Friday, September 10, 2010

Lack of Moral Clarity on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Continues: Debate Stalled in Courts

Appeals court lifts ban on stem cell funding

By Rob Stein
The Washington Post
September 9, 2010; 12:20 PM ET

An appeals court Thursday lifted a temporary injunction barring the federal government from funding research involving human embryonic stem cell research.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted a request from the Justice Department to stay an injunction issued Aug. 23 blocking the funding. In a major victory for supporters of the research, the court said the Obama administration could resume funding the research pending a full appeal of the case.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, ruling in a lawsuit filed by two researchers working on alternatives to the cells, said the funding violated a federal rule that prohibits federal tax money from being used for research that involves the destruction of human embryos.

Here's an excerpt from Thursday's order:

Upon consideration of the emergency motion for stay pending appeal and for
immediate administrative stay, it is
ORDERED that the district court's August 23, 2010 order be stayed pending
further order of the court. The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the emergency motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion. See D.C. Circuit Handbook of Practice and Internal Procedures 33 (2010). It is
FURTHER ORDERED that appellees file a response to the emergency motion
by September 14, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. The appellants may file a reply by 4:00 p.m. on September 20, 2010. The parties are directed to hand-deliver the paper copies of their submissions to the court by the time and date due.

The original decision was hailed by opponents of the research, who argue it is immoral to destroy human embryos. But it was condemned by supporters and advocates for patients, who said it was a major setback for one of the most promising areas of biomedical research.

In response to the order, the National Institutes of Health announced it was suspending consideration of any new grants for such research. Any researchers who had already received funding could continue their work, but their grants would not be renewed when they come up for routine review, the NIH said. As a result, hundreds of scientists around the country are scrambling to try to figure out how they are going to continue their research.

The Justice Department asked that the injunction be lifted as it appeals the decision, arguing the halt to the funding was causing irreparable harm to researchers, the federal government and patients hoping for cures.

Thursday's decision was hailed by supporters of the research.

"We are very pleased that the Court of Appeals has stayed the preliminary injunction. It is crucial that federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research be restored permanently and this stay is a step in that direction," said Lisa Hughes, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, a coalition of patient advocacy groups, scientists and research organizations that has lobbied for the funding. "While this issue continues to be argued in the courts, we call on Congress to move swiftly to resolve this issue and secure the future of this important biomedical research."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Declassified Documents Expose Lobby Influence

By Stephen Lendman
26 August 2010

James Petras' powerful 2006 book titled, 'The Power of Israel in the United States' explained the enormous pro-Israeli Jewish Lobby influence on US Middle East policies. Often harming American interests, they're pursued anyway because of its grassroots and high-level control over government, the business community, academia, the clergy and mass media since at least the 1960s.

Intolerant of opposing views, they're suppressed for its own agenda, funded by PR propaganda domestically and overseas, America's top publications paid off to go along, now revealed by a secret document subpoenaed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (FRC) investigation into the American Zionist Council (AZC), AIPAC's parent lobbying arm.

"Between 1962 - 1963, the FRC subpoenaed" AZC's internal documents, examining their activities as "registered agents of foreign principals," learning that over $5 million in tax exempt (and perhaps overseas funds) "had been laundered through the Jewish Agency's American Section into the (AZC)."

The Agency is a quasi-Israeli government branch, funded to review legislation ahead of its submission to the Knesset under its Covenant Agreement - in violation of IRS regulations regarding tax exempt charitable funds and the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Thanks to the Lobby, Israel is perceived as a trusted friend and ally.

No matter. Israel got a pass to act illegally for nearly 50 years, doing it today more aggregiously than ever. In 1962, after being ordered to register as a foreign agent, AZC transferred its responsibilities to AIPAC, "which refuses to register as (an Israeli) foreign agent" and gets away with it.

In November/December 1960, news and editorial content covered Israel's new nuclear reactor (for peace, not bombs they said), Arab refugees when the General Assembly was discussing them, the Eichmann case, Israel's aid to African states, and seating the UAR in the Security Council, reports presenting one-sided, pro-Israeli propaganda.

"It can be said that the press of the nation, during 1960, has by and large shown sympathy and understanding of Israel's position." Arab views have been largely "counteracted.

"The US contingent of 60 Mayors returned from Israel where they attended (an earlier) Conference....While (there), a number of them were interviewed by (US reporters) who sent (pro-Israeli) stories back to their hometown papers; they were also recorded in interviews for local radio stations."

Other plans were made to have those attending meet with Jewish and Christian audiences to disseminate friendly Israeli commentaries. In addition, opinion makers are invited to Israel at government expense, paid off to report friendly stories. An Israeli student got a scholarship "to transfer to the Monterey Peninsula College where propaganda carried on by three Arab professors has been most hurtful."

Other schools were infiltrated the same way. Further, "We continue to cultivate (pay off) faculty people in many areas and are making progress here....our friends in San Francisco (are trying) to persuade Stanford to drop Fayez Sayeh from the faculty on the grounds that he is a paid propagandist rather than an objective academician." Efforts at other US schools were similar - pressure to fire Arab professors, replacing them with pro-Israeli ones.
"Prof. Arnold Toynbee was invited to spend about five months in this country....When (his) accusations first broke in the press, we (enlisted) major non-Zionist groups and evolved a common policy (to):
(1) Discourage all Jewish (organizations) from issuing invitations to Toynbee;
(2) Monitor all (his) public appearances and refrain from bringing up the subject of Israel or the Jews unless Toynbee raises the subject in his presentation."

Overall, measures were taken to counteract his unfriendly Israeli positions, the same policy used against all critical public figures, strike back to discredit them.

Netanyahu --Speaking in New York to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Calling the American Council for Judaism (ACJ) "the most effective anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli force on the American scene," efforts were made to give them "much more attention....than in the past."

Bribing major US publications and their writers helped do it, including at the Reader's Digest, Atlantic Monthly, Look, Holiday, Parade, Saturday Review, the New York Times Magazine, and various women's and business ones. Today, the entire US major media serve as Israel's PR arm, its mouthpiece, the fruition of efforts begun 50 years ago.

Earlier, and of course now, TV shows were also arranged, and "We continue to counteract Arab speakers wherever they appear, by placing our own speakers on the same platforms...." In addition, "Mailings have gone out to public opinion molders dealing with current issues...."

In November 1961, the Atlantic Monthly was paid off to run a pro-Israeli "64-page Supplement, (featuring) some of Israel's top names." Earlier in September, the Atlantic ran a "20-page article on "The Arabs of Palestine" which is "one of the best (we've seen done) on the subject." Jack Anderson also did a friendly piece for Parade Publications after returning from Israel.

In addition, AZC officials arranged speaking engagements for pro-Israeli figures throughout the country. Their mission - counteract "anti-Israeli propaganda....a careful check of newspapers, bulletins and confidential sources of our own (can) give us reliable information on the movements and itineraries of these propagandists." Community contacts were then alerted to furnish speakers to discredit them.

AZC's Research Bureau also analyzed books and articles on Israel. "When a book is favorable, it is recommended. When (it's not), it is analyzed and distortions are pointed up by providing the factual data required, so that our local Councils will be prepared to react....Further, we (arrange) book presentations (in) community and university libraries...."

Written for the AZC, Marc Siegel's play, "A Message from Dimona" was described by The New York Times as a "story of a new city in the Israeli desert," suppressing the reactor's bomb-making purpose, Israel's open secret, well known, but not discussed.

"The nuclear reactor story inspired (other) editorial writers, columnists, science writers and cartoonists. Most of (them) accept(ed) the thesis that the reactor was being built for peaceful purposes and not for bombs....Drew Pearson's syndicated column justified Israel's secrecy; (science writer) William Laurence in the New York Times stressed Israel's peaceful intent."

In 1945, the same William Laurence led a double life as both Times science writer and shill on the War Department's payroll. Writing press releases for the Manhattan Project, he mislead the public, sold the program, lied about Alamorgordo, NM tests and the Hiroshima/Nagasaki horrors. He also denied what historian/attorney Jonathan M. Weisgall later called the "silent nuclear terror of radioactivity and radiation" - that it condemns exposed people to a slow, painful death, but it benefitted Laurence.

He won a Pulitzer Prize for his lying, and got to fly on the plane that bombed Nagasaki, later describing the experience in The Times with religious awe. Today, the entire US major media cheerlead for Israel, even its most unjustifiable, unconscionable, criminal acts. Entirely suppressed is its history of international law violations, including:
-- a violence doctrine over peace;
-- crimes of war and against humanity;
-- excessive force and abuse;
-- collective punishment and economic strangulation;
-- expanding illegal settlements;
-- dispossessions and home demolitions;
-- mass arrests and political imprisonments;
-- targeted assassinations and torture;
-- land theft and crop destruction;
-- policies of closure, separation, isolation, checkpoints, ghettoization and curfews;
-- denial of the most fundamental human rights and civil liberties; and
-- an overall Kafkaesque "matrix of control" designed to crush Palestinians' will to resist.
In the old days, journalists were bought off to ignore them. They now do it willingly and reflexively, knowing the consequences otherwise, the Israeli Lobby's power to remove unfriendly voices - from Congress, academia and the media.
Demanded is that Israel be portrayed as peaceful, never aggressive, surrounded, beleaguered, and victimized, acting solely in self-defense. In contrast, Palestinians are called militant terrorist threats to Israeli security, its propaganda machine relentless in pounding that message, the Senate's investigation failing to expose and halt it.

As a result, it's more virulent and pervasive than ever, what no congressional committee will touch, what no major media report will reveal. Israel's power in America suppresses everything unfavorable, willing fourth estate stooges going along, or else.
It's why Project Censored warns about a "truth emergency," the urgency for media reform, and need for a cadre to do what all responsible journalists should - their job, what's sorely absent in America, especially in reports about Israel.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at He contributed this article to


Glen Beck's Teaching and Freemasonry Incompatible with Traditional Roman Catholicism/Christianity

By: Dr. J. P. Hubert

Recently, Fox News personality Glen Beck called together a large gathering on the Washington Mall on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream Speech." He was roundly criticized by African American Civil Rights leaders and other leading Christians who adhere to the social justice teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a matter of public record that Beck has evinced little if any concern for the least among us arguing for example that Americans who have been receiving extended unemployment benefits are simply lazy and undeserving of assistance. He is unwilling to recognize that many unjust societal structures still exist in the United States which to a significant extent are responsible for the plight of the millions of unemployed citizens and those who have lost their homes.

Beck as Mormon Convert from Catholicism:

Beck was raised a Roman Catholic and at some point apparently converted to Mormonism. He quite frequently discusses religion on his TV show. Beck speaks as though he is knowledgeable about Christian theology, implying that he personally is a Christian despite the fact that as a practicing Mormon he is a member of an anti-Christian cult meaning, whatever he is, it would be incorrect to call himself a Traditional (orthodox) Christian. Not surprisingly perhaps, Glen Beck has been extremely critical of Barack Obama claiming that the President is a racist and practitioner of a bizarre form of Christianity. Of all the President's faults, being a racist is not one of them although Beck's own publicized statements strongly suggest that he personally is a bigot (bigotry is antithetical to Christianity of course).

Beck's Misunderstanding of Social Justice as Liberation Theology:

One of Glen Beck's recent claims is that President Obama embraces a form of "liberation theology" the nature of which is characterized by an overwhelming concern for social justice which he purports is incompatible with Christianity. Beck argues that there is no place in Christianity for the pursuit of social justice. Obviously, he has no knowledge of the many papal encyclicals of multiple Popes written during the 19th and 20th centuries on the topic of social justice, e.g. Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno etc. Perennial Roman Catholic teaching stresses not only the individual and societal need for the Christian/Theological virtue of Charity (love) but the personal pursuit of justice and the establishing of social structures which further rather than impede the attainment of justice--that is the pursuit of social justice. An example of how confused Beck is on the topic of social justice vs that of political socialism See THIS extensive discssion on one of Beck's programs

Glen Beck while being an admittedly engaging entertainer promulgates false teachings which he alleges are compatible with Christianity. These false teachings are very dangerous for persons attempting to preserve their Traditional Roman Catholic Christianity. They in no way should be embraced by persons or groups who claim to accept the fullness of the teachings of Roman Catholicism. In this sense Glen Beck and his false religious teachings should be eshewed as strongly as the Roman Catholic Church of record has repudiated Freemasonry.

Traditional Roman Catholics should be willing/capable of correcting the false teachings of Glen Beck when confronted with them. This is a minimal apologetic duty, I Peter 3: 15 "Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Flying the Flag, Faking the News

Loud noises from Washington about a US pull-out from Iraq are a poor disguise for America’s determination to keep waging war. And the same sort of spin is at work here in Britain

By John Pilger

September 02, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- -- Edward Bernays, the American nephew of Sigmund Freud, is said to have invented modern propaganda. During the First World War, he was one of a group of influential liberals who mounted a secret government campaign to persuade reluctant Americans to send an army to the bloodbath in Europe. In his book Propaganda , published in 1928, Bernays wrote that the "intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society", and that the manipulators "constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country". Instead of propaganda, he coined the euphemism "public relations".

The American tobacco industry hired Bernays to convince women that they should smoke in public. By associating smoking with women's

liberation, he made cigarettes "torches of freedom". In 1954, he conjured a communist menace in Guatemala as an excuse for overthrowing the democratically elected government, whose social reforms were threatening the United Fruit Company's monopoly of the banana trade. He called it a "liberation".

Bernays was no rabid right-winger. He was an elitist liberal who believed that "engineering public consent" was for the greater good. This could be achieved by the creation of "false realities" which then became "news events". Here are examples of how it is done these days.

False reality The last US combat troops have left Iraq "as promised, on schedule", according to President Barack Obama. The TV news has been filled with cinematic images of the "last US soldiers", silhouetted against the dawn light, crossing the border into Kuwait.

Fact They have not left. At least 50,000 troops will continue to operate from 94 bases. American air assaults are unchanged, as are special forces' assassinations. The number of "military contractors" is 100,000 and rising. Most Iraqi oil is now under direct foreign control.

False reality BBC presenters have described the departing US troops as a "sort of victorious army" that has achieved "a remarkable change in [Iraq's] fortunes". Their commander, General David Petraeus, is a "celebrity", "charming", "savvy" and "remarkable".

Fact There is no victory of any sort. There is a catastrophic disaster, and attempts to present it as otherwise are a model of Bernays's campaign to "rebrand" the slaughter of the First World War as "necessary" and "noble". In 1980, Ronald Reagan, running for president, rebranded the invasion of Vietnam, in which up to three million people died, as a "noble cause", a theme taken up enthusiastically by Hollywood. Today's Iraq war movies have a similar purging theme: the invader as both idealist and victim.

False reality It is not known how many Iraqis have died. They are "countless", or maybe "in the tens of thousands".

Fact As a direct consequence of the Anglo-American-led invasion, a million Iraqis have died. This figure, from Opinion Research Business, follows peer-reviewed research by Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, whose methods were secretly affirmed as "best practice" and "robust" by the Blair government's chief scientific adviser. This is rarely reported or presented to "charming" American generals. Neither is the dispossession of four million Iraqis, the malnourishment of most Iraqi children, the epidemic of mental illness, or the poisoning of the environment.

False reality The British economy has a deficit of billions which must be reduced with cuts in public services and regressive taxation, in a spirit of "we're all in this together".

Fact We are not in this together. What is remarkable about this PR triumph is that only 18 months ago, the diametric opposite filled TV screens and front pages. Then, in a state of shock, truth became unavoidable, if briefly. The Wall Street and City of London trough was on full view for the first time, along with the venality of once-celebrated snouts. Billions in public money went to inept and crooked organisations known as banks, which were spared debt liability by their Labour government sponsors.

Within a year, record profits and personal bonuses were posted and the "black hole" was no longer the responsibility of the banks, whose debt is to be paid by those not in any way responsible: the public. The received media wisdom of this "necessity" is now a chorus, from the BBC to the Sun. A masterstroke, Bernays would surely say.

False reality Ed Miliband offers a "genuine alternative" as leader of the Labour Party.

Fact Miliband, like his brother and almost all those standing for the Labour leadership, is immersed in the effluent of New Labour. As a New Labour MP and minister, he did not refuse to serve under Blair or to speak out against Labour's persistent warmongering. He now calls the invasion of Iraq a "profound mistake". Calling it a mistake insults the memory and the dead. It was a crime, of which the evidence is voluminous. He has nothing new to say about the other colonial wars, none of them mistakes. Neither has he demanded basic social justice - that those who caused the recession clear up the mess and that Britain's fabulously rich corporate minority be taxed seriously, starting with Rupert Murdoch.

The good news is that false realities often fail when the public trusts its own critical intelligence. Two classified documents recently released by WikiLeaks express the CIA's concern that the populations of European countries, which oppose their governments' war policies, are not succumbing to the usual propaganda spun through the media.

For the rulers of the world, this is a conundrum, because their unaccountable power rests on the false reality that no popular resistance works. And it does.

This item was first posted at the

The True Cost of the War

By Paul Craig Roberts

September 02, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- Obama’s “end of Iraq war” speech must have shattered any remaining belief in him. Forced to appease both his supporters and the warmonger right-wing, who denounce him as a Muslim and a Marxist, Obama resorted to Orwellian DoubleSpeak. He could only announce an end to the war by praising the president who started it and the troops who fought it. Yet, as most earthlings, if not Americans, surely know by now, the war was based on a lie and on intentional deception. The American troops died for a lie.

President Obama spoke of the cost to Americans of liberating Iraq, but is Iraq liberated or is Iraq in the hands of American puppet politicians and still occupied by 50,000 American troops and 200,000 private mercenaries and “contractors,” governed out of the largest embassy in the world, essentially a fortress?
President Obama did not speak of the cost to Iraqis of being “liberated.” The uncounted Iraqi deaths, estimates of which range from 100,000 to 1,000,000, most being women and children, were not mentioned. Neither were the uncounted orphaned and maimed children, the four million displaced Iraqis, the flight from Iraq of the professional middle class, the homes, infrastructure, villages and towns destroyed, along with whatever remained of America’s reputation.

All of this was left out of the picture that Obama painted of America’s “commitment” to Iraq which brought Iraqis “peace” and liberated Iraqis from Saddam Hussein in order that that a destroyed Iraq can now be an American puppet state and take its orders from Washington.

As it is impossible for the U.S. government to any longer pretend that the invasion of Iraq was necessary to save America from weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda terrorists, the U.S. government’s justification for its massive war crime has come down to removing Saddam Hussein, who, like the Americans, tortured his opponents.

Does anyone on earth, even among the most moronic of the flag-waving American super-patriots, believe that the bankrupt United States government spent three trillion borrowed dollars to remove one man, Saddam Hussein, in order to free Iraq from tyranny? Anyone who believes this is insane.

Saddam Hussein would have resigned for far less money had it been offered to him.

Do Americans see the irony in the “saving Iraq from tyranny” excuse? The greatest price of the neoconservative war against Iraq is not the $3 trillion or the dead and maimed American soldiers and their broken families. The greatest price of this evil war is the destruction of the U.S. Constitution and American civil liberties.

The Bush/Cheney/Obama National Security State has eviscerated the Constitution and civil liberty. Nothing remains. The fascist Republican Federalist Society has put enough federal judges in the judiciary to rule that the president is above the law. The president doesn’t have to obey the law against spying on American citizens without warrants. The president doesn’t have to obey U.S. and international laws against torture. The president doesn’t have to obey the Constitution that mandates that only Congress can declare war. The president can do whatever he wants as long as he justifies it as “national security.”

The president’s part of the government, the unaccountable executive branch, is supreme. The president can announce, without being impeached, his decision to murder Americans abroad and at home if someone somewhere in the unaccountable executive branch regards such American citizens as “threats.”
Murder first. No accountability later.

The executive branch has exercised unilateral, unaccountable power to deep-six the U.S. Constitution, with little interference from the judiciary and with support from Congress. The executive branch has declared foreign opponents of America’s illegal invasions and occupations of their countries to be “terrorists,” subject neither to the laws of war nor to the criminal laws of the U.S. and, therefore, subject to indefinite torture and detention without charges or evidence.

This is the legacy of the Bush/Cheney regime, and this criminal regime continues under Obama.
America’s “war on terror,” a fabrication, has resurrected the unaccountable dungeon of the Middle Ages and the raw tyranny that prevailed prior to the Magna Carter.

This is the true cost of “liberating” Iraq, that is, of turning Iraq into an American puppet state that sells out its people for America’s interests.

Who will now liberate Americans from the Bush/Cheney/neoconservative/Obama tyranny?
President Obama asserts that America’s war crimes have come to an end in Iraq, but Obama asserts the power to export America’s war crimes to Afghanistan in order to reign in what the CIA director says are “fifty or less” al Queda members remaining in Afghanistan. Bankrupt Americans will now be saddled with another three billion dollars of debt in order to chase after “fifty or less” alleged terrorists. To cover up this extraordinary waste of borrowed money, Obama, following the dishonest practices of prior American regimes, equated al Qaeda with the Taliban, a home-grown movement of hundreds of thousands of Afghans seeking to unify the country.

The least expensive way to combat “terrorists” would be to stop trying to create an American empire in the Middle East and Central Asia and to stop imposing American puppet states on indigenous populations, the bought-and-paid-for-European-puppet states, who preen themselves with their superior morality, fall in line with Washington, obeying their American master who fills their pockets with dollars. The West having fought tyranny since the Magna Carter, now imposes tyranny both on itself and on the rest of the world.

If Hitler and Stalin had prevailed, what would be the difference? (editor's emphasis)

Is the Obama regime going to shoot the “enemies of the state,” condemned without trial or evidence, by shooting them in the front of the head instead of in the back of the neck, as was the practice in the Lubyanka?

What other difference is there?

Iraq War Propaganda

The Audacity of Cynicism – Barack Obama’s Iraq Speech

written by Elise  Hendrick
1st September 2010
"Meldungen aus dem Exil"

Barack Obama has balls as big as all outdoors.

Before we begin, a challenge: I defy anyone to find a single phrase in Obama’s speech on Iraq last night that couldn’t have issued forth from the foetid maw of George W. Bush (with the possible exception of his mentions of George W. Bush.

Barack Obama’s Iraq speech last night is an impressive entry in the annals of war propaganda. In it, he glosses over a criminal war as ‘a remarkable chapter’ in US history, and creates the false impression that the occupation of Iraq is over. He places the responsibility rebuilding a society out of the rubble we created on the shoulders of the Iraqi people (we are, of course, blameless), and tells us that it’s time to ‘turn the page’ on a crime that is continuing, and for which not a single perpetrator has yet even been indicted. It is a wonder that he wasn’t struck by lightning before finishing.

The Withdrawal that Isn’t

In his speech last night, Obama announced that “the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.” This, many people will – not unreasonably – conclude, means that the war against Iraq, the long national nightmare we have visited on millions of people, is over.

It’s not.

In reality, Obama is continuing a rhetorical shell game that he started in the campaign, betting that most people will hear that he intended to end “combat operations” and assume that that meant ending the occupation (a word that Obama used not a single time in his speech) of Iraq. After all, isn’t the entire occupation one big “combat operation”? Isn’t every US soldier and mercenary there – engaged, as they are, in controlling Iraq by the gun and the electrode – a “combat soldier”?

“Nothing could be further from the truth”, Seumas Milne writes in the Guardian newspaper:
The US isn’t withdrawing from Iraq at all – it’s rebranding the occupation. Just as George Bush’s war on terror was retitled “overseas contingency operations” when Obama became president, US “combat operations” will be rebadged from next month as “stability operations”.

But as Major General Stephen Lanza, the US military spokesman in Iraq, told the New York Times: “In practical terms, nothing will change”. After this month’s withdrawal, there will still be 50,000 US troops in 94 military bases, “advising” and training the Iraqi army, “providing security” and carrying out “counter-terrorism” missions. In US military speak, that covers pretty well everything they might want to do.

Granted, 50,000 is a major reduction on the numbers in Iraq a year ago. But what Obama once called “the dumb war” goes remorselessly on. In fact, violence has been increasing as the Iraqi political factions remain deadlocked for the fifth month in a row in the Green Zone. More civilians are being killed in Iraq than Afghanistan: 535 last month alone, according to the Iraqi government – the worst figure for two years.
Simply put, Obama isn’t using the words “the occupation of Iraq is over” because the occupation of Iraq is not over.

A ‘Remarkable Chapter in the History of the United States and Iraq’

Whitewashing a Criminal War

Having cleared up that rather important terminological issue, let’s return to Obama’s speech:
From this desk, seven-and-a-half years ago, President Bush announced the beginning of military operations in Iraq. Much has changed since that night. A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency. Terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart. Thousands of Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded. Our relations abroad were strained. Our unity at home…

Hold on just one second. What did he just say?

“A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency.“

Allow me to repeat that once again, just to make sure the important bit really sinks in:
“A war to disarm a state (???!!!!) became a fight against an insurgency.“

Yes, that’s right. Obama just said, with a straight face, that the purpose of US aggression against Iraq was “to disarm a state”. Obama is seriously telling us, seven years after the last remnants of the Bush Administration’s claims about WMD were exposed as an utter fraud, that this war, in which the United States has killed well over a million Iraqis and rendered 4 million homeless, was about “disarming” a country that everyone involved knew was long since disarmed. For those who cling to the illusion that Obama is – or ever was – some kind of ‘peace candidate’, it’s worth noting that the speech contains not a single word questioning the WMD Deception. He repeated the lie not to correct it, but to join in it.

While he tells us that ‘Thousands of Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded’, he wastes not a single word on the number of Iraqis killed. Indeed, Iraqi civilians are only mentioned a single time, in which we hear that they are attacked by ‘extremists’ (theirs, not ours). While there is a single mention of the refugees, they are merely ‘displaced by war’ in an agentless tragedy.

Of note, too, is the language Obama uses to discuss the war. As noted above, the word ‘occupation’ does not occur even once in his speech. Similarly, he describes the start of the US war in the following terms: ‘President Bush announced the beginning of military operations in Iraq.’ The ‘beginning of military operations in Iraq’, as if it were a start-up company in Basra just opening its doors. It is with this mealy-mouthed euphemism that Obama avoids ever stating the truth: That the US (and the UK) invaded Iraq. That, on the orders of George W. Bush, the United States military violated the borders of that country and proceeded to engage in a vicious bombing campaign that killed thousands in just the first few weeks. The word “invade/invasion” is nowhere to be found in the speech.

We hear precious little in the way of specifics about what these US troops have been doing since they ‘began military operations in Iraq’ back in 2003. When they’re not ‘giving their lives’ (our troops never, ever take anyone’s life), they’re ‘serv[ing] with courage and resolve,’ the ‘one constant amongst these shifting tides.’ Obama tells us that:

"The Americans who have served in Iraq completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future."

As commander-in-chief, I am incredibly proud of their service. And like all Americans, I am awed by their sacrifice and by the sacrifices of their families.

The Americans who have served in Iraq completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future.

They shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people, trained Iraqi security forces, and took out terrorist leaders. Because of our troops and civilians — and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people — Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain.

We’ve persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people, a belief that, out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibilities.

"Because of our troops and civilians -- and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people -- Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain."

This is a slightly less crass echo of his campaign-trail call for ‘victory’ in (i.e. over) Iraq, in which he praised US occupation soldiers for ‘performing their duty with bravery, with brilliance, and without question’ noted that: ‘The American people have been extraordinarily resolved. They have seen their sons and daughters killed or wounded in the streets of Fallujah.’

Apparently, Obama feels that this ‘remarkable chapter in the history of the United States in Iraq’ is a ‘glorious page that has not and will not be written’, at least judging from his unwillingness to discuss the nature of the ‘sacrifices’ made by the US occupation (especially who was doing the sacrificing and who got sacrificed). While Obama may prefer to present this singularly murderous occupation in high school civics book platitudes and Hallmark sentiments, we would do well to look more closely, and there’s no better place to start than Fallujah to get an idea of the kind of ‘duty’ the occupation soldiers performed with the ‘brilliance and without question’ that Obama had so admired on the campaign trail.

Fallujah had been a symbol of Iraqi resistance to occupation ever since the people of the city took to the streets to protest the occupation forces’ confiscation of a school for use as a post. The US occupation forces responded violently to the demonstrations, killing 20 local residents and wounding 85. In response, even more Fallujis defied the US-imposed curfew to demonstrate against the confiscation and the killings of the demonstrators. Resistance in Fallujah came to a head when a gang of four Blackwater mercenaries were captured and killed after entering the city.

The US response was a massacre. The US set up a perimeter to ensure that refugees could not leave the city, with snipers firing at anyone who tried. They attacked and ransacked the only major hospital in the city, holding doctors, nurses, and patients hostage and looting medical equipment. When a provisional hospital was set up nearby to treat those wounded in the US onslaught, the occupation forces bombed it. In addition to destroying the places where the wounded could have been treated, the US forces attacked ambulances (including during an alleged ‘ceasefire’), thus preventing the wounded being evacuated, as well.

In an assault that would seem to have been the model for the ‘Cast Lead’ massacre in Gaza, the US bombed the entire city – and its captive population – with napalm and white phosphorus. Anyone found in the streets was subject to attack by the US military, and even the wounded were not spared. To compound these war crimes, the occupation forces also denied the Red Crescent access to the city. Entire neighbourhoods were razed, and mass graves were being found in the city long after the massacre. According to the US, occupation forces killed an estimated 1,500 people there, though Spanish journalist Javier Couso estimates that “more than six thousand” were killed (

Today, almost certainly as a result of the use of chemical weapons such as white phosphorus, napalm, and depleted uranium (DU) munitions, “cancer and leukaemia in the city of Fallujah…exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.”

Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.

Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

Dr Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster and one of the authors of the survey of 4,800 individuals in Fallujah, said it is difficult to pin down the exact cause of the cancers and birth defects. He added that “to produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened”.

…After an eight-month stand-off, the Marines stormed the city in November using artillery and aerial bombing against rebel positions. US forces later admitted that they had employed white phosphorus as well as other munitions.

In the assault US commanders largely treated Fallujah as a free-fire zone to try to reduce casualties among their own troops. British officers were appalled by the lack of concern for civilian casualties. “During preparatory operations in the November 2004 Fallujah clearance operation, on one night over 40 155mm artillery rounds were fired into a small sector of the city,” recalled Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, a British commander serving with the American forces in Baghdad.

He added that the US commander who ordered this devastating use of firepower did not consider it significant enough to mention it in his daily report to the US general in command. Dr Busby says that while he cannot identify the type of armaments used by the Marines, the extent of genetic damage suffered by inhabitants suggests the use of uranium in some form. He said: “My guess is that they used a new weapon against buildings to break through walls and kill those inside.”

Also not feeling the love are the women of Iraq, whose rights had already deteriorated under the 12 years of US-UK sanctions, which are estimated to have killed 1,000,000 people, including 700,000 children. However, even given the disastrous situation prior to the US invasion, Iraqi law granted women constitutional equality and the right to work, study, divorce, marry without anyone’s permission, and to dress in Western or traditional clothing.

The writing was on the wall from the start: One of the first acts of the “Governing Council” hand-picked by the US occupation after the war was to put an end to all that, by issuing a decision that brought domestic relations law – which had been governed by a statute based on the French Civil Code since 1958 – under Sharia rule. Not long thereafter, a new US-imposed “Iraqi” constitution was passed, which demoted women from constitutionally equal to “equal to the extent consistent with Sharia”.

Since the US invasion, Iraqi women have been living something akin to an Arabic-English-language remake of The Handmaid’s Tale. Women who work, drive, go outside alone, wear trousers, wear makeup, don’t cover their heads or faces, go to school, go to university, or do any number of things that Iraqi women have been doing for quite some time now run the risk of being lynched. And that, it’s worth bearing in mind, is in addition to the risk of being raped, murdered, or abducted by the occupation forces.

While Obama does not mention this, or any of the other wonderful features of the US occupation directly (the concentration camps, the torture facilities, the death squads, the looting of the oil reserves, the looting of the cultural heritage of what he calls ‘the cradle of civilisation’, the enclosed ghettos, the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis, etc.), the above might be what he means by:

The Americans who have served in Iraq completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future.

They shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people, trained Iraqi security forces, and took out terrorist leaders. Because of our troops and civilians — and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people — Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain.

The US should know a thing or two about “the resilience of the Iraqi people” – they’ve been testing it since 1991.

And what exactly are “Iraqi security forces”? Are they being trained and equipped to combat the main security threat the Iraqi people face, i.e., the fact that they have been overrun by heavily armed foreign teenagers who can’t pronounce the place name and have the quaint habit of breaking into their homes in the middle of the night and dragging their family members off to torture camps? Of course not. They’re being trained and equipped to kill the main security threat that the occupation faces, i.e., Iraqis.

Here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say the US were occupied by a hostile foreign power bent on robbing us and imposing a puppet regime (though about the only force that is as militarily powerful compared to the US as the US is compared to Iraq would be those aliens from the otherwise forgettable Independence Day). What would people here call anyone who joined forces with the occupying army and started torturing, killing, and abducting us? Somehow, I don’t think the term would be ‘security forces’.

No, the term we’d probably use is ‘collaborators’ (though ‘traitors’ would also be an acceptable answer), just as they were called in occupied Europe.

Translating from bullshit, then, Obama is saying that the rebranding of the occupation has been made possible because the US has press-ganged an army of collaborators who will kill and torture their own people. And, now that the US occupation is a ‘stability mission’, the collaborators will be able to count on the support of US ‘advisers’, just like in the old days with our good friend Diem.

Another interesting expression in Obama’s speech is ‘credible elections’: “This year also saw Iraq hold credible elections that drew a strong turnout.” Note that he doesn’t say ‘free’, ‘fair’, ‘legitimate’, ‘valid’, ‘lawful’, or any number of things. He doesn’t, because the elections weren’t any of those things. However, they were ‘credible’. They were ‘elections we can believe in’.

And elections held under hostile military occupation that bring a long-time employee of the occupying power (Iyad Allawi) to power amidst “the banning and killing of candidates and activists and subsequent political breakdown” (Seumas Milne in the Guardian) and widespread accusations of fraud, are certainly not free or legitimate, but they are probably ‘credible’ enough for the folks back home.

Looking back on years of mass murder and plunder, Obama can think of nothing better to say than: ‘We have met our responsibilities. Now it’s time to turn the page.’ Yes, now that ‘Iraq is dead, never to rise again’ (Nir Rosen), it’s time for us to move on. While the devastation we’ve wrought may cause a few difficulties for the people there, it’s time for them to step up to the plate. If they find it’s difficult to build a viable society out of the wreckage, they’re just not trying hard enough and we will have every reason to be sorely disappointed in them.

‘It’s Time to Turn the Page’ – Obama Calls for Amnesia

‘Turning the page’ is what this speech is really all about. By creating the (false) impression that the occupation of Iraq is over – when, in reality ‘In practical terms, nothing will change’ (Gen. Lanza) – he is telling the population that it’s time to shut up about Iraq. The ‘patriots’ both supporting and opposing a murderous, patently illegal war of aggression (none of whom ‘can doubt President Bush’s support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security’) that began with a massive deception are now supposed to ‘[turn] the page’ and realise that ‘[t]he greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences’ and unite in support of the equally illegal, equally murderous war against Afghanistan (euphemised here as ‘our fight against Al Qaeda’).

This is how abusers talk. ‘Of course we differ about what I did, baby. You call it “abuse”, and I insist that it was love, but I’ve said I’m not going to do it again, so can’t we just move past our differences and leave all that ancient history behind? It doesn’t matter now, anyway.’

It matters. Even if the occupation were really ending, even if every last permanent base were emptied, and all but enough space in the Vatican-sized ‘embassy’ complex for a genuine embassy were given back to the Iraqis, the country would still be devastated. The treasury would still be looted. The oil would still be under foreign control. The rights of women would still be flagrantly violated. The infrastructure would still be destroyed. The cancer and leukaemia rate would still be well above average, and there would be no end to the birth defects. The rifts in the society created by the occupation’s divided-and-conquer strategy would still exist (though a majority of Iraqis did say in an occupation-run poll that they thought that they could probably work out their differences if the occupation left). The million killed by 12 years of murderous ‘sanctions’ would still be dead, as would the about 2 million killed by now by US aggression. There’s no ‘turning the page’ for them. They have to live in the hell we’ve built them.

And there can be no turning the page for us, either. Not until the last person involved in the planning of this war of aggression (‘the supreme international crime’ in the words of the Nuremberg Tribunal) has been brought before the International Criminal Court, not until the Iraqis get the billions in reparations due them (in addition to the money plundered from the treasury, plus interest), not until the US government issues an official, unqualified, abject apology to the people of Iraq and the world, not until the generation that let this happen – my generation – is truly overcome by shame and guilt for the crime that some of us actively participated in, others did nothing to stop, and still others didn’t do enough to stop. This war – this ‘supreme international crime’ – is our disgrace, and we should all be deeply ashamed. There is much that we must do, but we must not forget even for an instant that it is our responsibility to make sure that these criminals, who would have been hanged at Nuremberg, but will live comfortably as ‘elder statesmen’ or the like in our ‘civilised’ society, are accompanied everywhere they go by the memory of their crimes. If they cannot be brought to justice, then they should not get even a moment’s peace, nor should we.

And, as hard as it will be for some to accept this, we need to realise that Obama is one of them. He didn’t just ‘inherit’ these crimes – he has become a very active participant in them, and now he is helping to cover them up. Obama is as guilty as anyone in the Bush White House.

The first German feature film after the end of the Second World War was the 1946 DEFA production Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are in Our Midst). In it, the protagonist, a Wehrmacht veteran, comes to realise that his commanding officer, who had gone on to become a ‘respectable’ industrialist in the post-war, was in reality a war criminal who ordered a massacre of defenceless men, women, and children on Christmas Eve. The message was clear: ‘The criminals who participated in aggression and mass murder walk free in our society, and it is our duty to bring them to justice, because their crimes were our crimes.’
Today, the lawyers who helped create a fig leaf of legality for torture and who prosecuted and continue to prosecute those detained in our concentration camps (for that’s what they are – in the original sense of the word) in bogus kangaroo courts, the strategists who planned a war of aggression, the doctors and psychologists who aided in torture and issued false death certificates to cover up the real cause of death of those who died under torture, the officers who ordered terrorist attacks on Iraqi and Afghan civilians – they are in our midst. Many of them will no doubt ‘turn the page’, and reenter society in our hospitals, law firms, doctor’s offices, prosecutor’s offices, judges’ chambers, and other ‘respectable’ places. It is our duty to find them and expose them.

At the height of US aggression in Indochina, Noam Chomsky – contemplating a display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry that invited children to participate in a simulated massacre of a Vietnamese village – asked whether this country needs ‘dissent or denazification.

We need denazification.

Middle East Peace Not Desired

Obama, complete surrender to Zionism and its lobby

Alan Hart

September 07, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- - -He did it with seven words. “Ultimately the U.S. cannot impose a solution.”

He was speaking at the White House the day before the start of the new round of direct talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, after he had met with them and Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. (In my last post I anticipated Obama saying at the point of his complete surrender that “America can’t want peace more than the parties.” He also said that - ahead of schedule!)

Today there is a growing number of seriously well informed people of all faiths and none (including me) who believe there will only be peace if it is imposed.

Among those who have dared to say so in public is one of the most eminent Jewish gentlemen of our time, Henry Siegman.

A former national director of the American Jewish Congress, he is president of the U.S./Middle East Project, which was part of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1994 until 2006 when it was established as an independent policy institute.

He is also a research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Programme of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

During his more than 30 years of involvement in the Middle East peace process, he has published extensively on the subject and has been consulted by governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations involved in the peace process.

In a comment piece for the Financial Times on 23 February 2010, (quoted in Conflict Without End? the Epilogue to Volume 3 of the American edition of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews), he wrote this:

“The Middle East peace process and its quest for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that got under way nearly 20 years ago with the Oslo accords has undergone two fundamental transformations. It is now on the brink of a third.

“The first was the crossing of a threshold by Israel’s settlement project in the West Bank; there is no longer any prospect of its removal by this or any future Israeli government, which was the precise goal of the settlements’ relentless expansion all along. The previous prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who declared that a peace accord requires Israel to withdraw ‘from most, if not all’ of the occupied territories, ‘including East Jerusalem,’ was unable even to remove any of the 20 hilltop outposts Israel had solemnly promised to dismantle.

“A two-state solution could therefore come about only if Israel were compelled to withdraw to the pre-1967 border by an outside power whose wishes an Israeli government could not defy - the US. The assumption has always been that at the point where Israel’s colonial ambitions collide with critical US national interests, an American president would draw on the massive credit the US has accumulated with Israel to insist it dismantle its illegal settlements, which successive US administrations held to be the main obstacle to a peace accord.
“The second transformation resulted from the shattering of that assumption when President Barack Obama - who took a more forceful stand against Israel’s settlements than any of his predecessors, and did so at a time when the damage this unending conflict was causing American interests could not have been more obvious - backed off ignominiously in the face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of his demand. This left prospects for a two-state accord dead in the water.”

On 16 August in a piece for the Huffington Post which was originally published by Ha’aretz in Hebrew, Siegman added this:

“Most Israelis, particularly the present government, have been blithely indifferent to repeated international condemnations of Israel's systematic theft of Palestinian territory on which it has been settling its own Jewish population in blatant violation of international law. Yet their reaction to what they see as an attack on the "legitimacy" of the State of Israel, a concept foreign to international law, seems to bring them to the edge of hysteria.

“In fact, Israel's legitimacy within its 1967 borders has never been challenged by the international community. It is its behavior on territory beyond its own borders to which the international community - including every U.S. administration - has objected. To construe the condemnation of violations of international law as anti-Semitism is absurd.

“It was not an anti-Semite seeking to delegitimize the Jewish state, but Theodore Meron, an internationally respected jurist and the legal advisor to Israel's Foreign Ministry, who following the war of 1967 conveyed the following legal opinion to Israel's Foreign Minister Abba Eban: ‘Civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention,’ to which Israel is a signatory. That Convention's ban on population transfer is ‘categorical and not conditional upon the motives for the transfer or its objectives. The Convention's purpose is to prevent settlement in occupied territory of citizens of the occupying state.’”

So yes, Israel’s leaders knew that settlements on Arab land occupied in 1967 are illegal.
They simply didn’t give (and still today don’t give) a damn about international law. But this attitude, a mixture of extreme arrogance and insufferable self-righteousness, does not make them the main villains in the story of what happened after June 1967. The main villains were (and still are) the governments of the major powers and the one in Washington DC above all.

What they should have said to Israel in the immediate aftermarth of the 1967 war is: “You are not to build any settlements on occupied Arab land. If you do, you’ll be demonstrating your contempt for international law. In this event the international community will declare Israel to be an outlaw state and subject it to sanctions.”
If something like that riot act had been read to Israel there would have been peace many, many years ago.
The pragmatic Arafat was reluctantly reconciled to the reality of Israel’s existence inside its pre-1967 borders as far back as 1968.

In his gun and olive branch address to the UN General Assembly on 13 November 1974 he said so by obvious implication. Thereafter he put his credibility with his leadership colleagues and his people, and his life, on the line to get a mandate for unthinkable compromise with Israel. He got it at the end of 1979 when the Palestine National Council voted by 296 votes to 4 to endorse his two-state policy. What he needed thereafter was an Israeli partner for peace. He eventually got a probable one, Yitzhak Rabin, but he was assassinated by a Zionist fanatic.

The more it became clear that Israel’s leaders were not interested in a genuine two-state solution for which Arafat had prepared the ground on his side, the more his credibility with his own people suffered.
It is in the context briefly sketched above that Obama’s seven words have their real meaning.
At the time of writing it seems reasonably clear that Obama is hoping that Abbas and his equally discredited Fatah leadership colleagues can be bribed and bullied into accepting what Netanyahu will eventually offer - crumbs from Zionism’s table. (My guess is that Abbas at a point will resign rather than trigger a Palestinian civil war).

THE question is what will Obama do when Israel refuses to give enough to satisfy the demands and needs of the Palestinian people for a just about acceptable measure of justice? We already know the answer. “Ultimately the U.S. cannot impose a solution.” Effectively those seven words tell Israel’s leaders that they can go on imposing their will on the occupied and oppressed Palestinians with the comfort of knowing that Obama is not going to use the leverage he has, and every American president has had, to cause them, or try to cause them, to be serious about peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept, and which a rational Israeli government and people would accept with relief.
Put another way, those seven words are effectively a green light for Zionism alone to determine the future of the Palestinians, a future which at some point will most likely see the final ethnic cleansing of Palestine, followed by another great turning against the Jews (provoked by the Zionist state’s behaviour) and a Clash of Civilizations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic.

In his analysis on the day Obama delivered his seven words, Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s admirable Middle East Editor, offered this thought.

“There might not be room for many more failures. The conflict is changing. A religious war is now being grafted on what used to be fundamentally a competition for territory between two national movements. You can make deals with nationalists. It's much harder with people who believe they're doing God's work.”
The next question asks itself.

Why won’t Obama be the president to call and hold the Zionist state to account for its crimes, even when doing so is necessary for the best protection of America’s own interests? Part of the answer is, of course, that he is no more willing than any of his predecessors to have a showdown with the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress and the mainstream media. But there might be more to it.

In the privacy of his own mind Obama probably understands better than any of his predecessors how the conflict was created and what has sustained it. If that is the case, he will also know there’s no guarantee that real American-led pressure on Israel to be serious about peace would work and that it could be counter-productive.

I am a supporter in principle of the case and the need for the Zionist state of Israel to be totally isolated, boycotted and sanctioned as Apartheid South Africa was, eventually.


The danger is that even the credible threat of a real boycott and sanctions could play into the hands of those Israeli leaders - Netanyahu has long been their standard bearer - who have brainwashed Israelis, most if not quite all, into believing that the world hates Jews, always has and always will, and that Israeli Jews have no choice but to tell the world to go to hell.

In this context (and as I note in the Epilogue of the American edition of my book), I think it could and should be said that Zionism succeeded, probably beyond its own best expectations, in transforming the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust from a lesson against racism and fascism and all the evils associated with them into an ideology that seeks to justify anything and everything the Zionist state does. War crimes and all.

So it could be that in the privacy of his own mind, Obama knows it is already too late (not to mention too dangerous) to try to push Israel’s leaders much further than they are willing to go.
What, I wonder, will honest historians of the future make of what is happening right now?
My guess is that they will conclude that when Obama launched his push for peace, the Zionist state was already a monster beyond control.


An Unsettled Issue: Israeli Settlement Construction Booms Despite Ban

By Juliane von Mittelstaedt in Jerusalem

In Washington, the Israelis and Palestinians are discussing peace, but in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, construction is proceeding at full speed. A legal ban is being ignored and the government is looking away. The thousands of new homes could hinder reconciliation.
Officially, at least, this is the hour of diplomacy. For the first time in two years, Israelis and Palestinians are meeting for direct peace talks. United States President Barack Obama has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington. Settlement construction is one of the most sensitive issues at the talks.
It's also an issue where the fronts are growing increasingly tense. "As far as we are concerned, we will continue building after we have buried our dead," Naftali Bennett, the general director of the settlers' association Yesha said hours before the start of peace talks. Just a short time after his announcement, the settlers began erecting several symbolic settlements in the West Bank. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Bennett had threatening words. "It is not good enough that the moratorium will end on Sept. 26," he said. "Ehud Barak needs to act to approve 3,000 new housing units -- 1,500 of them right now."

The message is clear: After Hamas terrorists shot four Israelis near Hebron, the settlers no longer want to adhere to the 10-month construction stop that expires at the end of September. An army commander told the newspaper Maariv that the settlers threatened to "flood" the West Bank "with thousands of homes." He said he was concerned that dozens of cement mixers would drive in at night to pour the walls and that there was nothing the military could do to stop it.

And why should they if they have the impression that the government doesn't even support the moratorium?
Construction work could soon begin again in 57 settlements. The peace talks that began on Thursday with an official reception thrown by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won't change that. After all, construction of settlements also continued during previous rounds of peace talks. From the start of the Oslo peace process in the 1990s until today, the number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has tripled -- growing from 110,000 to more than 300,000 people living in 121 settlements and 100 outposts. In addition to that there are 200,000 more settlers in East Jerusalem.

The Land Is Practically Free

Construction may even proceed at a faster pace than before. In the West Bank, there are few signs that the moratorium has even been put in place. In dozens of settlements, excavators and cement mixers are a regular sight, and Palestinians work in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Around 2,000 homes are currently under construction -- and in most cases, work had begun shortly before or after the start of the moratorium.

One such place is Anatot, a settlement near Jerusalem, that is dotted with flower beds, trees, cute street signs at every entranceway and a street lamp every few meters. Anatot is the perfect suburban idyll. And it's just one of many settlements where inhabitants can quickly forget that they are settlers.

Now there are plans to expand Anatot. A new neighborhood is being erected with 70 apartments, as the construction manager proudly states. The settlement is being expanded by one-third from its current population of around 200 families.

A few of the new homes have already been completed. They're attractive cubes build of creamy white Jerusalem sandstone. A colorful sign at the entrance to Anatot advertises "cottages with quality of life." It's a dream that costs 1.02 to 1.4 million shekel (around €280,000) -- less expensive than a small apartment in West Jerusalem. The construction in the West Bank is massively subsidized by Israel. The land is practically free. After all, it is "state" land. The development costs are paid by the state, and the residents get affordable loans.

Nevertheless, construction is not actually permitted here. The building project is not included in the list of 490 "legal exceptions" which the government managed to make to the settlement moratorium.

The Moratorium 'Was a Fiction Right from the Outset'

"The construction boom here began shortly before the building freeze," says Dror Etkes, who is perhaps the Israeli who knows the most about the settlements. For years he has been documenting settlement construction and submitting complaints against illegal projects.

Etkes is sure that active construction is taking place in at least 46 out of 120 settlements. Building projects have only actually been frozen in five settlements, he says. Even government inspectors have found violations of the moratorium in 29 settlements. So far, however, no construction firm has been called to account over those violations. That is despite the fact that the building freeze, for the first time in Israeli history, is not just a "political" requirement, but is actually enshrined in law -- meaning that any violation should be legally punished.
Additionally, infrastructure projects are not included in the building moratorium. As a result, a number of sewage treatment plants and water reservoirs are being built in settlements -- including on Palestinian land. In Beitar Illit, a new road is being built.

Neither were the associated financial incentives -- the only reason that many Israelis choose to live in the West Bank -- affected by the moratorium. Those benefits include cheap loans, subsidized rents, tax breaks and countless other perks, all of which could easily be cancelled.

"The difference between the level of construction before and during the moratorium is much, much less than the settlers claim," says Etkes. "It's not just that the building freeze has been undermined -- it was a fiction right from the outset." One of the consequences, he says, has been that construction activities have become even more focused on the eastern settlements -- in other words, those small, isolated and often radical settlements that would need to be evacuated if a peace agreement were reached. It is expected that the inhabitants of those settlements would defend themselves with force against such a move.

Part 2: 'Building Freeze Is More Harmful than Useful'

Construction work is also going on in Kfar Adumim. The settlement is significantly larger than the norm -- 2,700 people live here in the hills between Jerusalem and Jericho. Among them are two members of the Knesset, the two hardliners Aryeh Eldad and Uri Ariel. 30 houses are to be built here and 50 Palestinian workers are employed on the site. One man, who is busy laying bathroom tiles, says they started work a month before the building freeze came into force. In the beginning, they had 300 men working at full speed to lay as many foundations as possible in the short time.

Etkes sees the circumventing of the building freeze here as a "classic example of the cooperation between the settlers and the government": Some of the foundations were hastily laid before the building freeze came into force, some afterwards -- but nobody bothers to police it. "The building freeze was discussed for half a year, that was enough time for all parties to prepare."

This is no different from other settlements. Once the moratorium comes to an end, the settlers immediately begin to build. Or, if they do not need housing right away, they can save the foundations as a "reserve" in case of future building freezes. In addition, dozens of settlers' organizations have submitted building applications to local authorities that could be approved in the coming months.

The tiler will not give his name because he is afraid of losing his job, which pays him a minimum of about €30 a day. But he did say that many of his colleagues began work on the site two days before the construction moratorium in the settlements came into force. He also said that building work is still going on in Har Homa in Bethlehem, even though the building freeze is in force there. Carpenters work at night so as not to draw so much attention.

With Each Project, the Future Clearing of Settlements Becomes More Difficult

Whether that bothers the man as a Palestinian? "What should we do? As long as they are allowed to carry on building here, we'll be here too," he says with a shrug. It is the pragmatism of those who do not believe the Israelis will be leaving the West Bank anytime soon. It is the same almost everywhere near Jerusalem. But what about the isolated settlements, with those near Nablus, near the Jordan Valley, near Hebron. "It's a similar situation," says Etkes.

Ten apartments here, 40 there. In no other place are the projects as massive as at Ramat Shlomo, the Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem where, earlier this year, 1,600 new apartments were approved -- just as US Vice President Joe Biden was travelling to Israel. The Americans were irritated and insisted that the Israelis obide by the construction moratorium. But even small projects bring with them thousands of new settlers -- and with each, the later clearing of settlements becomes even more difficult. And without clearing the settlements there can be no viable Palestinian state.

All it takes is a few figures from Israel's statistical office to determine that no reduction of construction activity worth of mention has taken place. Israel's Channel 10 TV, for example, has reported that 8,000 Israelis either moved to the West Bank or have been born there in the past six months. Projected over the remaining months of 2010, that would be 16,000 people. In recent years -- without the construction moratorium -- the average growth rate was 5.5 percent, which with 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, would mean an annual increase of around 16,500 people. "In other words, the much-discussed construction moratorium has brought us 500 fewer settlers," Etkes says.

'At the End of the Day, There Will Be Another 1,000 Homes'

For the Palestinians, the time elapsed since the start of the construction moratorium hasn't been a good one. According to Human Rights Watch, the Israeli civil administration in West Jordan has torn down a total of 267 Palestinian homes in recent months, more than ever before. The homes had been built without permits, but that's the case with most new Palestinian homes because they are hardly ever approved.

By contrast, says Etkes, he has no doubt that the homes in the settlement that have been built illegally during the moratorium will, at least some of them, be legalized later. "At the end of the day, there will still be another 1,000 homes more in the West Bank."