new appointment, he co-authored a book that described negotiations with Iran as necessary in order to win over public opinion to supporting more sanctions and even possible military action.

Before he became a reluctant long-term guest at the U.S. Embassy, Limbert served as a Peace Corps volunteer and then English teacher in Iran, during the tyrannical reign of the last Shah. His later diplomatic career led him to tours in Algeria, Guinea, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In 2003, as ambassador to Mauritania, he was among the first U.S. diplomats to enter Baghdad after the U.S. invasion, charged with helping to protect Iraq's cultural treasures from looters. He later returned to support the U.S. occupation.

Interestingly, he was charge d'affairs in the Sudan when Dr. John Garang, leader of the U.S.-backed Sudan People's Liberation Movement, died in what was reported as a helicopter accident shortly after he signed a peace treaty with the central government of Khartoum, a move not appreciated by the U.S. (Southern Sudan holds that country's large oil reserves.)

Limbert also has held senior positions in Washington with the State Department. Fluent in Farsi and Arabic, he currently is Distinguished Professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Some progressives are noting that, until his most recent appointment, Limbert served on the board of advisors of the National Iranian American Council, an anti-sanctions organization. However, NIAC receives funding from both George Soros' Open Society Institute, which previously supported the so-called “color” revolutions in Georgia and the Ukraine, and the National Endowment for Democracy, formed to continue the CIA program of regime change of governments deemed not sufficiently respectful of Western interests. Both Soros and the NED have been supporting the “Green Movement” in Iran, which on the one hand promotes an opening of the domestic political process, and on the other an economic program of privatization, deregulation and broad cutbacks in government-funded social services for the poor, plus a foreign policy that would seek to avoid pressure from the West by reducing support for the Palestinian struggle and cooling ties with leftist governments in Latin America.

In an interview posted Feb. 6, 2009, by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Limbert was asked if he ever thought the Iranian Revolution would last 30 years.

“No, like just about everybody else I guess, I was wrong about the revolution,” he said. “I admit that I called it wrong really from the beginning and in the direction that it went. The direction that it went – this rather harsh and brutal and intolerant direction that it went – certainly surprised me. I didn't expect it.”

Neither did he expect, most likely, to become a key State Department official dealing with the government of his former captors. But while his preferred methods may differ from those of Dennis Ross, it would be naive to think that his political goals are any less ambitious: undermining Iran's growing ability to oppose U.S. policy in the Middle East by restricting its access to alternative energy sources while promoting a change to a government friendlier to Western corporate interests.
“Clinton Appoints NIAC Advisory Board Member to Senior Iran Post”
Interview with John Limbert by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Feb. 6, 2009
U.S. Department of State Web site
Institute for Global Leadership

PHIL WILAYTO is an anti-war activist based in Richmond, Va., and the author of “In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation's Journey through the Islamic Republic.” He can be reached at:

Colombia-Venezuela: The Threat of Imperialist War Looms in the Americas

by Kiraz Janicke for

The possibility of an imperialist war in the Americas came a step closer on October 30, when Colombia and the United States finalized a ten year accord allowing the U.S. to massively expand its military presence in the Latin American nation.

The move comes as the U.S. seeks to regain its hegemony over Latin America – which has declined over the past decade in the context of a continent-wide rebellion against neoliberalism spearheaded by the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, led by President Hugo Chavez.

In order to regain control of its “backyard,” the U.S. is increasingly resorting to more interventionist measures. This is reflected by the recent military coup in Honduras, destabilisation of progressive governments in Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay and a massive military build up in the region, including new military bases in Panama and the reactivation of its Fourth Fleet.

Over the past decade the Venezuelan government, which is the fifth largest oil exporter in the world, has used its control over this resource to massively increase social spending. This has resulted in significant achievements, such as poverty levels being reduced by half, the eradication of illiteracy, and free universal education and healthcare for the poor.

In 2005 Chavez declared the revolution to be outright socialist in its aims. Since then, in addition to regular elections and referendums, the government has sought to promote grassroots democracy and participation, through the creation of institutions such as urban land committees, health committees, grassroots assemblies, communes, workers’ councils and communal councils.

However, these pro-poor and redistributive policies have increasingly brought the Chavez government into conflict with powerful economic interests both in Venezuela and the U.S. The new bases deal poses a direct threat to this radical process of social change.

Hand in hand with this military build up has come a fraudulent propaganda campaign that tries to paint the democratically elected Chavez government as a “dictatorship” and claims that the government promotes drug trafficking, and supplies arms to left-wing guerrillas in Colombia.

Tensions between Venezuela and the U.S.-aligned government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe have also increased with the deal. As the negotiations came to light in July, Chavez ordered the “freezing” of all diplomatic and commercial relations with Colombia.

With the finalization of the accord Chavez declared that Colombia had handed over it’s sovereignty to the U.S. “Colombia today is no longer a sovereign country... it is a kind of colony,” he said.

Under the deal, the U.S. military has access, use, and free movement among two air bases, two naval bases, and three army bases, in addition to an existing two military bases, as well as all international civilian airports across the country.

The deal also grants U.S. personnel full diplomatic immunity for any human rights abuses or other crimes committed on Colombian soil.

Among other things, U.S. military, civilian, and diplomatic personnel and contractors covered by the accord are also exempt from customs duties, tariffs, rent and taxes, while ships and planes are exempt from most cargo inspections.

Although U.S. officials claim publicly that only 800 personnel will operate in Colombia the deal places no limits on the numbers of military personnel that can be deployed.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have repeatedly denied that under the accord Colombia will be used as a launching pad for military interventions in other South American countries.

However, as James Suggett pointed out in a recent article, the U.S. military’s financial documents tell a different story.

“The Pentagon budget for the year 2010 says the Department of Defense seeks ‘an array of access arrangements for contingency operations, logistics, and training in Central/South America,’ and cites a $46 million investment in the “development” of Colombia’s Palanquero air base as a key part of this,” Suggett wrote.

Also the 2010 fiscal year budget of the U.S. Air Force Military Construction Program describes the Palanquero base as a “Cooperative Security Location (CSL),” which “provides a unique opportunity for full spectrum operations in a critical sub region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies, anti-US governments, [author’s emphasis] endemic poverty and recurring natural disasters.”

“A presence [at the Palanquero base] will also increase our capability to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), improve global reach, support logistics requirements, improve partnerships, improve theater security cooperation, and expand expeditionary warfare capability,” the budget states.

“It also supports mobility missions by providing access to the entire continent, except the Cape Horn region, if fuel is available, and over half of the continent if unrefueled,” the budget continues.

On August 10th, Chavez said in an open letter to all South American presidents that the U.S.-Colombian bases deal shows that the U.S. Empire wants to “control our resources.”

Colombian paramilitaries operating illegally in Venezuela’s oil rich border regions, together with the right-wing opposition in Venezuela are the advance guard of this imperialist project to destabilise and ultimately defeat the Bolivarian revolution.

Tensions flared in recent weeks when the bodies of nine Colombians believed to have been executed by an illegal armed group were found dumped in the border state of Tachira. The Venezuelan government said the group was part of a “paramilitary infiltration plan.”

In addition, Venezuela announced that it has captured three Colombians accused of spying for Colombia’s intelligence service, the Administrative Security Department (DAS), as well as documents that indicate that Colombia sent spies to Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba as part of a CIA operation.

Then on November 2, two Venezuelan National Guard members were shot dead at a border checkpoint by armed gunmen. In response the Venezuelan army has begun massive security sweeps of the border region where paramilitary groups, Colombian guerrillas, extortion and kidnapping rings and smugglers are rife.

Also, trade between the two countries dropped a dramatic 49.5% for September, after Chavez ordered commercial relations to be “reduced to zero” to protest the bases.

Former Colombian President Ernesto Samper, who has criticised the bases deal, said in a recent interview “we are in a pre-war situation… the situation could harden and reach extremes.”

Brazil, the major economy in South America has called for “dialogue” between Chavez and Uribe.

While an armed conflict is a possibility, the current tactic of the U.S. is to continue undermining and destabilising the Venezuelan revolution in the hope that it will collapse under its own weight.

A war would also be dangerous for U.S. imperialism already bogged down in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Even a proxy war via Colombia would be likely to spiral out of control. Latin America’s poor, downtrodden and marginalized have had a taste of independence; it is likely they would fight back.

Russia-India-China: The Bush curse

Moscow is trying to draw India and China closer to put out the flames now flaring across the continent, from the Caucasus and Central Asia, to Iran and Pakistan, notes Eric Walberg

United States President Barack Obama has shown a flicker of independence in shaping US Eurasian politics. To secure transit routes through Russia to Afghanistan, he loudly proclaimed the end to US missile base plans for Poland and the Czech Republic, and downplayed any further NATO expansion in Russia’s backyard. He resisted jumping on the Gates-Clinton-McChrystal escalation bandwagon, insisting that it would be counterproductive to blindly back the thoroughly discredited Karzai, and hinting that negotiations with the Taliban and Iran could mean an about-face on the Bush strategy of total war in the region.

Obama’s strategy is now described as focussed on securing the main cities in Afghanistan, while abandoning most of the country to the Taliban. This can only be a holding measure while attempts are made to lure moderate elements in the Taliban away from their comrades to join the Karzai clique. In talks with former Taliban foreign minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil brokered by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, US negotiators supposedly offered governorship of six provinces in the south and northeast, a senior Afghan Foreign Ministry official told – if they accept the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan and eight US bases.

But the latest is he will bow to McChrystal’s demand for up to 40,000 more troops, US drone attacks continue apace in AfPak with his blessing, and the US is urging Pakistan on in its civil war against its frontier provinces of Baluchistan and Waziristan, pouring in massive military aid.

And missile and other plans in Eastern Europe are proceeding apace, with or without Obama’s blessing. US officials have gone out of their way to assuage the Poles and Czechs with assurances that the bases were not really cancelled. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher recently said the command centre for the new version of anti-missile defence could be stationed in the Czech Republic.

Now Poland is asking not only for missiles, but US troops, apparently “alarmed” by military exercises conducted by the Russian army in Belarus. “We would like to see US troops stationed in Poland to serve as a shield against Russian aggression,” Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski was quoted by Interfax. “If you can still afford it, we need some strategic reassurance,” he added sarcastically. When asked to comment, a Russian Foreign Ministry official told Kommersant, “It is better to ask the World Health Organisation for an assessment of Mr Sikorski’s words.” Estonia, which has sent a hefty 10 per cent of its armed forces to Afghanistan, is also asking for US troops.

NATO assurances to Georgia and Ukraine about joining up are still a dime a dozen. Georgia’s army is being armed by the US, Israeli and Ukraine, according to Alexander Shlyakhturov, head of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, encouraging Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in his plans to reincorporate South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

All this can only mean that talk of real cooperation with Russia is an illusion, as is vague talk of accommodation with Iran. Obama may mean well, but the inertia of US empire is hard to stop.

Russian politicians are not blind. Nor are the Chinese. Both Russia and China refuse to accede to US fiat on Iran, and are cooperating on many fronts these days looking for ways to ease the world towards a “multipolar world”.

This is the backdrop to the 9th meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting which took place in Bangalore in late October, attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Said Lavrov after the meeting, “RIC is a group of countries that are integrally needed to mobilise regional efforts. But they are not enough. All of Afghanistan ’s neighbours are needed. The US, the main supplier of troops is needed. Iran is needed. The Central Asian countries are needed.” He politely refrained from saying that it is only because of the US invasion that the US has any role at all in the region.

As Lavrov rightly points out, it is the regional countries China, Russia, India and Iran that are the ones left to pick up the pieces in AfPak after the US finally packs its many bags. Russia has the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Russia and China have the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Even Iran has initiated its own trilateral format with Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, as MK Bhadrakumar writes in Asia Times, so far Lavrov’s efforts to fashion the three mini-superpowers into a united front on regional issues have been fruitless. Bad karma between the two most populous countries in the world lingers on; namely, the India-China frictions over borders and the Dalai Lama.

It is not only its Chinese neighbour that India can’t get along with. Deriving from its perennial distrust of anything to do with Pakistan, Delhi refuses to acknowledge the fact that the Taliban are an Afghan political reality and are part (let alone “all”) of any solution. Having drifted into the US orbit (curiously, along with its rival Pakistan), India risks being left behind, as the US-inspired war in Afghanistan continues to go nowhere, Pakistan descends into anarchy, China surges ahead, and the Russians and Chinese intensify their cooperation.

Of course, this and RIC’s inability to address Afghanistan suits the US just fine. Regional powers working together independently of the US to solve their problems would leave the US and its many SEATOs and NATOs out of the picture. Japan would like to fashion an East Asian community no longer subservient to Washington, but, according to President of the Japan Foundation Kazuo Ogoura, “It is intolerable [for Washington] to see Asians considering their relations among each other in a form that excludes the US.”

Obama is visiting Beijing and Tokyo this week. Oblivious to Asian disinterest in marching to US orders, Mark Brzezinski (son of Zbigniew) advised him in the New York Times to include in his “China List” establishing a formal mechanism among the leaders of the US, China and Pakistan – China is after all Pakistan’s oldest friend as counterweight to India. This pointedly leaves out Russia and India and ties China to US plans for the region. Good luck, Mr Obama.

Surprisingly, Moscow hasn’t given up entirely on Obama. Lavrov told Russian journalists in Bangalore, “Obama has announced a different philosophy – that of collective action, which calls for joint analysis, decision-making and implementation rather than for all others to follow Washington ’s decisions. So far inertia lingers at the implementers’ level in the US, who still follow the well-trodden track. This is a process which will take time before the president’s will is translated into the language of practical actions by his subordinates.”

However distasteful US actions are, the Russian leadership cannot risk closing the door completely on US efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, considering it was on the losing end against the Afghan resistance 20 years ago and is less than enamoured by an avowedly Islamic state there. But it is unlikely that China will join India and Pakistan as a US client state, and if India buries the hatchet with China and reconsiders its position on the Taliban, the situation for the US – and Afghanistan – could yet change dramatically. There is small reason for any of the RICs to be haunted by Bush’s curse – the US-inspired wars and subversion in their backyard.
Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly You can reach him at

Big Brother versus Indymedia

CBS news blog reports:

In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.

The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.

Kristina Clair, a 34-year old Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for, said she was shocked to receive the Justice Department's subpoena. (The Independent Media Center is a left-of-center amalgamation of journalists and advocates that – according to their principles of unity and mission statement – work toward "promoting social and economic justice" and "social change.")

The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded "all IP traffic to and from" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

"I didn't think anything we were doing was worthy of any (federal) attention," Clair said in a telephone interview with on Monday. After talking to other Indymedia volunteers, Clair ended up calling the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which represented her at no cost.

Under long-standing Justice Department guidelines, subpoenas to members of the news media are supposed to receive special treatment. One portion of the guidelines, for instance, says that "no subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media" without "the express authorization of the attorney general" – that would be current attorney general Eric Holder – and subpoenas should be "directed at material information regarding a limited subject matter."

Still unclear is what criminal investigation U.S. Attorney Morrison was pursuing. Last Friday, a spokeswoman initially promised a response, but Morrison sent e-mail on Monday evening saying: "We have no comment." The Justice Department in Washington, D.C. also declined to respond.

Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, replied to the Justice Department on behalf of his client in a February 2009 letter (PDF) outlining what he described as a series of problems with the subpoena, including that it was not personally served, that a judge-issued court order would be required for the full logs, and that Indymedia did not store logs in the first place.

Morrison replied in a one-sentence letter saying the subpoena had been withdrawn. Around the same time, according to the EFF, the group had a series of discussions with assistant U.S. attorneys in Morrison's office who threatened Clair with possible prosecution for obstruction of justice if she disclosed the existence of the already-withdrawn subpoena -- claiming it "may endanger someone's health" and would have a "human cost."

Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of The Press, said a gag order to a news organization wouldn't stand up in court: "If you get a subpoena and you're a journalist, they can't gag you."

Dalglish said that a subpoena being issued and withdrawn is not unprecedented. "I have seen any number of these things withdrawn when counsel for someone who is claiming a reporter's privilege says, 'Can you tell me the date you got approval from the attorney general's office'... I'm willing to chalk this up to bad lawyering on the part of the DOJ, or just not thinking."

Making this investigation more mysterious is that is an aggregation site, meaning articles that appear on it were published somewhere else first, and there's no hint about what sparked the criminal probe. Clair, the system administrator, says that no IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are recorded for, and non-IP address logs are kept for a few weeks and then discarded.

EFF's Bankston wrote a second letter to the government saying that, if it needed to muzzle Indymedia, it should apply for a gag order under the section of federal law that clearly permits such an order to be issued. Bankston's plan: To challenge that law on First Amendment grounds.

But the Justice Department never replied. "This is the first time we've seen them try to get the IP address of everyone who visited a particular site," Bankston said. "That it was a news organization was an additional troubling fact that implicates First Amendment rights."

This is not, however, the first time that the Feds have focused on Indymedia -- a Web site whose authors sometimes blur the line between journalism, advocacy, and on-the-streets activism. In 2004, the Justice Department sent a grand jury subpoena asking for information about who posted lists of Republican delegates while urging they be given an unwelcome reception at the party's convention in New York City that year. A Indymedia hosting service in Texas once received a subpoena asking for server logs in relation to an investigation of an attempted murder in Italy.

Bankston has written a longer description of the exchange of letters with the Justice Department, which he hopes will raise awareness of how others should respond to similar legal demands for Web logs, customer records, and compulsory silence. "Our fear is that this kind of bogus gag order is much more common than one would hope, considering they're legally baseless," Bankston says. "We're telling this story in hopes that more providers will press back and go public when the government demands their silence."

Update 1:59pm E.T.: A Justice Department official familiar with this subpoena just told me that the attorney general's office never saw it and that it had not been submitted to the department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. for review. If that's correct, it suggests that U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doris Pryor did not follow department regulations requiring the "express authorization of the attorney general" for media subpoenas -- and it means that neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor Acting Attorney General Mark Filip were involved. I wouldn't be surprised to see an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility; my source would not confirm or deny that.