Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama changes policy on abortion

Washington Times, January 24, 2009 - President Obama on Friday repealed the Mexico City policy, a controversial Reagan-era measure that withheld funding to foreign aid organizations that perform abortions or refer women to abortion providers, which had been rescinded by President Clinton and re-instituted by President Bush.

Mr. Obama signed the executive order one day after tens of thousands of Americans protested in front of the White House against Roe v. Wade, on the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The decision shows that Mr. Obama will deliver on his campaign promises to be one of the most pro-choice presidents in modern history...MORE...


While President Obama exercised good moral judgment in reversing the Bush administration policies on enhanced interrogation (torture) of terrorism suspects, his decision to again allow federal funding to foreign aid organizations that perform abortion or refer women to abortion providers is extremely disappointing although not unexpected. It is of course always morally illicit to either passively or actively participate in the intentional procuring of abortion--which the Mexico City Policy clearly allows.

I intend to critique all of the new President's major policy initiatives from a traditional (Aristotelian/Thomistic) moral perspective in order to provide some needed moral clarity that is not sympathetic to or influenced by political party affiliation.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Friday, January 23, 2009

The One-State Solution

By Op-Ed Contributor MUAMMAR QADDAFI
The New York Times
Published: January 21, 2009

THE shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

But everywhere one looks, among the speeches and the desperate diplomacy, there is no real way forward. A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it lies in the history of the people of this conflicted land, and not in the tired rhetoric of partition and two-state solutions.

Although it’s hard to realize after the horrors we’ve just witnessed, the state of war between the Jews and Palestinians has not always existed. In fact, many of the divisions between Jews and Palestinians are recent ones. The very name “Palestine” was commonly used to describe the whole area, even by the Jews who lived there, until 1948, when the name “Israel” came into use.

Jews and Muslims are cousins descended from Abraham. Throughout the centuries both faced cruel persecution and often found refuge with one another. Arabs sheltered Jews and protected them after maltreatment at the hands of the Romans and their expulsion from Spain in the Middle Ages.

The history of Israel/Palestine is not remarkable by regional standards — a country inhabited by different peoples, with rule passing among many tribes, nations and ethnic groups; a country that has withstood many wars and waves of peoples from all directions. This is why it gets so complicated when members of either party claims the right to assert that it is their land.

The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland.

But the Palestinians too have a history of persecution, and they view the coastal towns of Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and others as the land of their forefathers, passed from generation to generation, until only a short time ago.

Thus the Palestinians believe that what is now called Israel forms part of their nation, even were they to secure the West Bank and Gaza. And the Jews believe that the West Bank is Samaria and Judea, part of their homeland, even if a Palestinian state were established there. Now, as Gaza still smolders, calls for a two-state solution or partition persist. But neither will work.

A two-state solution will create an unacceptable security threat to Israel. An armed Arab state, presumably in the West Bank, would give Israel less than 10 miles of strategic depth at its narrowest point. Further, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would do little to resolve the problem of refugees. Any situation that keeps the majority of Palestinians in refugee camps and does not offer a solution within the historical borders of Israel/Palestine is not a solution at all.

For the same reasons, the older idea of partition of the West Bank into Jewish and Arab areas, with buffer zones between them, won’t work. The Palestinian-held areas could not accommodate all of the refugees, and buffer zones symbolize exclusion and breed tension. Israelis and Palestinians have also become increasingly intertwined, economically and politically.

In absolute terms, the two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an “Isratine” that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.

A key prerequisite for peace is the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes their families left behind in 1948. It is an injustice that Jews who were not originally inhabitants of Palestine, nor were their ancestors, can move in from abroad while Palestinians who were displaced only a relatively short time ago should not be so permitted.

It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 — violence that did not occur, but rumors of which led to a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never “un-welcomed.” Yet only the full territories of Isratine can accommodate all the refugees and bring about the justice that is key to peace.

Assimilation is already a fact of life in Israel. There are more than one million Muslim Arabs in Israel; they possess Israeli nationality and take part in political life with the Jews, forming political parties. On the other side, there are Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli factories depend on Palestinian labor, and goods and services are exchanged. This successful assimilation can be a model for Isratine.

If the present interdependence and the historical fact of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence guide their leaders, and if they can see beyond the horizon of the recent violence and thirst for revenge toward a long-term solution, then these two peoples will come to realize, I hope sooner rather than later, that living under one roof is the only option for a lasting peace. (author's emphasis throughout)


Despite his notorious reputation in much of the West, Qaddafi made several points above with which I am in agreement. However, it is a matter of historical fact that the pre-Israeli "defense" force (Irgun) conducted a campaign of ethic cleansing in which thousands of innocent Arab Palestinians were killed (i.e. violence of a horrific kind did indeed happen). It included later building new cities on the sites of Palestinian towns and settlements in such a way as to erase all evidence that they once existed. Actual not simply rumors of violence occurred.

Until recently, I favored a so-called 2-state solution. I now believe as do many others that it is politically and demographically impossible. As long as Israel allows a radical form of Zionism to determine its foreign policy, no accomodation can be reached with its neighbors. While it might theoretically be possible--if Israel abandoned Zionism-- to effect some kind of 2-state solution, such a scenario seems extremely unlikely--in the absence of Divine intervention. The entire scenario to establish a modern Israel in Palestine is a Zionist enterprise through and through.

If the status quo persists, the Palestinian Arabs will eventually prevail due to an Israeli guaranteed demographic suicide. Even within Israel proper (discounting Gaza and the West Bank) the Arab population of Israel will before long outnumber that of the non-Arab Israeli's.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza civilian areas

Lumps of still smouldering white phosphorus found in Gaza City

Amnesty International
19 January 2009

The Israeli army used white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely populated civilian residential areas of Gaza City, according to indisputable evidence found an Amnesty International fact-finding team which reached the area last Saturday.

When white phosphorus lands on skin it burns deeply through muscle and into the bone, continuing to burn until deprived of oxygen.

Amnesty International’s delegates found still-burning white phosphorus wedges all around residential buildings on Sunday. These wedges were further endangering the residents and their property; streets and alleys are full of children playing, drawn to the detritus of war and often unaware of the danger.

The carrier shells which delivered the wedges were also still lying in and around houses and buildings. Some of these heavy steel 155mm shells have caused extensive damage to residential properties.

"Yesterday, we saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli army," said Christopher Cobb-Smith, a weapons expert who is in Gaza as part of the four-person Amnesty International team.

"White phosphorus is a weapon intended to provide a smokescreen for troop movements on the battlefield," said Cobb-Smith. "It is highly incendiary, air burst and its spread effect is such that it that should never be used on civilian areas.”

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s researcher on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories said that such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely populated residential neighbourhoods is inherently indiscriminate. "Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," she said

When each 155mm artillery shell bursts, it deploys 116 wedges impregnated with white phosphorus which ignite on contact with oxygen and can scatter, depending on the height at which it is burst (and wind conditions), over an area at least the size of a football pitch. In addition to the indiscriminate effect of air-bursting such a weapon, firing such shells as artillery exacerbates the likelihood that civilians will be affected.

"Artillery is an area weapon; not good for pinpoint targeting. The fact that these munitions, which are usually used as ground burst, were fired as air bursts increases the likely size of the danger area,” said Chris Cobb-Smith.

Among the places worst affected by the use of white phosphorus was the UNRWA compound in Gaza City, at which Israeli forces fired three white phosphorus shells on 15 January. The white phosphorus landed next to some fuel trucks and caused a large fire which destroyed tons of humanitarian aid.

Prior to this strike, the compound had already been hit an hour earlier and the Israeli authorities had been informed by UNRWA officials and had given assurance that no further strikes would be launched on the compound.

In another incident on the same day a white phosphorus shell landed in the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City also causing a fire that forced hospital staff to evacuate the patients.

The Beginning of the End for Israel

By Yvonne Ridley

January 19, 2009 "Information Clearinghouse" -- - TRY as he might, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert can not snatch any sort of victory out of the jaws of defeat that are closing down on the failed Zionist project.

This, quite simply, is the beginning of the end for Israel.

The only thing Israel has proved it can do militarily better than anyone else is kill innocent women and children. And in its genocidal drive to wipe the Palestinian people from existence it has dealt itself a fatal blow.

In the belief they would seize an easy victory from the people of Gaza, after retreating broken and humiliated by Hizb'Allah in Lebanon two years earlier, Israel once again learned what happens when you underestimate the enemy.

Gaza has been reduced to piles or rubble in some areas as Zionist bombs pounded the tiny coastal strip by land, sea and air. It was a ruthless, brutal campaign deliberately timed for the final weeks of George W Bush's US presidency and before the start of the Israeli elections.

Olmert and Tzipi Livni, the daughter of a war criminal and terrorist (well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?) boasted how they would crush Hamas and stop the Qassam rockets from being fired into Israel.

And so, playing the victim yet again, the Zionist State unleashed the might of its army - the fourth largest in the world - on the most densely populated piece of land on Earth, claiming it needed to stop a few tin rockets powered by fertiliser fuel heading towards land stolen from the Palestinians in the first place. Oh, the irony of it all.

By trying to win hearts and minds they enlisted the support of Zionist think tanks who would go into overdrive to try and discredit Hamas and its supporters through TV and newspaper columns. Some of the accusations laid against Hamas were plain ridiculous and silly and fooled no one apart from the commissioning editors.

As I write this article I am watching Olmert on the BBC speaking at a news conference with European leaders saying he wants Israeli troops to leave Gaza "as quickly as possible". Meanwhile Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, is on al-Aqsa TV praising his people for their courage and bravery and saying they have won a great victory over Israel.

And indeed they have.

The drive to crush Hamas has failed - in fact many of the millions across the world who marched against the war proudly and loudly declared: "We are all Hamas".
The cries shocked Olmert, Livni and co. who, in their breath-taking arrogance believed the world would stand by and applaud from the sidelines as they went to war with the people of Gaza.

What happened instead was demonstrations, riots, anarchy and outrage from ordinary people pouring out of just about every city on the planet. This was the moment when another battle was launched: People Power versus the politicians. And 'we' the people won it easily.

Leaders who once said they supported Israel began putting a distance between themselves and Tel Aviv. The gaggle of belly-dancing Arab leaders began to dance to a different tune while some of the Arab world's most brutal dictators clamped down even more on their own citizens seeing coups and plots, real or imaginary, at every turn.

Shameful 'scholars for dollars' issued fatwas proclaiming demonstrations were haram ... these same sheikhs were full of praise for those of us who rallied and marched to show our anger over the vile Danish cartoons which ridiculed The Prophet Mohamed (pbuh). Such hypocrisy reveals them for what they are - men without honour or integrity.

Oh how the Middle East could do with some revolutionary figures like Venezeula's Hugo Chavez who kicked out the Israeli Ambassador and then Bolivia followed suit.

But perhaps the most devastating blow to Israel came from one time Gulf ally, The Emir of Qatar who ended trade relations with the rogue state.

We still do not know how many Israeli soldiers have died ... it is a figure Olmert is trying to keep quiet. (Editors emphasis throughout) No public, ceremonial funerals are shown on TV in Tel Aviv. The Israelis, so used to playing the victim for the American and European media, have not been able to publicly display their mourning to the world. Could it be that mothers, wives and daughters of the dead would want to blame the Israeli government for yet another failed campaign?

It is a far cry from the week before, when Olmert regaled a cheering crowd in Ashkelon about how he telephoned George W Bush and interrupted him in the middle of a speech he was making in Philadelphia and told him to instruct Condaleezza Rice not to vote for a UN resolution Condi herself had written. Bush did as he was told, said Olmert to roars of approval.

I hope Barrack Obama and Hilary Clinton take note.

And I hope they realise now that the democratically elected Hamas are the only party in town to sit down and negotiate with. Failed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas should now viewed as collateral damage. His credibility has gone and any deal he made with Israel over this shameful period will soon be revealed. By the way, I understand his luxury villa in Gaza is about the only building that is free of shrapnel, shells or bullet marks. It certainly survived the bombing in a district which was attacked without mercy. Funny that!

Gaza will rise again from the rubble with its people even stronger than before. They are an example to resistance fighters across the world and they will go down in history for their bravery and courage.

In a few years time children across the Middle East will be raised on the heroic stories and exploits of the people of Gaza. And as they are safely tucked up in their beds, they'll probably ask: "So what did happen to Israel? Did it really exist?"

Yvonne Ridley is a co-Founder of SGS - Stop Gaza Slaughter. Her website is She was also part of the Free Gaza Movement and was on one of two boats to break the siege of Gaza and sail into the port for the first time in more than 40 years last August. She and film-maker Aki Nawaz are producing a documentary for Press TV about the historic voyage.


In the absence of a return to the UN mandated pre-1967 borders (or something similar to it) in which the original Palestinian Mandate was divided in such a way as to award to the new state of Israel a generous slice (an actual majority) of the land of Palestine it would seem to be all but practically impossible to settle the Israeli/Palestinian question. The current geographic and demographic realities in the West Bank are incompatible with a viable independent Palestinian state whether Gaza is included or not. That appears to have been the intention from the perspective of the Israeli's who could long ago have settled with the PA had they wanted to. Without a settlement, the state of Israel will be over-run within a generation on the basis of demographics alone.

Good luck to incoming Middle East Special Envoy George Mitchell. Perhaps he will be able to apply the necessary pressure on the Israeli's. That of course requires the full support of President Obama.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Turley: Most people abroad will view Bush as a war criminal

By: David Edwards and Muriel Kane
The Raw Story
Published: Tuesday January 20, 2009

Barack Obama has now been inaugurated as president, and the fear expressed by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday night that George Bush might issue last-minute pardons of administration officials involved in torture, possibly including himself, has not come to pass.

However, the torture issue itself is not going to go away so easily. As Maddow also noted, "The calls for a reckoning are growing by the day -- and not just from progressives outside the government."

"Do you think that Obama and his team realized how hot an issue this would become and would stay?" Maddow asked Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley.

"I don't think so," Turley replied. "I don't think the people in that building thought it," he added, pointing to the Capitol. "I mean, that building is where principles go to die. And they haven't, because there's been this groundswell of people saying, 'Look, you might be able to get away with an electronic surveillance program and say that's just a crime we're not going to allow to be prosecuted, but these are war crimes., these are a special category.'"

"I think that the new Barack Obama, the President Obama, is going to find it very hard to go round the world and to say that we're now again the nation of rules of law," Turley suggested, "if the first act he commits as president is to talk away from a confirmed war crime."

"Are we literally looking at a possibility," Maddow asked, "where administration officials from this [previous] administration cannot travel abroad to the other 145 countries that have signed the torture treaty because they might get arrested?"

"Most certainly," Turley replied. "The status of George Bush is not that different from Augusto Pinochet. They've both been accused of running a torture program. And outside this country, there's not this ambiguity about what to do with a war crime. ... Most people abroad are going to view you not as former President George Bush, they're going to view you as a current war criminal."

"And they're going to view us as an outlaw regime for not arresting him on our own soil," Maddow remarked.

"I think so, unfortunately," Turley agreed. "A lot's at stake."

Hosing Obama Israeli Style

Should the US Pull the Plug on Israel?

January 20, 2009

The last time the US restrained Israel in its never-ending wars of aggression was when President Eisenhower pulled the plug on the Anglo-French-Israeli effort to grab the Suez Canal in 1956.

Since then, we have not even chastised Israel when its actions hurt the United States. During the 6-Day war in 1967, for example, Israel attacked the USS Liberty, a Navy signals intelligence ship, in international waters, and murdered over 30 American sailors. The Israelis, of course, claimed it was an accident -- but the Israeli claim was at least questionable, to put it charitably, because the Israeli fighter bombers made multiple attack passes, before Israeli gunboats machine gunned survivors in the water. Moreover, festooned with antennas, the Liberty had a very distinctive profile and was flying a huge American flag. Yet the US Congress never held an inquiry into Israel's culpability (the only time in our history Congress failed investigate the root causes of a Naval disaster) and the DoD inquiry was as a disgraceful white wash.

Viewed in retrospect, the pusillanimous reaction to the assault on the USS Liberty by the United States government had a decisive grand strategic effect, however. It told Israel in no uncertain terms that it was now free to ignore or even hurt the interests of its patron in the pursuit of its own venal ambitions. History certainly suggests as much, because since that attack, Israel has operated without even a modicum of cosmetic restraint by the US. The Israelis have felt free to plant spies in the US government, like Jonathan Pollard. Most recently Israeli Prime Minister Olmert bragged to Israeli citizens and the press about about he made Bush dance to his tune by interrupting a speech Bush was making in Philadelphia and telling Bush to humiliate the inept Condolezza Rice by forcing her to abstain on the UN resolution calling for a halt in fighting in Gaza -- a resolution that she had helped to draft, presumably with Bush's blessing.

Nevertheless, the American taxpayers continued to finance Israel's arrogant behaviour year after year by repeatedly shovelling billions of dollars for new weapons and military/economic aid to Israel. The transfer of our front line weapons has been justified repeatedly as being necessary for Israel's self defense, yet the Israelis have repeatedly used those weapons for offensive attacks, recently in Lebanon (2006) and now in Gaza. In the case of Gaza, it used the distraction of the US election in Nov 08 to break the cease fire (again using US weapons), and after triggering the desired response from Hamas, it unleashed its long-planned murderous attack on Gaza in late December, just weeks before the innauguration of President Barack Obama, in effect, pulling the rug out from under Obama and painting him into a corner at the very time when Obama was trying to focus his energies on and build bipartisan political support for dealing with the worst internal economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The GBU-39 guided bomb is perhaps the most egregious case point illustrating how our aid directly helps Israel to wage aggressive war regardless of American interests. After the disastrous Israeli attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, the Pentagon pushed for and Congress approved the transfer of thousands of precision bombs to replenish Israel's stocks in August and September 2007. The GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb was not included in this gift. But then, more recently, and for no apparent reason, four months before its assault on Gaza, the Pentagon first notified Congress of the GBU-39 transfer in August 2008. Congress was in recess during August, but transfer of GBU-39s to Israel was one of the first items it disposed of in after reconvening in September, in dutiful obedience to the demands of the Israel Lobby and its wholly owned subsidiaries in the Pentagon. These weapons and their delivery racks were then rushed to Israel, and in less that 3 months from the time of Congressional approval, 1000 GBU-39s were cleared aerodynamically for release from Israel's planes and placed in the operational inventory, just in time for Israel's attack on the Gaza Ghetto. The GBU-39 is one of the most modern weapons in the American inventory.

Last September, the GBU-39s were trumpeted by the Israeli press as bunker busters of choice for an attack on Iran. But that claim was preposterous and most likely deliberate misinformation, given that we now know the Israelis had been planning the assault on the Gaza Ghetto for at least three months. It was preposterous because GBU-39 has a tiny warhead (only 50lbs encased in a 280 lb bomb). Its small size and (theoretical) high accuracy, however, makes the GBU-39 a far more appropriate as a weapon of choice for assassinating individuals and small groups in densely populated urban areas, like Gaza, than for taking out deeply-buried nuclear components in Iran.

Unfortunately for the mass of innocent Gazans, the GBU 39 does not work as accurately as advertised. It has reliability problems, among other things, according to my sources some of whom have experience in using this weapon (indeed, one told me he thought its problems made it a step backward in effectiveness). To make matters worse, targeting intelligence is never as good as claimed by airpower enthusiasts. In the real world, once the bombing starts, the feed back from the effects of the attacks is ambiguous at best, and consequently target lists proliferate wildly, as was the case in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq (I & II), Kosovo, Lebanon (I & II), and now again in Gaza.

All of which begs the question with respect to blindly supporting Israel: How much is enough? On January 19, Bruce Robbins argued in the Providence Journal that enough is enough.

Israel's claim of self defense in Gaza was bogus because, the ceasefire was working. Robbins quotes Israeli figures, which say the number of rockets fired out of Gaza in July, August, September and October 2008 was, respectively, 1, 8, 1, and 2, whereas in the two months before the cease-fire, the Gazans fired 149 and 87 rockets. The ceasefire was broken on Nov. 4-5, when Israel launched air and ground attacks against Hamas, while the attention of the world was distracted by the U.S. election (sound familiar?). Whatever started this new and massive round of atrocities, the Israeli parliamentary election being he most probably candidate, it was not a few more rockets, rockets that may not have been fired by Hamas at all, but by splinter groups, like Islamist Jihad. What Robbins does not say is that the overwhelming majority of rockets fired from within Gaza are homemade Qassam rockets. Qassams do not even have a guidance system. Their explosive warhead weighs between one pound and 22 pounds, depending on the model, and it is made of smuggled TNT and urea nitrate, a common fertilizer. Its propellent is a mixture of sugar and potassium nitrate, another common fertilizer, and the fuse designed to detonate the warhead is made from a rifle or pistol cartridge, a spring, and a nail. In flight, the rocket is not even spin stabilized but merely settled down by primitive fins, make out of sheet metal, mounted next to the nozzles ... which is a dynamically unstable configuration and is why it often leaves a crazy corkscrewing smoke trail when launched in the direction of Israel.

None of this matters, however. It does not matter that the Israelis have slaughtered over 1300 people in the Gaza Ghetto against a loss of of only 13 Israelis, because Congress is cheering, having passed a resolution of overwhelming support (390 to 5) in the House. (editor's emphasis throughout) And it does not matter that Obama is hosed and will probably be humiliated into toeing the line from the git go, because he has pledged to preserve the special relationship.


It is not an overstatement to say that our most significant problem in foreign affairs is the result of Zionist control over the US Congress and Presidency. Until we succeed in divorcing US foreign policy from that of the right wing Israeli government (Israeli policies with respect to its neighbors are substantively unchanged irrespective of which political party [Likud, Labor, etc.] heads the government) the United States will remain an international pariah.

Our unconditional support of Zionist Israel--and the atrocities which have been committed in its name--has made us the target of militant Jihadists worldwide. This is our greatest non-domestic problem facing the new Obama administration. Unfortunately, the statements of President Obama and his nominee for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggest that nothing will change in that regard.

If the United States cannot disengage from Israel because of the blatantly immoral and illegal practices in which she engages, we should at least do so out of practical necessity since the Zionist aims of modern Israel are not at all in American interest.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Punishing the Palestinians

by Ralph Nader

January 17, 2009

In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government.

The latest illustration of this Washington puppet show, backed by the most modern weapons and billions of taxpayer dollars annually sent to Israel, was the grotesquely one-sided Resolutions whisked through the Senate and the House of Representatives.

While a massive bombing and invasion of Gaza was underway, the resolution blaming Hamas for all the civilian casualties and devastation-99% of it inflicted on Palestinians-zoomed through the Senate by voice vote and through the House by a vote of 390 to 5 with 22 legislators voting present.

There is more dissent against this destruction of Gaza among the Israeli people, the Knesset, the Israeli media, and Jewish-Americans than among the dittoheads on Capitol Hill.

The reasons for such near-unanimous support for Israeli actions-no matter how often they are condemned by peace advocates such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations resolutions, the World Court and leading human rights groups inside and outside of Israel, are numerous. The pro-Israeli government lobby, and the right-wing Christian evangelicals, lubricated by campaign money of many Political Action Committees (PAC's) certainly are key.

There is also more than a little bigotry in Congress against Arabs and Muslims, reinforced by the mass media yahoos who set new records for biased reporting each time this conflict erupts.

The bias is clear. It is always the Palestinians' fault. Right-wingers who would never view the U.S. government as perfect see the Israeli government as never doing anything wrong. Liberals who do not hesitate to criticize the U.S. military view all Israeli military attacks, invasions and civilian devastation as heroic manifestations of Israeli defense.

The inversion of history and the scope of amnesia know no limits. What about the fact that the Israeli government drove Palestinians from their lands in 1947-48 with tens of thousands pushed into the Gaza strip. No problem to Congress.

Then the fact that the Israeli government cruelly occupied, in violation of UN resolutions, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and only removed its soldiers and colonists from Gaza (1.5 million people in a tiny area twice the size of the District of Columbia) in 2005. To Congress, the Palestinians deserved it.

Then when Hamas was freely elected to run Gaza, the Israeli authorities cut off the tax revenues on imports that belonged to the Gaza government. This threw the Gazans into a fiscal crisis-they were unable to pay their civil servants and police.

In 2006, the Israelis added to their unrelieved control of air, water and land around the open-air prison by establishing a blockade. The natives became restless. Under international law, a blockade is an act of war. Primitive rockets, called by reporters "wildly inaccurate" were fired into Israel. During this same period, Israeli soldiers and artillery and missiles would go into Gaza at will and take far more lives and cause far more injuries than those incurred by those rockets. Civilians-especially children, the infirm and elderly-died or suffered week after week for lack of medicines, medical equipment, food, electricity, fuel and water which were embargoed by the Israelis.

Then the Israeli bombing followed by the invasion during the past three weeks with what prominent Israeli writer Gideon Levy called "a brutal and violent operation...far beyond what was needed for protecting the people in its south." Mr. Levy observed what the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann called a war against "a helpless and defenseless imprisoned population."

The horror of being trapped from fleeing the torrent of the most modern weapons of war from the land, air and seas is reflected in this passage from Amira Hass, writing in the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz:

"The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies."

Ms. Hass is pointing to the use of new anti-civilian weapons used on the Gazan people. So far there have been over 1100 fatalities, many thousands of injuries and the destruction of homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, pharmacies, granaries, farmer's fields and many critical public facilities. The clearly marked UN headquarters and UN school were smashed, along with stored medicines and food supplies.

Why? The Congressional response: "Hamas terrorists" everywhere. Sure, defending their Palestinian families is called terrorism. The truth is there is no Hamas army, airforce and navy up against the fourth most powerful military in the world. As one Israeli gunner on an armored personnel carrier frankly said to The New York Times: "They are villagers with guns. They don't even aim when they shoot."

Injured Gazans are dying in damaged hospital corridors, bleeding to death because rescuers are not permitted to reach them or are endangered themselves. Thousands of units of blood donated by Jordanians are stopped by the Israeli blockade. Israel has kept the international press out of the Gazan killing fields.
What is going on in Gaza is what Bill Moyers called it earlier this month - "state terrorism." Already about 400 children are known to have died. More will be added who are under the rubble.

Since 2002, more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations have had a standing offer, repeated often, that if Israel obeys several UN resolutions and withdraws to the 1967 borders leaving 22 percent of the original Palestine for an independent Palestinian state, they will open full diplomatic relations and there will be peace. Israel has declined to accept this offer. (editor's emphasis throughout)

None of these and many other aspects of this conflict matter to the Congress. Its members do not want to hear even from the Israeli peace movement, composed of retired generals, security chiefs, mayors, former government ministers, and members of the Knesset. In 60 years these savvy peace advocates have not been able to give one hour of testimony before a Congressional Committee.

Maybe members of Congress may wish to weigh the words of the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, years ago when he said:

"There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis Hitler Auschwitz but was that their [the Palestinian's] fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country."

Doesn't that observation invite some compassion for the Palestinian people and their right to be free of Israeli occupation, land and water grabs and blockades in the 22 percent left of Palestine?

The Power of AIPAC

Who Runs America?

By Brian Crowley

January 19, 2009 "Counterpunch" -- Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were pretty close, politically and personally. They led the fight against fascism in the early 1940s, and although they had their disagreements they got on very well. They were both blunt in expressing their views, but there was no doubt who was the more powerful : Roosevelt called the shots, although Churchill had a lot of influence on him. But it would have been unthinkable for Churchill to have behaved in the way that the present (though not for long) prime minister of Israel did with the present (though not for long) president of the United States.

Prime minister Olmert of Israel, who has been forced to stand down because of allegations of corruption, telephoned President Bush to make the latter alter his orders to his Secretary of State to support a mild resolution in the UN Security Council that called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The barely believable transcript of Olmert's boasting of his success is on public record. He said:

"I [Olmert] spoke with him [Bush]; I told him: You can't vote for this proposal. He said: listen, I don't know, I didn't see, don't know what it says. I told him: I know, and you can't vote for it! He then instructed the secretary of state, and she did not vote for it."

There is no other head of government in the entire world who could say such words to the president of the United States. And will Olmert's successor be able to speak with Bush's successor in the same way and with a similar result?

We know the name of the next US president, but we don't know who the next Israeli prime minister will be. It looks as if it might be a choice between two steel-minded sadists, Tzipi Livni or Binyamin Netanyahu, both dedicated haters of Palestine, Palestinians and Arabs in general. So what might they be able to say to President Obama? Will they be able to pick up the phone and call him to suggest forcefully that he alter the voting intention of the United States of America in the UN Security Council? And what would he do, if they did?

Given the commitment to Israel of Mr Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, as was obvious in their groveling speeches last year to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, there is no guarantee that they will, either of them, ever utter a word in criticism of Israel.

There is one thing certain: the US Congress is going to continue its unconditional support for Israel, no matter what war crimes are committed by its disgusting thugs-in-uniform. The Reps need the money, after all, which they get through political action committees which are generously funded by American Jews. And they are scared to political death by the threat that pro-Israel agencies will destroy them politically if they dare say a word against Israel.

There are very few Representatives of the people of America who would dare challenge Israel, or who might possibly criticize Israel, or who have the courage to condemn atrocities committed by Israel.


The worst of all the barbarians who are killing children and their mothers and fathers in Gaza are the Israeli pilots who mercilessly bomb houses occupied by terrified families. And they are staunchly supported by the House of Representatives of the United States of America.

These pilots, these vile little war-gamers of the skies, these latter-day examples of what Tom Wolfe called "The Right Stuff", can zoom over towns full of traumatized children and happily heave and hurl their bombs and rockets to kill yet more Palestinian kids without the remotest chance of being shot down. How heroic; how truly gladiatorial. How contemptible. They are blood brothers with the pilots of the Nazis' Stuka ground attack aircraft of yesteryear, with their terrifying sirens, who bombed columns of fleeing refugees all round Europe.

But the US House of Representatives rushed to praise Israel, and endorse its invasion and its merciless air strikes, and committed America to a motion "Recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."


Not many Americans know anything about the hideous barbarity in Gaza, because US cable networks and newspapers rarely carry pictures of disfigured blood-splashed children who have been killed, maimed or orphaned by the Israelis. But here in Europe we have access to some TV channels and newspapers that are very different from the pliant pro-Zion patsies of the major news outlets across the Atlantic.

And if US television channels carried pictures like the ones we see, there would be such outbursts of horror and indignation that even the US Congress might be forced to condemn the Israeli fascists for their barbarity. But the all-powerful Israel lobby makes sure that little of the sort will appear.

Who runs America?

The only honorable members of the House, voting against unconditional support for Israeli killing of Palestinian children, were Democrats Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (California), Gwen Moore (Wisconsin), and Nick Rahall (West Virginia), along with Texas Republican Ron Paul. And Mr Kucinich put the whole case for their vote when he said

"In Gaza, the United Nations gave the Israeli army the coordinates of a UN school, and the school was then hit by Israeli tank fire, killing about 40. The UN put flags on emergency vehicles, coordinating the movements of those vehicles with the Israeli military, and the vehicles came under attack, killing emergency workers. The Israeli army evacuated 100 Palestinians to shelter, and then bombed the shelter, killing 30 people."

Blunt stuff – but it cut no ice with the 390 members of the House who voted for Israel to continue its killing.

The Israelis have killed over a thousand Palestinians, and the UN reports that at least 500 of these deaths were civilians, and that half of these were women and children. One million of Gaza's 1.5 million people have no electricity, and about 750,000 are without water. They are existing in conditions of appalling squalor and fear, with US-supplied helicopter gunships and F-16s striking at will, and tanks and artillery destroying their houses and killing their children.

Yet the House votes for Israel. And the President of the United States of America jumps to obey the Israeli prime minister. But will there be any change under Obama and Clinton?

A year ago Hillary Clinton told the American Israeli Committee that "we stand with Israel because of our shared values and our shared belief in the dignity of men and women and the right to live without fear or oppression."

Last June Barack Obama told the American Israeli Committee "Now is the time to be vigilant in facing down every foe, just as we move forward in seeking a future of peace for the children of Israel, and for all children. Now is the time to stand by Israel . . ."

Will they continue to support Israel, the country that has laid waste a land and murdered over 200 women and children? (editor's emphasis throughout)

If they do, the question must be asked: Who runs America?

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Difficulty Of Being An Informed American

By: Paul Craig Roberts
09 January, 2009

The American print and TV media has never been very good. These days it is horrible. If a person intends to be informed, he must turn to foreign news broadcasts, to Internet sites, to foreign newspapers available on the Internet, or to alternative newspapers that are springing up in various cities. A person who sits in front of Murdoch’s Fox “News” or CNN or who reads the New York Times is simply being brainwashed with propaganda.

Before conservatives nod their heads in agreement, I’m not referring to “the liberal media.” I mean the propaganda that issues from the US government and the Israel Lobby.

It was neoconservative Bush regime propaganda fed to America through Judith Miller and the New York Times and through Murdoch’s Fox “News” that convinced Americans that they were in danger from a small secular Arab country half way around the globe called Iraq. It was the American media that convinced Americans that getting rid of dangerous “weapons of mass destruction,” weapons that did not exist in Iraq, would be a cakewalk paid for by Iraqi oil revenues.

It is the same propagandistic American print and TV media that has rationalized Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan based on seven years of lies and deception.

It is the same media that today provides only Israeli propaganda as “coverage” of the Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

It was the New York Times that spiked for one year the leaked information from the National Security Agency that the Bush regime, in violation of US law, was illegally spying on Americans without warrants. The “liberal” New York Times agreed to suppress the story so that Bush would not face reelection under the cloud of his outlaw behavior.

Conservatives think the Washington Post is “liberal media” despite the fact that the editorial and commentary pages are controlled by neocons and their sympathizers.

During the run up to wars and during wars, the American media has always been a propagandist for the government. The only exceptions occurred during the Vietnam war and the Contra-Sandinista conflict in Central America. Karen de Young and some others tried to honestly cover the Contras and Sandinistas and were demonized by “patriots” taken in by the government’s lies.

Conservatives still blame the “liberal” media for losing the Vietnam war, when in fact all the media did was to provide some truthful reports that opened some American eyes.

When the truth cuts against the position of the US government, conservatives see it as “liberal.”

When propaganda supports the government’s lies, conservatives see it as “patriotic.”

However, any resemblance to independent reporting disappeared from the American media when the Democratic regime of President Clinton allowed Murdoch and a small handful of moguls to concentrate the American media in a few corporate hands. That was the end of American reporting.

Journalists disappeared from media management and were replaced by corporate advertising executives with an eye not to offend any source of advertising revenue, and certainly not to offend the government, which controls the broadcast licenses that comprise the value of the mega-companies. Today reporters write the stories that their masters want to hear, or they are out. The function of editors is to make certain that no uncomfortable information reaches the public.

The public is slowly catching on, and the print media is slowly dying. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times are all on the ropes to one extent or the other.

Americans are still subjected to Fox “News” and CNN propaganda piped into airport waiting rooms, doctors’ offices, and exercise centers. It is very much the situation that George Orwell describes in 1984.

People ask me where they can get reliable information. I tell them that their goal cannot be reached without their commitment of time.

People who have access to television services that provide English language foreign broadcasts, such as Iran’s Press TV, Russia Today, or Al Jazeera, can get get news and insights from those parts of the world demonized by the US media.

The BBC World Service still reports facts while covering itself by providing the views of the US, UK, and Israeli governments.

Both the Asia Times and Israeli newspapers, such as Haaretz can be read online in English. There are other such newspapers, and all of them provide information that Americans will never see in their own media. Any American newspaper that was as truthful about the Israeli government as Haaretz would be closed down.

The only US print media with which I am familiar in which some honest reporting can be found on a regular basis is the McClatchy papers.

Americans addicted to print media must turn to alternative newspapers, which tend to be weekly or bi-weekly. However, the news and commentary provided are often superb.

I have made no study of alternative newspapers and know very few. The Rock Creek Free Press ( ) is terrific. After reading one issue, you will waste no more time on the “mainstream media.” The Rock Creek Free Press is likely to rescue even the dullest mind from its brainwashed state.

Other alternative newspapers, such as The Liberty Voice ( ),lift your spirit as well as inform.

Alternative newspapers are often the children of people motivated by a sense of justice and the love of truth. Such people have become an endangered species in the American “mainstream media.” The free press Americans have today is online and in the alternative media.

The function of the “mainstream media” is to sell products and to brainwash the audience for the government and interest groups. By subscribing to it, Americans support their own brainwashing. (editor's emphasis throughout)