August 17th, 2008


McCain Calls Majority of Americans “Stupid”

August 16, 2008 – 2:03 pm

Tonight, Rev. Rick Warren held an interview with John McCain and Barack Obama, showing the senators in the same venue for the first time. McCain made clear his ideas between rich and poor, when he said that the line between rich and poor is $5 million a year.

This goes hand-in-hand with a statment McCain said last week at a private get-together. When joking about lopsided tax breaks at dinner, he purportedly justified it by saying, “People who make under $80,000 are too stupid to understand taxes anyway.”

This makes sense, as he’s somehow convinced the public that he’s the candidate for tax cuts. Meanwhile if we look at the breakdown, we see that McCain’s tax cuts do not help people who make $80,000, in order to give huge tax breaks to the top 1% of the population. How is it possible to get people to vote against their best interests? According to McCain it’s because you’re too stupid to understand.


Putin's Winning Hand

August 16 / 17, 2008

The Humiliation of Georgia (and Bush)

Revisiting the "Battle of Tskhinvali"


There are no military installations in the city of Tskhinvali. In fact, there are no military targets at all. It is an industrial center consisting of lumber mills, manufacturing plants and residential areas. It is also the home to 30,000 South Ossetians. When Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the city to be bombed by warplanes and shelled by heavy artillery last Thursday, he knew that he would be killing hundreds of civilians in their homes and neighborhoods. But he ordered the bombing anyway.

There was no "Battle of Tskhinvali"; that's another fiction. A battle implies that there is an opposing force that is resisting or fighting back. That's not the case here. The Georgian army entered the city unopposed; after all, how can unarmed civilians stop armed units. Most of the townspeople had already fled across the border into Russia or hid in their basements while the tanks and armored vehicles rumbled bye firing at anything that moved.

What took place in South Ossetia on August 7, was not an invasion or a siege; it was a massacre. The people had no way to defend themselves against a fully-equiped modern army. It was a war crime.


Israel threatens activists boarding siege-breaking vessels

"GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the chairman of the popular committee against the siege, has revealed that international activists boarding the siege-breaking ships heading to the Gaza Strip within the few coming days had received threats.

Khudari told a press conference in Gaza on Saturday that the Israeli occupation authority is responsible for those threats in its capacity as the sole party that objected to the arrival of the ships and said it would block them.

He explained that the threats were directly voiced on phone or indirectly through other means, adding that their families were also threatened.

The MP said that threats would not deter or terrorize those activists but rather would boost their determination to go ahead with their mission of solidarity.

The ships are heading to Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and the one and a half million besieged people in the Gaza Strip, Khudari highlighted, noting that the activists were of various nationalities and different age categories but all were boarding the ships for the single goal of drawing the world's attention to the plight of Gaza and to the IOA's collective punishment against its inhabitants.

He said that the activists plan to anchor at Gaza, tour its various districts and return with sick and stranded people after delivering their shipment of relief.

A position paper by the Israeli foreign ministry's legal department says Israel has the right to use force against the demonstrators as part of the "Oslo Accords, which names Israel as responsible for Gaza's territorial waters".

An Israeli official said the foreign ministry's paper means that security forces could detain the vessels upon entry to Gaza's territorial waters, arrest the passengers and haul the ship to Israel, where the detainees could be interrogated."


The Candidate You Likely Don’t Know

Most Americans still don’t know that McCain forgets key elements of policies, gets countries’ names wrong, forgets things he’s said only hours or days before and is frequently just confused.

The New York Times

August 17, 2008

Op-Ed Columnist

The Candidate We Still Don’t Know


AS I went on vacation at the end of July, Barack Obama was leading John McCain by three to four percentage points in national polls. When I returned last week he still was. But lo and behold, a whole new plot twist had rolled off the bloviation assembly line in those intervening two weeks: Obama had lost the election!

The poor guy should be winning in a landslide against the despised party of Bush-Cheney, and he’s not. He should be passing the 50 percent mark in polls, and he’s not. He’s been done in by that ad with Britney and Paris and by a new international crisis that allows McCain to again flex his Manchurian Candidate military cred. Let the neocons identify a new battleground for igniting World War III, whether Baghdad or Tehran or Moscow, and McCain gets with the program as if Angela Lansbury has just dealt him the Queen of Hearts.

Obama has also been defeated by racism (again). He can’t connect and “close the deal” with ordinary Americans too doltish to comprehend a multicultural biography that includes what Cokie Roberts of ABC News has damned as the “foreign, exotic place” of Hawaii. As The Economist sums up the received wisdom, “lunch-pail Ohio Democrats” find Obama’s ideas of change “airy-fairy” and are all asking, “Who on earth is this guy?”


Georgian provinces likely to join Russia

August 17, 2008

The drive to secede


On Aug. 8 Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin swiftly and deftly checkmated the United States on the Georgian strategic chessboard.

Georgia's President, Mikheil Saakashvili, fell right into Moscow's trap.

Georgia and Russia have been feuding since 1992 over two Georgian ethnic enclaves, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, whose people wanted to decamp Georgia and join Russia.

The young, U.S.-educated Saakashvili became Georgia's president in 2003 after an uprising, believed organized by the CIA and financed by U.S. money, overthrew the able former leader, Eduard Shevardnadze. I interviewed Shevardnadze in Moscow when he was Mikhail Gorbachev's principal ally and architect of Soviet reform.


Israeli involvement in the Georgian-Russian war

Israeli involvement in the Georgian-Russian war
Sun, 17 Aug 2008 14:37:36 GMT
By Yusuf Fernandez, Press TV, Madrid
For seven years, Israeli companies have been helping the Georgian army to prepare itself for a war against Russia through arms deals, training infantry units and offering security advice, The Jerusalem Post recently claimed.

The war between Russia and Georgia has served to bring Israel's intensive involvement in the Caucasus into the limelight.

“Israel's defense industries have sold remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs) -one of which was shot down by Russian fighters in May-, automatic turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems, shells and rocket to Georgias” the Post said.

The Moscow Times has reported that, according to Koba Liklikadze, an independent military expert based in Tbilisi, Israelis have also helped upgrade Soviet-designed Su-25 ground attack jets assembled in Georgia. Israel has been supplying Georgia with infantry weapons and electronics for artillery systems too.


A Free Press? Not This Time.

By Olga Ivanova

Friday, August 15, 2008; A21

I wish I could fly back to Russia. I have been in the United States for a year, and I am studying and working here to get experience in American journalism, known worldwide for its independence and professionalism. But in recent days it has felt as though I am too late, that the journalism of Watergate is well behind us and that reporting is no longer fair and balanced.

For years I have respected American newspapers for being independent. But no longer. Coverage of the conflict between Russia and Georgia has been unprofessional, to say the least. I was surprised and disappointed that the world's media immediately took the side of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili last week.

American newspapers have run story after story about how "evil" Russia invaded a sovereign neighboring state. Many accounts made it seem as though the conflict was started by an aggressive Russia invading the Georgian territory of South Ossetia. Some said that South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali, was destroyed by the Russian army. Little attention was paid to the chronology of events, the facts underlying the conflict.


Final moments of Taser victim's life

"No shirt, pockets pulled out, hands in the air. He was saying, 'I don't have any weapons! Please don't shoot me!'"

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Final moments of Taser victim's life in dispute

By Carl Prine and Jill King Greenwood
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ten minutes after his best friend dropped him at his Swissvale home Aug. 4, Andre DeMon "Dre" Thomas, 37, would be jolted with a Taser three times by police, then cuffed and put into an ambulance, where his heart would fail and he would die. What began with baby-back ribs, baseball scores and a bottle of wine ended in widely diverging allegations of police brutality, rival autopsies and a theory by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. that Thomas might have been coked up and resisting Swissvale police with "almost superhuman strength" about two blocks from where he lived.
Interviews with seven people who claim to have witnessed Thomas' confrontation with police, two prominent pathologists who examined Tribune-Review photographs of Thomas' body, and six friends and relatives who saw him that evening paint a different picture of his final moments.



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Is Condoleeza Rice stupid?

Has the US Secretary of State got her cassette stuck? For a week now she has been reiterating the same phrase “Russian forces must leave Georgia now” and for a week now the world has been informed of Georgian war crimes against Russians in Ossetia. The war crimes happened, the Russians call the shots now, Ms. Rice. Like it or lump it.

Is Condoleeza Rice stupid? OK her boss is, we all know that and that’s why nobody pays any attention to what he says or if they do, it is to have a good laugh at how such an imbecile could supposedly rule the roost in Washington (when everyone knows it is Cheney and his energy and arms lobbies). So Bush gets a discount, like the uncle that farts at family dinners, like the retarded nephew who belches swearwords after his third litre of Coke, like the simpleton that sits outside the church on Sundays begging for money informing everyone that he is an astronaut on Thursday afternoons.

Is Condoleeza Rice stupid? She claims to be a Russian expert but her command of the language was recently exposed as being basic/elementary level on a Russian radio programme, just as her grasp of what is going on in Russia today seems beneath the informed blogger level.


Malcontents Need Not Apply

The New York Times

August 17, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist



To put a smiley face on its image during the Olympics, the Chinese government set aside three “protest zones” in Beijing. Officials explained that so long as protesters obtained approval in advance, demonstrations would be allowed.

So I decided to test the system.

Following government instructions, I showed up at an office of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, found Window 12 and declared to the officer, “I’m here to apply to hold a protest.”


Not the good guys vs. the bad guys

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update - 09:08 17/08/2008

By Gideon Levy

TBILISI- The weekend edition of The Georgian Times left no room for doubt. The weekly, which is published in English and edited entirely by women, enlisted in the cause with all its might: "For Georgia and victory," "Georgia alone in stand-off with Russia," and "Europe learned nothing from Hitler's crimes" screamed the paper's front-page headlines. When the cannons are roaring in this spectacular Caucasian country, as in almost every country, everything serves a melodramatic purpose and self-criticism falls silent.

But one does not have to be a propagandizing Georgian newspaper to paint this new war in stark black and white. After all, the West and Israel are doing it, too: Georgia, a tiny democracy, dear to the West and darling of the U.S., is facing off against the aggressive, conquering, bullying Russian bear, not to mention the new Nazi. Good guys versus bad guys, David versus Goliath, "Adolf Putin" versus the freedom fighters.

It has been years since we have had a war in which it is so clear to spectators in the West who constitute the Children of Light and who constitute the Children of Darkness.


Microsoft, Comcast hire astroturfers to oppose net neutrality

August 14, 2008 4:00 AM PDT

Wanted: Writers for D.C. tech lobby group, secrecy mandatory

Mel King is a Boston-area community organizer locally famous for a housing sit-in, an almost-successful mayoral campaign, and the South End Technology Center, which provides low-cost computer training.

King, born in 1928, has long been a critic of telecommunications companies and an advocate of strict Net neutrality laws. He participated in an activists' "technology convening" in 2006 that fretted "companies who own the 'pipes' will control who gets on and what they can say." He joined a pro-Net neutrality coalition that opposed federal legislation backed by broadband providers.

Excerpt from a pro-Comcast, anti-Net neutrality op-ed in the Harvard Crimson newspaper supposedly written by Boston activist Mel King. To see the full article, click on the image.

Yet King placed his name on an opinion article in the Harvard Crimson in March that took the opposite position. It stated, "Most experts agree that broadband providers should be allowed to reasonably manage their networks," and it poked fun at the "idea that broadband networks should blindly treat each bit of information on the Internet equally."



Ossetians collect evidence of Georgian ‘genocide’

August 16, 2008, 1:44

South Ossetian residents and local journalists have launched their own investigation into claims of genocide perpetrated by Georgian soldiers. They accuse Georgians of attempting to destroy Ossetian graves and memorials to locals killed in earlier conflicts.
School number five is one of the most significant symbols of the long Georgian-Ossetian conflict.

During the South Ossetian war in the early 1990s, the local cemetery was occupied by Georgians, so the school's football field became a graveyard for Ossetian soldiers.

The latest conflict saw Georgian troops attempting to bomb the piece of Ossetian history, say locals.


The Gaza concentration camp: ancient colonialism through a Nazi filter

Agustín Velloso

Visiting the Gaza strip, July 2008

Translated by Toni Solo

When you approach the Erez frontier post to enter Gaza from the north, you notice a concentration camp straightaway even if you may never have seen one like the ones turned into museums or educational centres, or like the ones that appear in documentaries or photographs.

An observation balloon, innocently painted white, rocks gently to and fro in the air over the wall surrounding Gaza. It makes sure no unhappy soul moves beyond arbitrary limits set by the camp guards. The visitor is overwhelmed by the mammoth steel-reinforced wall. This imprisons a million and a half inmates inside an area approximately 38 kilometres long and 12 wide at its widest.

Apart from cases you can count on the fingers of one hand, Palestinians quite simply cannot pass through Erez. Full stop. Besides, they are not allowed out via the South, crossing into Egypt, nor via the West, since the Mediterranean Sea is barred to them, nor via the air, since that too is likewise barred, despite there being no boats or planes to travel in. In any case, the airport was destroyed by the bombs of Israel air power. Gazans are not allowed to exit by digging underground either.

Patrolling closely about the ten or so people waiting under a scorching sun before a guard post in the middle of open ground about a built-up area, various soldiers and plain clothes police, with state of the art machine guns at the ready, make very clear the people had better keep very still. At the end of a long wait, by loudspeaker, the soldier in the armed guard post lets them through into the built-up precinct.

It is like a warehouse, unexpectedly high, air conditioned and with various control posts inside, although only one is in use, since not enough people go through to warrant operating the rest. One is subjected to more waiting despite the absence of movement.

For the Zionist mentality everyone who does not cooperate with the system must pay a price. It is not even necessary to be one of their declared enemies. In this case, the visitors came from a State with good relations of all kinds with Israel, namely the Kingdom of Spain. Their documents were in order and they were unarmed. Matters had been prearranged with the Israeli authorities via the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem. They also had a return ticket to their country, money for their stay and a stated humanitarian purpose for their visit, which would last exactly three days.

The reason the Israeli frontier police at Erez waste the foreigners' time, is because the Zionists are not enthusiastic about witnesses visiting the camp. Foreigners arriving at Erez intending to pass through, are indeed that, nothing else. Israelis are forbidden to enter.

Israelis attempt to discourage visitors by many means. If the sight of the wall, the wandering machinegun-totting soldiers, the wait in the sun do not work, then visitors are subjected to hostile interrogation. From behind thick armoured glass, the seated interrogator addresses the standing interrogated person.

The questions vary from the reasonable to the comical, "What are you doing in Gaza? Have you been to Israel before? Do you speak Russian? Do you have a driving license? How many passports do you have? What's your boss called?" >From the higher level floor above, cameras and guards record and observe the visitors without being seen. Afterwards people have to go individually through a narrow series of metal barriers which the service personnel can shut off at will, then another couple of armoured doors operated by remote control and - all the while under closed circuit TV cameras - one leaves the precinct to enter a metal corridor and finally cross through the concrete wall into the Palestinian side.

When returning from Gaza to Israel, the process is the same except that one is forced to enter a coffin-like cubicle that is adjusted to one's body and in which you have to place yourself, legs apart, arms apart above your head. A kind of vertical electronic belt or ribbon goes around one's body. It is a procedure as stupid as it is impressive since the soldiers know beforehand who the visitors are and why they are visiting Gaza.

Entering a devastated Gaza

Entering Gaza, the devastation is stark. In the suffocating heat one traverses the remains of bulldozed or partially damaged buildings, mass of tangled rusting steel rods, piles of debris, sand, dust everywhere. Buildings have been torn down at an arbitrary distance from the border. One sees leveled ruins of houses and buildings in an area stretching to the horizon, broken only by that imposing wall.

One is not talking about a couple of houses that might have been in the way. Thousands of Palestinian houses and buildings have been razed in order to leave a way clear for military operations, in order to clear them for the so called security reasons. (1)

A taxi takes visitors to the refugee camp at Yabalia, seat of the first Intifada that began in December 7th 1987. After winding through the streets of various parts of the camp, covered in improvised houses, lacking infrastructure and sewage, transport, school or other facilities, one arrives at Al Awda hospital, whose name, perhaps ironically, means Return. There the hospital management meet you and tell about the health situation in the Strip generally and around the hospital in particular.

Perhaps it is best not to visit the room with photographs of the wounded, mutilated and dead at the hands of the Israeli Occupation, it graphically documents the barbarism inflicted by what, according to Israeli hagiography, is "the most moral army in the world". (2)

Living conditions in the Gaza concentration camp

Bassam Naim, Minister of Health for the Hamas government, receives visitors in his office. There he tells them of the problems caused by the international siege of the health system. Even so, the most interesting information for the non-healthcare specialist foreign visitors, is the political aspect. The Minister clarifies for visitors the confusion that exists in the West about the situation in the Gaza Strip.

It is not correct to consider that Gaza is a prison, as some argue in Europe. Rather it is indeed a concentration camp, because the inmates of European prisons get enough food and adequate medical care. They are free from military attack and they are not denied other rights, like education. None of that happens in Israeli occupied Gaza.

The Minister offers a further important reflection: the international community, not just Israel, is responsible for this situation. Both rejected the results of the 2006 elections, regarded as free and fair by international observers, and furthermore the "international community" looked the other way when Israel committed serious violations of international law. And of course, the Minister is right in his accusation because according to the law the international community has adopted, every country has the obligation to obey it and make sure that other member countries obey it too.

On April 4th this year, the Israeli daily paper Ha'aretz published the following announcement from the World Health Organization, "Israel has refused transit to more sick Palestinians seeking treatment since Hamas took control of the Strip and several of them die unnecessarily every month."

According to World Health Organization statistics, in 2007, 1627 patients from Gaza had requests for treatment denied, an increase of 470 compared to requests rejected in 2006. As of August 4th this year, 225 sick Palestinians have died in Gaza since the siege began, either because they could not get the necessary medical supplies, since their importation is more controlled than ever, or because they were not allowed to travel to hospitals in the West Bank, Israel or Egypt for treatment unavailable in Gaza.

On August 1st this year, Ahmed Abu Amra, a three-month-old child, died of heart failure because her parents were denied permission to transfer him to a specialist hospital in Israel. Within 24 hours another four adults died, again because Israel denied permission to obtain treatment abroad.

Since 21 June 2008 a tenuous ceasefire has been in place between Israel and Gaza, but despite the calmer situation access to medical treatment has not improved. The Israeli organization Physicians for Human Rights recently stated: "Despite the agreement between Hamas and Israel\205 there has been no improvement towards patients in Gaza in Israeli policy, which seems even to have become worse. To the obstacles imposed by the general security service on people who want to leave Gaza for medical treatment, patients face more bureaucratic difficulties imposed by the army, which prevent them enjoying their right to health." The entire Palestinian medical system is undermined by the siege; it ranges form the basic access to medical supplies to the impossibility of referring patients to specialized treatment.

Although health is not the only social sector seriously debilitated by the siege, it illustrates very well that in fact Israel is not defending itself against the Palestinians; in fact, what is in evidence is a clear policy intent on harming the overall population.

Health is a fundamental right. If the Palestinians don't get enough to eat; if their health needs are not adequately met; if the water purification plants do not work because there are no fuels or spare parts; if waste waters are not treated; if sanitary conditions deteriorate to such an extent, then life turns into mere survival.

The shortages caused by the siege go beyond medical supplies. They cover food, water, building materials, spare parts for basic products, energy, educational materials, in fact everything.

John Ging, director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, explains the situation as follows: "UNRWA receives barely 56% of the resources it needs to look after the refugees. It supplies 60% of their daily diet, which does not meet Western recommendations on personal nutrition."

School classes are so crowded they have to offer two classroom shifts a day, so as not to leave any child without basic schooling. Some children start at 8.00 and finish at midday. Others then enter and finish at 16.00. No space or facilities exist for extra-curricular activities, either sports or any other kind. Since the facilities are unavailable, there is an educational collapse; young people will not be minimally prepared. Not only are basic skills affected, but what they learn in the moral and political spheres is impinging upon future peaceful relations, democracy, human rights.

I asked Ging about his opinion of the role of the international community and he remarked: "I have invited Solana and Blair to visit Gaza and get to know personally the situation of the refugees, but they have declined the invitation."

The awful condition of 1.5 million Palestinians corralled in 360, where they are deprived of basic human rights, is insufficient to prick the consciences of leading Western politicians. In the very least, the likes of Javier Solana or Tony Blair should demand respect for the freedom of movement of people.

John Ging's blood seems almost to boil when relates that UNRWA has 10,000 employees and a budget of US$200 million for clinics, schools and housing. However, Israel will not even permit the agency to carry out its humanitarian mission, and they are not exempt from the effects of siege. He is a diplomat and can only present these facts while observing that Solana and Blair do not even answer his calls.

John Ging is an Irishman straightforward and clear in his arguments. He does not let any visitor leave without obtaining an accurate idea of what is going on in the Gaza Strip and above all why it is happening. "The issue is one of justice, not of distributing food parcels and medicines to people in need. Without a system by which Israel is held to account for its actions, justice does not exist."

Conclusion: Gaza is not just a prison and Israel is not its only guard

Listening to John Ging, one determines that the responsibility for the Palestinian humanitarian disaster does not just reside with Israel, but the international community certainly bears much responsibility.

What makes this situation more galling is that the Palestinians had sought to obtain a negotiated solution and democratic elections of its leadership - hoops Israel and the United States demanded that the Palestinians should jump through. The consequence of this unending situation is obviously a growing sense of despair and violence among its victims.

The terrible history of the Nazi concentration camps does not seem to deter Israel in creating a concentration camp of its own in Gaza. Now, with the blessing and the money of the "international community", the Erez crossing point has turned into the entrance to a concentration camp right now in the 21st Century. If blame, even if only moral blame, was cast on those who did nothing and looked the other way in times gone by, what judgment do the people deserve now who not only keep quiet about Israel's actions in Gaza, but actually aid and abet them?

It is a disgrace that in Europe and the United States, stalwart defenders of women's rights find space in the most influential newspapers and most watched television programmes to clamour against the use of the veil by Muslim women, but there is no clamour against the Israeli State for denying medical care in the Gaza strip, which means that hundreds of Gazans die due to medical neglect. Some women even have given birth right there in the control post, in the most shameful conditions, because they are not authorized to leave Gaza.
(1) The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) announced on October 11th 2007 that the Israeli government had demolished 18,000 Palestinian houses since the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967. It concludes, "Israeli policies are designed to limit the number of Palestinians living in areas earmarked for settlements or in their vicinity".

Amnesty International recalled on its web page of March 11th this year, "The Israeli authorities have for many years applied a discriminatory policy of house demolitions, permitting, on the one hand, many tens of Israeli settlements to be built on Occupied Palestinian territory in flagrant violation of international law at the same time as they confiscate Palestinian lands, forbidding the Palestinian population to build and destroying their houses. The cleared land is often used to build illegal Israeli settlements. International law prohibits occupying powers from building settlements for their own citizens on the territories they occupy."

(2) Thousands of Palestinians with horrible mutilations, unimaginable wounds, bodies burned and disabled for life give the lie to the Israeli government version. They wait to be called as witnesses by an eventual court briefed to try crimes against humanity committed in Palestine, Lebanon and other countries.

That day, given the statistics of victims of Israeli attacks, there was no shortage of witnesses: 12,261 Palestinians have been wounded by the Israeli Occupation army just from the start of the Al Aqsa Intifada of September 29th 2000 up until May 2008. To get a total of the victims of Zionism, a figure very much higher, one would have to add the victims of the first Intifada and those from previous aggression in the form of actual attacks and wars.

The Palestine Centre for Human Rights, based in Gaza, offers abundant information about the long list of human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Territories, including torture, arbitrary detention, destruction of Palestinian property, attacks on medical teams, extra-judicial executions, attacks on civilians not involved in hostilities and so on. See also data by B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights, Defence for Children International - Israel Section, Machsom Watch - Women for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights, etc.

Any action by Israel has to be sold to the world as action to preserve the peace, defend the security of Israel, fight against terrorism, strengthen the peace process: Mass marketing know-how applied once again to selling another, different genocide.

"In his 1965 autobiography, Edward Bernays recalls a dinner at his home in 1933, 'where Karl von Weigand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Weigand his propaganda library, the best Weigand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Weigand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. ... Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.'"

Ending note: Agustin Velloso answers a doubt of the translator, TS.

Simone Weil wrote that the Nazis applied in Europe what the Europeans routinely did in their colonies - genocide, torture, outright theft of land. After all this time, clearly, Zionist crimes against the Palestinians, against the Lebanese, knowingly and deliberately carry the weight not just of Nazi crimes but also those of the French in Algeria, of the Belgians in the Congo of the Dutch in Indonesia, of Portugal in Africa, of the British around the world, of the United States against its native peoples. It seems to me, the Israelis and their allies, the United States and the European Union, are deliberately applying the accumulated weight of that evil so as to destroy, if they have not done so already, the legitimacy of the United Nations system and related international law, and thus facilitate more easily criminal rich-country domination in the name of globalization. So I had a conceptual difficulty translating this article, related to the references to Nazism since, t aken altogether in the current context, Israeli government policies, especially the defiance of the International Court of Justice and the threats of nuclear genocide against the people of Iran, amount to something worse than Nazism.

Translation copyleft, Toni Solo 2008

Standing Up for Justice in the Middle East

Israel may use force to halt boat trying to break Gaza siege

Weekend Edition
August 16 / 17, 2008

Yes, We Can!


Limassol, Cyprus.

“Come, my friends
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset … ”

--TS Eliot, “Ulysses”

In a few, short days, the Free Gaza Movement, a diverse group of international human rights activists from seventeen different countries, will set sail from Cyprus to Gaza in order to shatter the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. I’m proud to stand with them. Over 170 prominent individuals and organizations have endorsed our efforts, including the Carter Center, former British Cabinet member Claire Short, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire and Desmond Tutu.

Adam Qvist, a 22 year old student and filmmaker from Copenhagen, Denmark, is one of the human rights workers sailing to Gaza. He explains his participation in the project in this way:

“I’m interested in telling narratives and advocating people’s existent feelings. The idea of sailing to Gaza is kind of crazy, but it’s also very straight-forward. The whole idea of having just one Palestinian who’s been forced off their land and who is able to return to Palestine - this is something that could demolish the whole Zionist venture. And it just has to be one person. If one person can do it, then others can do it. This project, this boat, is about giving people the freedom to take responsibility. You shouldn’t expect something from others if you can’t do it yourself, and this is true both on a very personal but also on a political level.


China begins work on $900 million power plant and agrees to develop oil field in southern Iraq

By Salah al-Rubaai

Azzaman, August 16, 2008

The Chinese firm, Shanghai, has started constructing a major thermal power plant in the southern Province of Wasit, the Ministry of electricity said.

Electricity Minister Kareem Waheed attended the laying down of the foundation stone for the plant, the largest ever project a foreign firm begins constructing in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Kareem said on completion the plant will generate 1320 megawatts of electricity.


7,000 police blanket Kabul, 88 Die In Afghan violence

7,000 police blanket Kabul before celebration

August 17, 2008 - 12:50pm


Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The Afghan police ordered 7,000 officers onto the streets of Kabul to guard against attacks on senior leaders during Independence Day celebrations Monday, responding to signs of the Taliban's growing strength near the capital.

Even the location of the celebration of Afghanistan's 89th anniversary of independence from Britain was kept secret and will be closed to the public to try to minimize the risk insurgents could again disrupt a national commemoration.

In April, gunmen in a rented hotel room fired on Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a military parade in Kabul as he sat in the the review stands. Karzai escaped injury, but the attack killed three people, including a lawmaker.


Biden Goes To Georgia At Saakshvili's Request

Bush Tells Russia to Get out of Georgia

Bush to Russia: Hands off disputed regions in Georgia; Rice vague on possible consequences


The Associated Press


President Bush warned Russia on Saturday against trying to pry loose two separatist regions in Georgia and said Moscow must end military operations in the West-leaning democracy that once was part of the Soviet empire.

Bush told reporters at his Texas ranch that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's signing of a cease-fire plan with Georgia was "a hopeful step." But Russia's vision of Georgia without the provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was a nonstarter, the president said.


At the request of Saakshvili, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., scheduled a trip to Georgia this weekend for meetings with government officials as well as citizens forced to flee their homes.


The state of the American economy

The Strong US Dollar Illusion
More on the bribes REIC poodle Senator Dodd took from Angelo Mozilo
Subprime pain sweeps the world
Lehman Portfolio Firesale?

Added: June 05, 2008

Revelle Forum: Roger Lowenstein on Pension Debts

[skip the intro]

Financial journalist and author Roger Lowenstein predicts the cause of the next widespread economic crunch as he excerpts his new book, "While America Aged: How Pension Debts Ruined General Motors, Stopped the NYC Subways, Bankrupted San Diego, and Loom as the Next Financial Crisis." Series: Revelle Forum at the Neurosciences Institute [6/2008] [Public Affairs] [Business] [Show ID: 14382]

I'm Home, but Still Haunted by Guantanamo

By Jumah al Dossari

Sunday, August 17, 2008; B04

I've covered the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2004 as military correspondent for The Post. Jumah al Dossari first caught my attention in October 2005, when I heard the story of his gruesome suicide attempt during a visit from his lawyer. Then known as Detainee #261, Dossari clearly was making a public plea for help. Though the U.S. military has said many times that all detainees at Guantanamo are treated humanely and that Dossari had been getting the help he needed, detention in Guantanamo apparently became more than he could bear. His wish to die humanized the desperation of many detainees held indefinitely at the facility.

U.S. officials maintained for years that Dossari was a dangerous terrorist who had been arrested after going to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against U.S. forces. Dossari also spent some time in the United States and allegedly tried to recruit terrorists with fiery sermons, something that obviously raised concerns among his interrogators and jailers. Nevertheless, he was never charged with a crime, never admitted any connection to terrorism and was ultimately released to Saudi Arabia in July 2007.

His return to freedom has been smooth. He is employed, married and doing well. When I talked to him by cellphone from Dammam late last year, he spoke of a hope and a peace and a forgiveness that arose from his "black days" behind bars at Guantanamo.

-- Josh White

DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia

It has been a little over a year since I left the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but I still have trouble sleeping sometimes. On a recent restless night, I found a DVD entitled "United 93" beside the family television set. I had no idea what it was about, but I started watching. When I realized that it was about the hijacked American plane that had crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, I began to cry. It reminded me of a very simple question I had asked myself countless times during my 5 1/2 years in Guantanamo: When will humans start treating each other with respect, whatever our religion or color?



Woman cuffed and cited for using F word in a Wal-Mart

Foul-talking shopper stirs up a tempest at store in La Marque

Fire captain writes a ticket, tells woman to watch her mouth

By PEGGY O'HARE Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Aug. 13, 2008, 11:28PM

If all storms had a name, this one would start with the letter F.

As Tropical Storm Edouard closed in on the Texas Gulf Coast last week, a storm of a different kind was brewing inside the sporting goods section of a Wal-Mart store in La Marque. It started with the F-word.

And now a 28-year-old single mother must go to court if she wants to fight a ticket for using profanity.

On Aug. 4, as local residents prepared for deteriorating weather conditions, Kathryn "Kristi" Fridge made a last-minute stop at the Wal-Mart at FM 1764 and Interstate 45 with her mother and 2-year-old daughter.


Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police commissioner, had his rival bugged

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, allegedly bugged Britain's most senior Asian policeman, according to leaked Scotland Yard documents.

By Chris Irvine

Last Updated: 7:39PM BST 17 Aug 2008

Tarique Ghaffur, assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police
Tarique Ghaffur believes the surveillance operation was designed to trap him in a compromising position Photo: PA

The papers allege Tarique Ghaffur, an assistant commissioner, had more than 300 of his telephone calls tapped in an elaborate operation overseen directly by Blair.

He was also photographed and taped attending more than 30 meetings with a fellow officer at restaurants and cafes in west London.

Ghaffur's lawyers are preparing this week to announce formal legal proceedings for race discrimination against Blair, who was placed under formal investigation by the Home Office this month.

Blair is under investigation over £3 million worth of police work awarded to close friend Andy Miller.



McCain's Ambien Use - A Security Threat? Drug Also Known To Have Memory-Related Side-Effects

The Candidate You Likely Don’t Know: Most Americans still don’t know that McCain forgets key elements of policies, gets countries’ names wrong, forgets things he’s said only hours or days before and is frequently just confused.

McCain's Ambien Use - A Security Threat? Drug Also Known To Have Memory-Related Side-Effects

McCain - Unfit To Lead

Republican Lawmaker Begins Sentence for Taking Oil Co. Bribes

Scandals threaten to paint red-state Alaska blue

By Karl Vick

The Washington Post
Posted August 16, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — On the summer morning he would deliver himself to federal marshals to begin a 3½-year sentence for accepting an oil company's bribes, former Republican state lawmaker Vic Kohring parked along the side of Alaska's busiest highway. While his mother waited in the car, Kohring posted a hand-lettered sign reading "Thanks, Alaska" and spent three hours waving and smiling at drivers heading to work.

The unlikely display of gratitude came after the FBI captured the portly Republican on surveillance video gushing, "That's very kind of you, I appreciate that," as an oil executive handed over hundred-dollar bills. And he may not be the last Alaska Republican making a less than graceful exit from the stage this year.

Polls show that Sen. Ted Stevens, recently indicted for allegedly failing to report a quarter of a million dollars in gifts from the same oil executive, is widely expected to prevail in the Aug. 26 Republican primary. But that victory would allow the patriarch widely known as "Uncle Ted" only the dubious honor of being able to devote his full attention to a felony trial in advance of a November general election that looks less promising for the incumbent.


Man paid ultimate price for overstaying visa, getting lost in a system some have likened to a gulag

The New York Times

August 17, 2008


Mr. Ng’s Death

This country’s harsh regime of immigration enforcement is racked with troubles from top to bottom, from the federal raids recklessly sweeping thousands of harmless immigrants into custody to the scandal-riddled detention system that abuses and neglects them once they get there.

Last week, The Times’s Nina Bernstein reported on another shameful case of someone entering immigration detention, getting sick, and dying. This time it was Hiu Lui Ng, a computer engineer from China. He paid the ultimate price for overstaying a visa, and getting lost in a sprawling system that some have likened to a gulag.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not comment because of a continuing investigation. But court affidavits tell a story of shocking neglect:


Nouriel Roubini predicted the current economic crisis. Now he sees things becoming far worse

New York Times Article on Nouriel Roubini as “Dr. Doom”

Nouriel Roubini | Aug 15, 2008
The New York Times has published a long article/profile about me – available online here – that appears in print on their glossy Sunday Magazine.

The article is a very friendly and sympathetic portrait of my views. I would take issue only with the characterization of myself as being a “perma-bear” or “perpetual pessimist”. For one thing I ended up a realist rather than a pessimist about the current economic and financial crisis; things are turning out even worse than I initially predicted.

Also, while very pessimistic about the U.S. and global financial outlook in the short run, I expect that the global economy can grow at a sustained rate in the medium term and that the integration of China, India and other emerging market economies in the global economy is a very important and positive trend over time. So, yes there is doom and gloom over the short term; but the medium term horizon will be brighter for the global economy if and when the mess of the current financial and economic crisis is fixed. Still, as i have recently argued - and as reported at the end of the New York Times article - this U.S. crisis may be the sign of the beginning of the long run decline of the American Empire.

Dr. Doom

Two years ago, Nouriel Roubini predicted the current economic crisis. Now he sees things becoming far worse.


Published: August 15, 2008, New York Times Sunday Magazine



How Big Brother watches your every move

In our ever-growing surveillance society, the average Briton is being recorded 3,000 times a week. Richard Gray reports.

Last Updated: 9:33AM BST 17 Aug 2008

How Big Brother watches your every move
In many cases information is kept by companies such as banks and shops, but in certain circumstances they can be asked to hand it over to a range of legal authorities Photo: ANTHONY UPTON

With every telephone call, swipe of a card and click of a mouse, information is being recorded, compiled and stored about Britain's citizens.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has now uncovered just how much personal data is being collected about individuals by the Government, law enforcement agencies and private companies each day.

In one week, the average person living in Britain has 3,254 pieces of personal information stored about him or her, most of which is kept in databases for years and in some cases indefinitely.


Florida Man Dies After Police Allegedly Shoot Him Repeatedly With Taser Gun

Saturday , August 16, 2008


A Florida man is dead after being repeatedly shocked by a Taser stun gun.

Police say 45-year-old Kenneth Oliver of Miami-Dade showed up at a friend's home early Friday morning, shouting and banging on the front door.

The friend, Johnnie Mosely, told police he considered letting Oliver in, but his daughters were frightened by the way Oliver was acting.


Pakistan's Musharraf to Resign, Leave the Country

Exit Musharraf?

Pakistan's president will resign and leave the country, according to NEWSWEEK sources.

Fasih Ahmed and Ron Moreau

Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 1:20 PM ET Aug 17, 2008

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is expected to resign Monday and fly into exile in Saudi Arabia, where he is to remain for the next three months, a former aide to the president has told NEWSWEEK on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. The aide added that the news had been relayed to the nation's top military brass, including its powerful corps commanders. Though a current aide to Musharraf confirms that the president will resign, officially, Musharraf's camp denies the story. "Your source is a liar," retired Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi, a presidential spokesman, told NEWSWEEK when asked about the president's resignation and possible flight into exile. "The information you have is absolutely untrue."

The 65-year-old Musharraf, who has ruled the country of 170 million with an authoritarian hand for nearly nine years, may be seeking to avoid a humiliating impeachment trial before a largely hostile parliament and to protect himself from possible criminal prosecution. Still, the exit of Washington's one-time point man in the war on terror is unlikely to solve Pakistan's myriad ills, including economic and political instability, government paralysis and an increasingly aggressive Islamic insurgency along the frontier with Afghanistan. It could even add to Pakistan's volatility, as the president's main nemeses and ruling coalition partners, Pakistani People's Party co-chairmen Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, begin to jockey for position to fill a power vacuum created by Musharraf's departure.

Though his resignation had been expected for days, a move to flee the country is a surprise since Musharraf and his chief allies have said he would fight impeachment and remain in Pakistan. At a gathering at the presidential palace in Islamabad on Wednesday, the eve of Pakistan's Independence Day, the president may have foreshadowed his decision in a speech to his guests. He tried to put the best face on his worsening predicament, calling for reconciliation among the country's political forces as the only way that Pakistan could face its many challenges. But according to NEWSWEEK sources, in private conversations that night Musharraf agreed with several close friends that his resignation was his only viable option, and that fighting impeachment proceedings in parliament would only deepen and prolong the country's political agony.


Cop's actions as dog was dying anger driver

Buffalo Police batter their way into wrong house - Family of 8 traumatized by officers’ behavior; officials admit error made but defend actions

"Why were you speeding?" "Please, officer, our dog is choking to death!" "Chill out, you can buy another one." 14 min. later, speeding ticket served to couple and dead dog.


Web Posted: 08/14/2008 12:00 CDT

Roger Croteau - Express-News

A Texas State University student who waited to get a speeding ticket while his girlfriend's dog died in her arms has filed a formal complaint with the San Marcos police over the Aug. 5 incident.

Krystal Hernandez was holding her ailing teacup poodle, Missy, while her boyfriend, Michael Gonzalez, raced south on Interstate 35 — allegedly hitting 95 mph — toward a 24-hour veterinary clinic in New Braunfels.

After their car was pulled over sometime after midnight, the couple said they were kept waiting for 20 minutes by Officer Paul Stephens before he issued the ticket, despite their desperate pleas.


The CIA has a puppet in power in France


Mr Sarkozy and the CIA. Based on Thierry Meyssan's "Operation Sarkozy"

By Robert Thompson

Jul 18, 2008, 10:19

Editor's Note: The article discussed below is included at the end of the document, both in translation and in the original French. Translation into English by Robert Thompson, with additional edits from Siv O�Neall.

A most interesting study dated 14th July 2008 by Thierry Meyssan, entitled Operation Sarkozy, has been brought to my attention on how the CIA managed to place one of its agents, namely Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, as president of the French Republic.

To make his point, Mr Meyssan does not content himself with vague conjecture, but puts together checkable facts relating to the relationship between our President and the CIA (the well-known terrorist organisation financed by the tax-payers in the USA), and the USA establishment in general, with a view to ensuring that French policy should be dramatically re-aligned to serve the interests of the present USA administration (not, of course, the people of the USA).

The links between various arms of the USA establishment and Mr Sarkozy are much closer than I could ever have imagined, although I was aware of a fair number of the facts reported and examined by Mr Meyssan. I had not however thought, and this is indeed my own fault, how closely these links tie up with other links with groups on both sides of the Atlantic allied, or similar, to the Mafia and other conspiratorial bodies based in Italy and neighbouring states as well as being well entrenched in the USA.


Russia will pull out troops on Monday - Medvedev. Provocation planned?

August 17, 2008, 19:46

Russia will begin withdrawing its army from the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone on Monday, according to President Dmitry Medvedev. It means troops will return to the positions they held before the outbreak of fighting. Medvedev announced the pledge after holding talks by telephone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Russian leader also stressed the need for Georgia to return its forces to the agreed positions. The withdrawal of troops is one of the conditions of the French-brokered peace deal.

Provocation planned?

The Russian Defence Ministry says it has intelligence that Georgia is planning an act of provocation against its servicemen in the town of Gori.

It believes that Georgians are forming military groups and planning to carry out attacks in the area, dressed in Russian military uniforms.


‘Suicide’ of Bruce Ivins makes it 24 bioterrorism experts who have died over last seven years

Concern Raised Over Suspicious Deaths Of 24 Bio-Scientists

By Victor Thorn

OVER THE PAST SEVEN YEARS, more than two dozen of the world’s most esteemed microbiologists—all of whom were focused on combating bioterrorism—have died under questionable circumstances.

One was stabbed with a sword, another run over by a car, while a third was bashed over the head until dead. A scientist was found with repeated stab wounds to the chest; another was shoved under a chair (naked from the waist down); one perished in a nitrogen-filled airlock; another was carjacked, with his keys still in the ignition and a full tank of gas.

None of these men died of natural causes. Their murders were deliberate, and it’s sending a clear message to virus experts, immunologists, entomologists, and those researching bio-weaponry: your lives are in grave danger.



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