Finding Lessons in Gaza’s Bloodshed by Ramzy Baroud

Finding Lessons in Gaza’s Bloodshed

by Ramzy Baroud
Global Research, June 30, 2007

The Hamas-Fatah clash that has culminated into a mini-civil war in recent weeks is both old and new, and while some of its elements are uniquely Palestinian, much of it was manufactured at the behest of US-Israeli intelligence and governments.

The tensions between Fatah and Hamas are decades old. Fatah has – since the late 1960s until today – claimed a superior, if not exclusive, position at the helm of Palestinian politics. At times there seemed little margin for any other organization – be it secular, socialist or religious – to share a platform with Yasser Arafat’s movement.

Throughout the years, Fatah ensured the relevance of Palestinians to their own struggle. It’s important, therefore, that Fatah is not seen as one monolithic body. Fatah security chief Mohammed Dahlan and the likes have tainted the reputation of Fatah forever, but the movement and its decades-long struggle must not be reduced to these individuals. With Fatah through its hegemony within the Palestine Liberation Organization being the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” for so many years, Hamas’ rise was never accepted as part of the fold.

The second Palestinian uprising of 2000 can be seen as a revolt against Israel and its occupation, but also against those who did its bidding among Palestinians – the shameful legion of Palestinians whose wealth grew to unprecedented levels as the great majority were steeped further in poverty.

Such shamelessness fostered support for Hamas among ordinary Palestinians, and in January 2006, Hamas swept the polls, to its own surprise and the surprise of many. The elites and wealthy few had espoused a society that was governed by brutality, nepotism and favoritism and was unabashedly managed with the help of Israel. Hamas was the only serious alternative: its anti-corruption record and the tough fight it displayed against Israel made it deserving of the responsibility from the ordinary Palestinian’s point of view.

Though Palestinians were ready to give Hamas a chance, the US government, Israel, various Arab regimes and Fatah were not. The latest weeks in Gaza, the tragedy of killings and brutality there, all attest to the lengths the US and Israel are willing to take to keep Hamas at bay.

What took place in Gaza was tragic, but the question remains. Considering the circumstances at the time, did Hamas and Fatah have other options that could have allowed them to achieve their objectives peacefully?

I think there was enough determination on both sides to prevent a civil war at any cost, thus the agreement in Mecca. However, US officials entrusted with ensuring the failure and collapse of the unity government and the utter corruption among Fatah’s self-serving security circles made good intentions simply extraneous.

The violence was heartbreaking, especially when one read the details: people getting thrown from the top of high buildings and summary executions. Palestinians were caught in many violent episodes in the past, but this one is most tragic, for it took place under the watchful eye of Israel, which mercilessly continued to kill Palestinians, young and old at the same time that Palestinians were killing one another.

Now that the tragedy has occurred, one can only hope that common sense and sanity will return and for Palestinians to rediscover, once more, that they are still an occupied nation that has no meaningful political sovereignty.

Unfortunately, the US government and Israel remain most relevant in determining the course of action in Palestine, and naturally, they continue to infuse much harm. Israel is now scheduled to hand back the money it stole from the Palestinians in the form of taxes collected on their behalf to Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, while declaring it intends to tighten the siege on the already besieged and utterly poor Gaza.

Even personal money transfers, Western Union and the like, will be halted to ensure the total suffocation of Gaza. The US will pumping tens of millions of dollars into hand Abbas’ hands, and Fatah’s warlords – rampaging against Hamas institutions in the West Bank – will also receive more than their fair share of money and weapons. It is quite simple to understand the underlying intents of this generosity after a year and a half of embargo, or to picture the horrible scenario that will result from an empowered, corrupt and vengeful regime.

Israel is committing itself to ensure that the friction among Palestinians will destroy their national project in the West Bank as well. Fatah will now be allowed to do what Israel has failed to do over six decades of occupation.

Despite the painful nature of this conflict, one can only hope that some valuable lessons can be gleaned from all of this, not just by Palestinians alone, but by others who endure along with them the meddling of superpowers and whose democracy is a constant target.

First, Gaza has exposed, like no other experience in modern history, the hypocrisy of the US government’s democracy charade; if it was true democracy that the United States was seeking, it would have acknowledged the Palestinian people’s collective will and fostered dialogue with their representatives, as opposed to starvation and blockade and covert operations to topple the government.

Second, corruption, although temporarily rewarding, is never lasting, and the people, although forgiving and patient at times, have the ability to withstand pressure, to prevail and force change, even if violently.

Third, proxy politics is most harmful, in Palestine and elsewhere.

Palestinian leaders must learn that selling one’s political will to foreign polities for the sake of money, power or political substantiation is unforgivable in the eyes of ordinary Palestinians. After all, it’s those “ordinary” people who have stood up and confronted the awesome powers of Israel, the US and the corruption and brutality of some of their own for many decades. They will continue to do so no matter how high the price may be. Freedom for Palestinians is more precious than bread, no matter how irrational this may sound.

Gaza might have descended into chaos for a few weeks or months, but so also has the US agenda championed by the remnants of the neo-conservative clique in the administration of President George W Bush, which stubbornly fails to operate outside the parameters of the doctrine of violence, secrecy, conspiracies and military coups.

They refuse to knowledge that it is not weapons that Palestinians want. It is simply freedom.

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American author and editor of; his latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London).

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Give us what we deserve by Mike Palecek (28)

Give us what we deserve

June 27, 2007
by Mike Palecek
Writers often have a person in mind when they write.

I don’t know how that happens or how we choose that person. But I think we imagine that person liking a particular sentence, or not liking, and hoping to please.

I think we also start out imagining things like being famous, like Hemmingway, or about one million writers in The Large Book Of Hot-Shot Writers that has everybody in it but us.

The other day someone posted a comment on one of my articles on Op-Ed News.

Nothing to add to try and further your line of thought.

I just want you to know that I am reading your articles and I enjoy them and your perspective very much.

It seemed important for me to simply tell you.

Tell you Thank You.

Please keep up the good work and the great articles.

A Fan

That’s all the thanks I get?

You know, you really do imagine yourself writing for “the masses” – for a whole bunch of people. But for a whole bunch of us, that just isn’t going to happen. And it’s an awful lot of work, years and years, to have put into this and not have a whole bunch of people reading what we wrote.

But I was thinking, what is wrong with having spent all that time for one person to have enjoyed it.

Nothing is wrong with it. Everything is right with it.

Just imagine someone dusting off your old paperback, “How Brown Was My Rhubarb,” and taking it off to a corner of the library and spending the afternoon lost in this world you have created – just as you had imagined when you spent a whole fall, winter, spring and summer sweating and swearing and worrying and lovingly piecing this 100,000 piece puzzle together.

I’d say that’s more than a plenty.


Recently I asked a friend in Des Moines to send out a note about my books to his list of contacts around the state.

I appreciated that he did that, but I had to notice what he included in his synopsis of who I am.

He said that I was a friend of the Des Moines Catholic Worker “despite my run for Congress.”

I think that is hilarious.

It’s just like someone from the left. I do it myself all the time. I applaud that person’s work with lepers and shutting down the private prison industry. He gets my praise despite his evil love of arena football.

I know the Catholic Worker movement frowns on organized politics and voting and all.

But I remember as I was driving around the state back in 2000, sweating in my little car, trying to talk to mostly conservative folks about prisons, and the military and immigrants – well, I already knew my old friends in the peace movement didn’t think much of my running for office.

But I also had to smile to myself – I was out working on my own so I was the only one there – that one reason there was nobody out there with me was because it is just a tremendous amount of work and it’s much easier to say it doesn’t matter.


Mike Palecek



By Carolyn Baker
June 29, 2007

In early 2005 in anticipation of my sixtieth birthday, I began working on an autobiography. Certainly, I reasoned, now entering my sixth decade, I should be putting in ink my reflections on life as I officially become a senior citizen. Following the publication of three books and countless articles, it seemed that my “memoirs” was the very next step.

Little did I realize that in the fall of 2006, just a few weeks after the release of my third book U.S. HISTORY UNCENSORED, a bombshell breaking news story that would hit a pivotal nerve in my own personal history would compel me to integrate the almost-finished memoirs with commentary on the story, not merely from my intellect but from my personal life experience. That news item was the revelation that fundamentalist Christian icon, Pastor Ted Haggard of the New Life Church of Colorado Springs, Colorado, ostensibly rabidly homophobic, had been involved for three years in a sexual relationship with another man.

Memoirs just lying around, serving no purpose except navel-gazing, are easily ignored and postponed for “some other day.” But when one’s autobiography so eerily parallels breaking news on CNN, one should consider taking it out, dusting it off, and disclosing to the world that human beings do not have to live a lie in order to follow the calling of their hearts in pursuit of the sacred.

Every day of Ted Haggard’s exposure in the news, I watched, listened, and read obsessively, and as the reader explores this book, he/she will soon understand why. Ted Haggard’s story is in so many ways, my story, but with one colossal difference: At the age of twenty-six, I realized that I was not willing to a live a lie for the rest of my life and came out as a lesbian to myself and to the world. Had I not made that decision, I might have perpetrated almost exactly the same excruciating deception on loved ones, colleagues, and admirers as he did.

Thus, I set to work on the completing of my new book which will be released in about two weeks, Coming Out Of Fundamentalist Christianity: An Autobiography Affirming Sensuality, Social Justice, and The Sacred. In the Appendix section of this book the reader will find my November, 2006 article “Ted Haggard And Fundamentalist Christian Soul-Murder” that was posted on a number of Internet sites, including my own. It ultimately set in motion the completion of my autobiography.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Carolyn Baker

Castro among many on list By ERIC MARGOLIS

Sun, July 1, 2007

Castro among many on list

The CIA’s release last week of top secret files detailing its illegal activities from the 1960s to the 1970s offered few surprises.

The agency’s plans to assassinate foreign leaders like Fidel Castro and Vietnam’s president Diem, its spying on Americans, and its often amateurish cloak-and-dagger operations are by now well known.

Unfortunately, many other secret operations that violated U.S. law — an attempt to kill Egypt’s president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, or waging war in Indonesia — remain classified. Former CIA directors, Adm. Stansfield Turner and Dr. James Schlesinger, both told me that they had wanted to reveal far more information about the CIA than has so far come out, but were not able.

Revelations of the CIA’s “family jewels,” as these agency malefactions are known, certainly bring me lots of Cold War nostalgia.

Americans, however, are asking how these past CIA illegalities compare to today’s violations of the Constitution and federal laws by U.S. security agencies. The answer: Today’s violations are far more serious and widespread, though their justification, the alleged threat to national security by “terrorists,” is tiny compared to the Soviet nuclear threat in Cold War days.

U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney engineered the Iraq war, urges attacks on Iran and Syria, and has championed domestic surveillance programs. He sees Americasurrounded and infiltrated by enemies.

Grand master

In this regard, Cheney bears a remarkable resemblance to the fabled Cold Warrior, and grand master of U.S. intelligence, James Jesus Angleton.

Angleton rose through U.S. wartime intelligence to become director of CIA’s powerful counter-intelligence division. He was extremely close to the senior British MI6 intelligence officer, Kim Philby, who fed the doting Angleton a steady stream of disinformation.

When Philby was unmasked as a Soviet KGB agent, something snapped in Angleton’s brain — just as the 9/11 attacks or heart problems appear to have transformed Dick Cheney from a capable but colourless senior bureaucrat into an ardent militarist and sword-bearer of America’s far right.

By the late 1960s, the brilliant, eccentric, Angleton, who loved poetry, orchids, and puzzle solving, turned into a roaring paranoid. He believed genuine Soviet defectors were KGB plants, and KGB plants legitimate defectors. He also become an active “asset” or at least very close ally of Israel’s Mossad, and a champion of Israel’s cause in Washington.

On orders of President Lyndon Johnson, Angleton unleashed notorious operation “CHAOS” that conducted illegal surveillance of anti-war and civil rights groups. He accused the FBI of being infested by Soviet moles and blocked CIA-FBI co-operation.

By the ’70s, Angleton was seeing enemy spies everywhere. He suspected Henry Kissinger, and accused Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau of being Soviet agents. He claimed Britain’s PM Harold Wilson, Sweden’s PM Olof Palme and Germany’s chancellor Willy Brandt were Soviet agents.

Angleton’s galloping paranoia caused him to believe the CIA was filled with Soviet moles. Similarly, Cheney concluded today’s CIA is unreliable, filled with “defeatists” and “Arabists,” and cannot be trusted with national security. Cheney and old ally Don Rumsfeld created two “special” intelligence offices in the Pentagon designed to bypass the CIA and feed the White House and Congress bogus reports justifying invading Iraq and waging the so-called “war on terrorism.”

Angleton created his own internal intelligence unit with the agency that spied on its co-workers and fed his growing dementia. Agency morale collapsed. This period of fierce mutual suspicions, snooping, double or triple agents, and ruined careers became aptly know as “a wilderness of mirrors.”

Soviet attack

Angleton, a hero of America’s hard right, kept warning the White House the Soviets were about to attack. In 1974, a mentally unstable Angleton was forced to retire, having nearly wrecked the CIA and severely damaged relations with key U.S. allies. Ironically, three decades later, senior CIA and FBI agents Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were unmasked as KGB moles.

Now, official Washington is worrying deeply about how to retire the equally paranoid figure of VP Cheney, who, like Angleton, has lost touch with reality in a wilderness of mirrors.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.