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Friday, April 29, 2011


The full significance of the reconciliation deal struck between Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday in Egypt has yet to be fully realised.

The deal clearly has not been rushed into by any of the parties and all are fully aware of the consequences the new alliance will bring, not just to the Palestinians, but also to the Egyptians whose borders adjoin both Israel and the Gaza Strip. Indeed, as part of the deal, Egypt has already opened its border with the Gaza Strip to allow free access between the two for trade and travel, a move likely to anger the Israelis who have strived for years to economically and socially strangle the Gaza Strip in their efforts to destroy Hamas.

Egypt’s new relationship with the Palestinians may also be seen as a foretaste of the relationship a post-Mubarak Egypt will likely have with Israel. The new Egyptian mood is sympathetic to the Palestinians plight both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. Now that the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has been opened allowing trade, it will not be long before the people of the Gaza will actually be better off than the people in the West Bank which for now remains under continued occupation by the Israelis.

Israel’s knee jerk reaction to the reconciliation deal and the opening of the border could well be to formally annex the areas of the West Bank that contain Israeli settlements together with the Jordan Valley with the threat of eventually annexing all of the West Bank, and possibly to invade and occupy the Gaza Strip claiming that they have done so in order to stop weapons being delivered to Hamas. Both of these possible Israeli actions would effectively be a declaration of war against the Palestinians especially if the Israelis were to fully occupy all of the West Bank in order to stop Hamas activity particularly after Fatah have released the Hamas prisoners they are holding.

The problem for Netanyahu is to assess how quickly he needs to act before the West and the rest of the world becomes convinced that the reconciliation has some merit and accepts the new alliance. This would be a disaster for the Zionists of Israel. While the US may suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority as a result of the alliance – a consequence the new alliance would have taken into consideration – there could well be sources of aid from elsewhere that maybe forthcoming. There is no single nation that could afford the kind of aid the US currently provides the Palestinians, which averages about $400 million per year over the last five years, but a group of nations together providing aid either in cash or kind could easily thwart the effect the US cessation of aid will have.

Another big worry for the Zionists of Israel is the possibility that the alliance, once having being accepted by most of the world, could unilaterally declare statehood claiming sovereignty over all of the West Bank, including the settlements and all other occupied areas of the West Bank, back to the pre-1967 line.

The bottom line now is that Israel is in a very tricky spot and has been backed into a corner. So far, all is quiet on the Israel-Palestine front, but it will be interesting to see how long the quiet lasts before the entire region explodes. And, if Israel’s Zionists want to hang on to their dream of a Greater Israel that includes, at least, the West Bank, then the explosion will be very soon.

As I said, the full significance of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah is not yet realised.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


In a historical moment yesterday Hamas and Fatah, Palestine’s two warring factions, signed a peace deal in Cairo brokered by the Egyptians that would unite them in common cause in ending the occupation in the West Bank and the siege of the Gaza Strip. The deal has already angered the Zionist Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has stated that the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas must make a choice between a peace deal with Israel and a peace deal with Hamas adding emphatically that Abbas cannot have both.

The deal has set the stage for a confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians which could include Israeli unilaterally annexing parts of the West Bank and repealing the Oslo Accords, moves which Likud Member of the Knesset (MK) Danny Danon has already set in motion in the Knesset. Such a move is likely to be supported by other right-wing Israeli Zionist parties that make up Netanyahu’s fragile coalition government. Uzi Landau of the extreme right-wing Israel Beiteinu party told an audience on 21 April: “We'll have to protect ourselves. If such a thing happens, I'm going to suggest to my government to extend our sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over the highly-populated blocs we have in Judea and Samaria”, adding ominously, ”just to start with.”

Ever since Hamas unexpectedly won the Palestinian elections of January 2006, Israel has strived to wedge the two Palestinian factions. Immediately after the result was announced, both the Israelis and the US refused to recognise the new Hamas government-elect threatening to withdraw all financial support to the Palestinians and proclaiming Fatah the only government they would support. As Hamas attempted to exert authority fighting broke out between the two factions in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. With the support of the Israelis who occupy the West Bank, Fatah were able to easily and quickly prevail. However, in the Gaza Strip where there were no Israeli occupation forces to support the Fatah elements in the Gaza, Hamas, despite US and Israeli support by way of weapons being given to Fatah forces, were able to consolidate their control over the Strip and force Fatah out. The Israelis have continued to drive a wedge between the two factions ever since refusing to talk to Hamas under any circumstances.

Netanyahu’s response to yesterday’s deal signals an end to Israel’s relationship with Abbas and his Fatah movement, especially if the deal goes ahead. A number of options are available to Netanyahu, few of which are likely to be acceptable to the US and even less so to world opinion.

While annexation of all of the West Bank and Gaza as part of the Zionists Greater Israel dream has always been the long term aim of right-wing Zionism, efforts by some more extreme Zionists in the Knesset have proven to be premature. As recently as February of this year only four MK’s supported such a motion when it was put forward in the Israeli parliament. However, the latest developments may well cause MK’s to reconsider their stance by voting in favour of annexation of at least parts of the West Bank when MK Danny Danon next brings it up to the vote. There can be no doubt that if a vote is made in favour of annexation that this would change the entire Israeli-Palestinian geo-political situation.

Much also depends on how President Obama reacts to the new situation, though it is very unlikely that the administration will continue to support statehood if Hamas are likely to be part of any new Palestinian government. In order to force a change of heart from Abbas, Obama could threaten sanctions against the Palestinian Authority such as suspending aid, though Abbas would not doubt have already taken that into consideration when entering into the deal.

Clearly, if the deal is going to be on, then it is a real game-changer in the Middle East. How the players react to the new arrangements will determine how dangerous the situation will become.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The latest batch of Wikileak releases has provided the neocons with what they think is evidence purporting to link al-Qaeda to Saddam Hussein prior to 9/11.

Part of the propaganda that the neoconservatives, many of whom held high positions in the Bush administration, used in the lead up to the US and their allies invasion and destruction of Iraq was the accusation that Saddam Hussein had connections with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and, therefore, must somehow have been complicit in the events of 9/11. Long after it became obvious that Saddam actually had nothing at all to do with bin Laden or al-Qaeda, the neocons continued to insist that he had. Even though President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were vocal about the Saddam-al-Qaeda connection in the run up to the war, both have since conceded that there was no connection.

But, in an article in Weekly Standard today, the neocons once again think they’ve been exonerated by the latest release of 779 US secret documents by Wikileaks. One of the leaked documents, most of which are written assessments by US intelligence analysts on Guantanamo Bay prisoners, accuse one of the prisoners, an Iraqi by the name of Jawad Jabber Sadkhan, of having been an Iraqi intelligence officer who was ‘relocated’ to Afghanistan. According to the assessment, Sadkhan had ‘ties that reached all the way to Osama bin Laden’ and that bin Laden had paid Sadkhan money ‘both before and after the September 11 attacks’. However, a careful read of Sadkhan’s leaked file reveals that all of the accusations made about him were made by other prisoners anxious to please their American captors and keen to co-operate in order to secure release or an easier experience while in detention.

The most damaging of Sadkhan’s accusers was a fellow Iraqi prisoner at Guantanamo named Nashwan Abd Al Razzaq Abd Al Baqi, also referred to as Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi. Al-Iraqi was said to have been a major in Saddam Hussein’s military before also being ‘relocated’ to Afghanistan. Al-Iraqi had told interrogators that Sadkhan had been an Iraqi intelligence officer. According to Sadkhan, however, he had been in Saddam’s military but had gone AWOL and had served time for being AWOL and later fled Iraq to Iran and then to Pakistan in order to avoid arrest for theft.

There were a number of Iraqis in Afghanistan, just as there are a great many of other foreigners from Arab and North African countries, but not all were there to fight jihad. Many Iraqis were there simply to live elsewhere or to get away from Saddam Hussein’s government for whatever reasons.

Nowhere in the released Wikileak files is there any evidence whatsoever to link al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein. The neocons are clutching desperately to straws – again to justify the illegal war against Iraq.

Finally, if indeed there were any connections between Iraqi detainees captured in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein, would not the US already have made it known to the world in order to justify their destruction of Iraq? Why would the government leave it to the neocons to exonerate America?

Monday, April 18, 2011


A blog item in the neocon rag Commentary today, Michael Rubin wonders why Gaddafi hasn’t been targeted by a ‘Predator’ remote controlled execution drone.

The ‘Predator’ now seems to have emerged as the United States tool of choice to execute people who have been tried in absentia by American officialdom. Not only have neocons taken it upon themselves to demand that certain people be effectively executed by the US without any form of trial, but they are now demanding it of people who, despite being thoroughly despicable criminals, are not actually a threat to the US. Not only have the US taken it upon themselves to be the world’s policemen, the neocons want the US to be the jury, judge and executioner of anyone they don’t like – especially if they happen to be Islamic.

As despicable as Gaddafi is, he is no threat to the US and nor is he any longer a threat to anyone else except his own people. It is clear that Gaddafi has committed warcrimes but it is not up to the US to convict him and then execute him for those crimes. Since the international community through the auspices of the UN decided to protect the civilians of Libya against the murderous dictator Gaddafi, it is up to the international community – not the US – to try and, if found guilty, punish him in accordance with the international communities legal guidelines – which, incidentally, excludes the death penalty.

If Gaddafi is killed leading his forces into battle then that is an entirely different matter, but to target him for assassination will set up all sorts of precedents that world really shouldn’t be going anywhere near. Already there are far too many extra-judicial killings going on. Not only are they legally questionable, they also have a terrible tendency to kill innocent people who have been either mistaken as targets or are ‘collateral damage’ to identified targets.

In the case of Gaddafi, it is up to either the Libyan people, if they are able to capture him alive, to properly try and punish him or, far more preferably, to hand him over to the appropriate international court to be dealt with. In that way other despots and leaders of nations that commit warcrimes against either their own people or people of other nations will get the message that they will not get away with their crimes.

People who kill others extra-judicially are as much criminals in many cases as those they wish to kill. Arrogant self-righteousness is not an excuse to kill others who are killers. Once the world’s governments start becoming unaccountable for extra-judicial killing in this way, there will be no end to it and anyone could end being a target even if one is merely a dissenter.

Finally, if the trend continues, there will come a time when America and her allies enemies will also find a way to assassinate their enemies remotely in the belief that if it’s good enough for the West then its’ good enough for the West’s enemies too. Prime Ministers and Presidents could then find themselves targets for assassination thus running the risk of not only being killed themselves but their families, as well as other civilians, may end up being killed as ‘collateral damage’.

This ‘Kill, kill, kill!’ by remote control madness needs to end. The world needs to come back to the principles of justice. Killing enemies in this way will only enrage them further as they seek revenge.

Justice is the only way peace.

Friday, April 08, 2011


It’s interesting that historian Robert Manne should liken the Islamophobic racist Greg Sheridan to Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher and his Der Stürmer hate newspaper of the Nazi era. Contrary to the opinion of Gerard Henderson of the right-wing Sydney Institute who thinks such comparisons to Nazi propaganda are inappropriate, considering the circumstances of today’s modern Islamophobic and racist propaganda, such comparisons are very much appropriate. Whereas Streicher’s paper specialised in demonising Jews, Greg Sheridan and Andrew Bolt, as well as others, specialise in demonising both Aboriginal people and Islam in their respective newspapers, The Australian and the Herald Sun – both of which happen to be owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Julius Streicher was a low-life Nazi Jew-hater whose diatribes about Jews were often so disgusting they even offended fellow Nazis. Streicher was eventually hung at Nuremberg after being found guilty of crimes against humanity. But, it seems, extreme right-wing racists have not learnt from the lessons of the Nazi era. Again, racists are using newspapers to spread hatred and fear. And now it’s not just newspapers that are being used; Andrew Bolt has just been given a Sunday morning time slot on Australian Channel Ten TV.

Like Streicher, Andrew Bolt is a low-life Muslim and Aborigine hater whose diatribes about Aborigines and Muslims as well as other non-white Australians generally are also offensive even to other right-wing Australians. Greg Sheridan has come out with his racist agenda and has now also placed himself in the ranks of low-life Muslim haters when he wrote his lengthy diatribe last Saturday in The Australian.

Like the era of anti-Semitism during the last century, so Islamophobia and racism against non-whites is a threat to the future of the world. If the racist and Islamophobic hatreds peddled by the likes of Sheridan and Bolt are not stopped then the world has no more to look forward to than it did in those dark days that culminated in the deaths of millions in the middle of the last century.

These people are using the rhetoric of ‘the right to free speech’ to deprive people of their freedoms and rights – just as the likes of Julius Streicher did back in the 1930s.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


In a lengthy article last Saturday in The Australian titled ‘How I lost faith in multiculturalism’, Greg Sheridan finally showed himself to be the racist that we always knew he was. Of course, having ranted against Islam in the past, usually when discussing the war against terrorism, we already knew that he was a racist. But in those circumstances he usually denied being racist by saying that his rants were directed against extremist Muslim, not moderate Islam. But now he has finally come out against Islam generally thus displaying his true racist credentials. At one point in his article Sheridan relates how he witnessed a white Australian women being verbally abused and then spat on. He explains that the men who abused this woman were of ‘Middle Eastern appearance’ inferring that because they were Middle Eastern they must have been Muslims and so, therefore, were behaving offensively because they were Muslims. As historian Robert Manne pointed out in response to Sheridan’s hate piece, if Sheridan had replaced the words ‘…of Middle Eastern appearance’ with ‘…of Jewish appearance’ then one would have a quote worthy of something that may have been found in Julius Streicher’s Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer. With this disclosure of his racist attributes, Sheridan now joins the ranks of those other leading Murdoch racists; Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun in Melbourne, and Tim Blair and Piers Akerman of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. Andrew Bolt, Australia’s premier racist, couldn’t help himself but pass comment over Sheridan’s racist rant and Manne’s response. Bolt called on Manne, who also happens to be Jewish and who is also Bolt’s arch nemesis, to apologise to Sheridan saying Manne ‘demeans’ both Sheridan and the Holocaust. As it happens, while Sheridan deserves to be ‘demeaned’ on the basis of his declaration of being a racist, Manne actually didn’t mention the Holocaust. In the course of his racist rant, Sheridan mentioned that many of the Right wing parties in Europe that were now anti-Islam had in the past been anti-Semitic but have now changed their stance. He says, for example, the French National Front party had “recently ditched the anti-Semitism and now stands primarily against Muslim immigration and Islamic influence”. The reality is that many of those white European Australians that are now opposed to Islam were once also anti-Semitic themselves like their peers in England. One wonders if the likes of Murdoch’s journos in Australia weren’t once amongst them. Like in Orwell’s 1984, for the likes of Bolt, Sheridan, Blair, Akerman, et al, they occasionally need to change their enemy but they always must have an enemy. The right-wing in the post war years still hated Jews even in Australia but, like leopards, they can never change their spots but the can attempt to hide them. Once a racist, always a racist.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Richard Goldstone, author of the 500 page plus Goldstone Report into the Israeli onslaught against the Gazan people in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2008/2009 has done a complete back flip of his findings as presented in his report. In an op-ed that appeared in Friday 1 April edition of the Washington Post, Goldstone tells readers that he has changed his mind completely about the culpability of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in relation to war crimes the Goldstone Report had accused them of during Operation Cast Lead. He claims that, had he known what he knows now, he would not have made any such accusations against the IDF. It seems, however, that the knowledge he now has which has caused him to change his mind is the reports of the various investigations into Operation Cast Lead that were carried out by the Israelis. The question now is; to what extent can the findings of a government and its various institutions investigating itself be trusted when it comes to making decisions about whether that government and its institutions have committed war crimes. Certainly, it would seem obvious, especially with a nation like Zionist Israel that has a history of not being able to be honest, the credibility of any findings its commissions of inquiry come up with are likely to be highly suspect. So, one needs to ask, why has Goldstone done this complete about face? The tone of his op-ed is a clue. It is no longer neutral as one might expect of a retired senior judge. He almost fawns over the new-found epiphany of Israeli righteousness during Cast Lead while at the same time blatantly proclaims that Hamas are guilty of war crimes through intent. He does this without even considering the possibility that Israel, who knew that their citizens would be in harms way in the event of another attack in that region, made no attempt to move their citizens out of harms way thus effectively using them as human shields without their permission. At the time of publishing his report, Goldstone was equally assertive about the guilt of the Israelis yet now we have this complete one-eighty degree turnaround. Why? Why has his turnaround been so drastic? Could it be that he’s been got at? Has he been paid off? I doubt it but who knows. Has he or his family been threatened? This is far more likely; Israel is historically renowned for its assassination of its enemies. Could that extend to those that upset Israel’s ‘reputation’? I guess we’ll never know but one can rest assured that there is nothing genuine about Goldstone’s turnaround.


This post also published at David Rieff, writing in neocon online mag The New Republic about liberal interventionists and neoconservative interventionists, says: Both sides think it is America’s duty to reshape the world into a more democratic place. Well, we all know that neoconservatives think America should be ‘intervening’ anywhere that it feels like if it serves America’s or Israel’s interests. And American liberal interventionists may, indeed, well believe that it is America’s duty to reshape the world into a more ‘democratic’ place, but it certainly is not the case at all for international Leftists, many of who have supported the intervention in Libya but for very different reasons. However, the big difference between the so-called ‘liberal interventionists’ and the neoconservatives compared to the international Left is the fact that the international Left would prefer to see America have nothing at all to do with any ‘intervention’ anywhere. In cases like Libya, America should leave the ‘intervening’ to the international community. Better still, as far as Libya is concerned, it would have been far better if it had been the Arab community itself that had ‘intervened’. Libya has two immediate neighbours, Tunisia and Egypt, which have both recently gone down the same path as the Libyan rebels. It’s a pity that the new Egyptian and Tunisian governments didn’t see fit to support the Libyan rebels. Both have the appropriate wherewithal to at least level the playing field in the fight to rid Libya of its fascist dictator and an alliance of Arab nations in this way would also demonstrate to other Arab fascist-led states that such totalitarian behaviour will not be supported by those states that now have power in the hands of their own people. For the neoconservatives the revolutions in the Arab nations have become a conundrum. Their propaganda in the lead up to the Iraq war was full of jingoistic rhetoric about bringing ‘democracy’ to Iraq so that the rest of the Arab world would be inspired by Iraq’s new-found freedoms. The pursuit of ‘democracy’ became the cornerstone of their rhetoric – and it also became a millstone around their necks as Arabs nations began to move toward their own style of revolution and democracy. As the January 2006 Palestinian National Authority elections demonstrated, the wrong people, at least as far as the neocons were concerned, were being elected into power. But, too late; the neoconservatives had committed themselves to the rhetoric of ‘democracy’ so when the Egyptian rebellion began the neocons had no alternative but to actually support it despite Israel preferring to have seen Hosni Mubarak continue in power. Their only hope now is that the US is able to wield enough influence in Egyptian post-Mubarak political affairs to keep the Muslim Brotherhood from taking Egypt down the path of Islamic governance. Despite their ongoing rhetoric about wanting to see the downfall of Gaddafi and ‘democracy’ in Libya, the neocons are scared witless over the possibility that Islamic groups will gain political control there as it seems they will eventually in Egypt. Obama is no less concerned about the possibility of Islamic groups gaining political control in all of the counties that have fallen so far and may well fall in the future but Obama has adopted a ‘softly, softly’ approach to diplomacy with these states that have undergone and are undergoing radical change. The neocons on the other hand, would prefer a much more aggressive approach to the changeover of power in these states in order to ensure that Islamist groups do not gain power. What all the rebels are seeking, above anything else, is the right to their own self-determination – which may or may not include a secular democracy which the neocons would prefer, or, alternatively, may involve a theocratic Islamic form of government which would be the last things the neocons would want. Either ways, it’s ultimately up to the people of each of these states. It’s certainly not up to the US nor the neocons.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Blogspot have some real problems since switching to the new format as you can see below. They’ve given me good service for a few years now but, since I’m not a computer expert, I don’t have time to waste sorting out tech problems. Hence the switch. I ask my readers to bear with me while I get to grips with Meanwhile I’ll just blog on when I can.


Neocon writer Alana Goodman at Commentary writing about America’s involvement in Libya and its role there seems to think that the US should act unilaterally and affect ‘regime change’. She writes: We are already in Libya – so whether or not we should intervene is not up for debate. What should be questioned is whether we need to expand our mission to include regime change. It was a mistake for Obama to rule this option out at the beginning. And based on the situation in Libya right now, the president may end up having to face this very real prospect soon. The demeanour of statements like this demonstrates perfectly neoconservative arrogance. First off, ‘we’ – i.e. the US – are not ‘in’ Libya at all, (unless one includes the CIA that we have now been told are in Libya helping the rebels); the US are, or were, simply part of a UN-sanctioned intervention designed to prevent civilians being killed in a civil war. Goodman uses the word ‘we’ in the context of the US rather than in a context that includes the allies that have undertaken to protect the civilians of Libya, so when she says ‘what should be questioned is whether we need to expand our mission to include regime change’, the ‘we’ she’s referring to is the US, not the UN. This is confirmed by the fact that Goodman goes on to say that it ‘…was a mistake for Obama to rule out this option at the beginning’, as though it was up to Obama to rule in or out when, in fact, it was a UN decision. Indeed, being true to form that the neocons usually are, Goodman doesn’t even mention the UN; she ignores it entirely. Even America’s allies don’t get a mention. They, the UN and America’s allies, might just as well not exist as far as the neocons are concerned.