Shame On Joe Scarborough, MSM & Obama Parts 2 & 3

Dandelion Salad

Just a reminder: Disclaimer:
The views and/or opinions posted on all the blog posts and in the comment sections are of the respective authors, not necessarily those of Dandelion Salad.

I don’t believe in any acts of violence, period. ~ Lo



The American people don’t deserve to be manipulated and lied to.
Al-Qaeda : The True Story of Radical Islam

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Barack Obama’s pastor Wright’s Sermon (video)

Shame On Joe Scarborough, MSM & Obama Part 1

Hope, Change, and Pissing in the Wind By Patrice Greanville & Jason Miller

Obama on Race in America + A More Perfect Union (videos + transcript)

Olbermann: Obama’s Race Speech + The Audacity of Unity + Love, American Style + Worst + Bushed!


Olbermann: Obama’s Passport Breach + Clinton Campaign Connection?

Dandelion Salad

More here: Olbermann: More on Obama Passport Story + The LIES that BIND!


March 20, 2008

2 State Dept Employees Fired 4 Accessing Obama’s Passport

Clinton Campaign Connection to Fired State Dept Employees!


Obama’s passport records improperly accessed h/t: CLG

Barack Obama’s pastor Wright’s Sermon (video)

Shame On Joe Scarborough, MSM & Obama Parts 2 & 3


AP president: US arrests journalist in Iraq to ‘control’ information

Dandelion Salad

by David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Raw Story
Wednesday March 19, 2008

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Breaking News and Commentary from Citizens For Legitimate Government
20 Mar 2008
Iraqi journalists forced into exile 19 Mar 2008 Hundreds of Iraqi journalists have been forced into exile since the war started five years ago, Reporters without Borders announced in a report released Wednesday. Most fled to Jordan or Syria after receiving threats or surviving murder attempts, according to the Paris-based advocacy group. The report found that Iraqi journalists face the unique danger of being targeted by multiple groups — Sunni and Shiite militias, ’al-Qaida’ in Iraq, the [US-funded] police and other authorities and U.S.-led forces.

h/t: CLG


It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

Backyard answer to energy crisis

Dandelion Salad

by Fran Molloy
March 19, 2008

A return to 1950s suburbia may be the answer to our needs in a low-energy future, writes Fran Molloy.

With crude oil now more than $US110 a barrel and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries announcing this month that it will not succumb to demands for raised production quotas, dark predictions of an imminent descent into a global energy crisis appear to be coming true.

Continue reading

‘We live in a nightmare. Death and carnage is everywhere’ Ali, Baghdad resident

Dandelion Salad

by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Baghdad
Thursday March 20 2008

In most cities of the world a person might expect to be feted for surviving a single bomb attack. In Baghdad, survival stories can be found on every street corner.

Ali is a painter and a student at the academy of art in north Baghdad. A few years ago he moved to the Baghdad suburb of Karrada, where many artists live because of its art market.

When I meet him, Ali is limping slightly. A white bandage protrudes from the sleeve of his striped jumper, and he frequently drops his left shoulder so that his arm rests on his thigh. These are the only outward signs of the injuries he sustained in the previous week.

In a shy, soft voice Ali tells me how he had been standing with a friend in Karrada when a bomb went off at the side of the road. “I heard an explosion very close by,” he says. “I saw smoke and chaos and people screaming. I saw my friend Hassan, who was running and carrying a child who had lost an arm. I saw a nice-looking girl – the Karrada girls, you know how beautiful they are. She was dead. And I saw a girl who had only one eye.

“I couldn’t bear it,” he tells me. “I started to scream and cry.”


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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

‘My wife said I had to stop the jihad. I divorced her. Fighting was my duty’

Baghdad: City of walls + Death, destruction & fear + Shabby, tired & scared

A New President Should Seize Control of the U.S. Monetary System by Richard C. Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, March 20, 2008

The reaction of the mainstream press to the ongoing financial crisis has been staggeringly timid. For instance, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, while wondering whether the Federal Reserve may prove to be “insufficient to the challenge” (while it is “pumping all-but-unlimited amounts of all-but-free money into the financial system to keep it operating”) still writes that the Fed has been “bold and innovative” in its approach.

Excuse me, but didn’t the Federal Reserve under Chairman Alan Greenspan contribute in a big way to causing the crisis through its interest rate policies and lax regulation in bringing on the housing bubble that triggered the disaster in the first place?

The same dumber-than-dumb attitude goes for the politicians. Of course we don’t expect anything more from President George W. Bush and his new Mini-Me nominee-designate John McCain who are elevating denial to the status of an advanced art form.

But how about presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama or the Democratic congressional leadership?

Granted Hillary Clinton and her speechwriters have done a marvelous job of describing the pain of ordinary citizens faced with job loss, rising gas prices, lack of health insurance, and foreclosure of their homes. But her proposal to freeze foreclosures for 90 days and subprime mortgage rates for five years would address only the worst of the symptoms. Barack Obama wouldn’t even go that far. He says Clinton’s suggestion would unfairly drive up interest rates for everyone else.

And how about their approach to the Federal Reserve? Clinton says she has “spoken about” the Fed’s actions with Chairman Ben Bernanke and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Timothy Geithner. Wow. I’m impressed. Obama has yet to say he has done even that.

Meanwhile, what passes for radical action in Congress is a bill backed by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) to allow the Federal Housing Administration to back mortgages held by “distressed borrowers.”

But what more can Congress do, we might ask? Isn’t all this really a matter for the alleged experts who understand far more about what makes the financial world tick than the mere mortals who work for a living and those who supposedly represent them in our republican system of government?

Well, let me point out that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress authority over our monetary system. True, in 1913, Congress ceded its monetary authority to the private financial industry through the Federal Reserve Act. You will recall that this egregiously flawed legislation gives the president the authority to name the Fed’s chairman but grants its member banks actual ownership of the system.

So let me suggest that it’s time for our elected representatives to take that authority back. The only truly effective course of action at the start of what is clearly the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression would be for the government to abolish the whole system of debt-based currency over which the Fed presides and which is today destroying our country.

What should be done is that the president of the United States should act upon his authority to faithfully execute the laws by working with Congress to seize control of the U.S. monetary system and operate it on behalf of “We the People.” This is what Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Democratic leadership of Congress should be advocating. It’s what a new president should do immediately upon taking the oath of office on January 21, 2009.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Richard C. Cook, Global Research, 2008
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Outside the Box Bullhorns the Fox (video; NAU)

Dandelion Salad


Alex Ansary makes some noise outside a concert hall in Portland, Oregon where Vincente Fox spoke on March 19th, 2008. The former President of Mexico signed the SPP agreement with George Bush, and Paul Martin in 2005 in Waco Texas. Alex addressed the collapsing economy and how the elite are seeking to use this financial crisis to gradually move us into a North American Union. During a time when the nation’s currency is collapsing, the most effective solution to avoiding a food shortage is to begin to grow more food locally so we are better prepared when the dollar is fully destroyed.

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Future of North America by Andrew G. Marshall

Mosaic News 3/19/08 – World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad


This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


“Fifth Anniversary of the War on Iraq,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Iraqis Have Mixed Reactions,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Mosul is the Next Battle Field,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Looking Back at the Early Days of the War,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Iraqi Refugees in Egypt,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Students Strike at Baghdad University,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
“Police Chief Criticizes Response to Attack on Seminary,” IBA TV, Israel
“Mothers Mourn Their Children at School,” Al Aqsa, Gaza
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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Hope, Change, and Pissing in the Wind By Patrice Greanville & Jason Miller

Dandelion Salad

By Patrice Greanville and Jason Miller
Thomas Paine’s Corner

“Of Obama, Democrats, and the Power Elite”

CHARISMATIC, ARTICULATE, SMOOTH, AND INTELLIGENT, Barrack Obama is the living embodiment of his vague, ethereal, and tantalizing messages of “hope” and “change.” To the millions upon millions of US Americans desperate to purge the naked imperialism and blatant criminality of the Bush administration from the White House, Obama IS hope and change. Yet like many establishment liberals before him, Obama is no cure for the malignant creep toward fascism plaguing our nation. If elected, at best he will merely serve to postpone the inevitable a bit.

To understand why Obama and the ilk he took with him to DC would be little or no better than the human excrement currently occupying the tangible, visible positions of power in the US, let’s examine various facets of Obama(1) and of our rotten-to-the-core sociopolitical and socioeconomic systems.

Issue one is that Obama or no Obama, we are still stuck with a bourgeois democracy. Which means that despite all the rhetoric and mythologies about equality, freedom, meritocracy, opportunity, and a host of other lies that placate the masses and maintain the social order, the United States is a nation of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

Even if we suspend our critique of Obama for a moment and pretend he is a man of saintly virtue, trusting an Obama or a JFK or whomever to do the right thing by the nation, the environment, the people, etc. rests on the assumption that the American president is indeed an all-powerful figure capable of enacting or precipitating policies of tremendous consequence for the country. This illusion holds when the person in the executive office is moving within the traditional confines, values and methods of the capitalist system, which even such a “radical” as FDR observed. In such a case, the media would not align and uniformly attack him and there would not be a capital strike (as savage capitalism has waged against true left reformers like Allende); we’d just see a sectoral division within the ruling class, and factions would develop—but the policy dialogue would remain within the historically acceptable parameters of capitalists elites. Their principal interest would be to maintain and preserve as many of their privileges and as much of their way of life as possible. That was fine for FDR’s time.

However, let’s look at the larger picture we traverse today.

In the current circumstances we face, we see a rapidly degenerating empire, in which the logical evisceration of FORMAL aspects of democracy proceeds accordingly. The prospect is for endless wars, more super-exploitation of the planet, and so on. If any “remedial” policies are implemented against judicial abuse, planetary death, or human/non-human animal exploitation in various contexts, these cannot take hold and neutralize the overarching slide toward worse because “toward worse” is embedded in the dynamics of the system—and how could it be otherwise in a socioeconomic structure premised on greed and selfishness? There are systemic contradictions at play that almost force the hand of capitalists to do what they do–for example they are now trying to roll back the social democratic gains of the European working class during the postwar period. Merkel, Brown, Berlusconi, and Sarkozy are no accidents. They represent the concerted effort of the European bourgeoisie, egged on by the American elites(2), to push back on the working class and take it all back under the pretext of “remaining competitive” and a plethora of other fraudulent reasons.

Capitalism faces insoluble issues. As the world’s population continues to grow, it cannot hope to cure unemployment—ever– because the dynamic of modern capitalist industry is toward ever larger portions of machine labor replacing human labor. Neither science nor technology can be stopped. And advancing technology naturally makes work production routines continuously more efficient, thereby reducing the need for human workers. This phenomenon can be seen nearly everywhere now (it was always there lurking right under the surface, but remained hidden from most via cultivated ignorance, lies, and the complicity of the media) including in “cheap labor” zones such as India and China, which at last count had more than 150 million unemployed. In many places in Europe one paycheck has to be spread among 2 or even 3 “employed” workers. That means that 2 jobs have vanished and the fiction of smaller unemployment is kept alive by musical chairs, a trick which is becoming increasingly transparent to many.

The American people, in keeping with their reputation as the most misinformed people on the planet, have been the slowest to recognize that as citizens of a clearly fibrillating bourgeois democracy they are perpetually teetering on the brink of fascism. Meanwhile, while the world edges ever closer to the edge, the media–including those revered phonies on the PBS Lehrer Newshour—rarely talk about these things and the politicians even less (both out of sheer ignorance and a sense that such topics are taboo), which enables the cancer to grow unchecked. What we do receive are fictions like those of Robert Reich and his ilk, who go about preaching the pseudocure of “better education” and job retraining for technological unemployment. Reich–a terrifically intelligent fellow—may really believe his own message, but either way, it doesn’t matter because the solution is no solution. This is not to say that under any and all circumstances it’s not better to be educated. However the structural aspects of a capitalist economy at this point make that posture moot: all the titles in the world will not get you a job when the economy says it needs only 5 PhDs and 10 skilled technicians while there are 25,000 PhDs and 15 million technicians clamoring for jobs. (Check out Jeremy Rifkin’s THE END OF WORK, to get a taste of what this is all about).

Those who bank on stopping the slide to fascism through a liberal president are deluding themselves, because the American president is powerful ONLY when he’s playing with the consent of most of the ruling class and the institutions it controls. Such personal power deflates rapidly when playing against the values and consensus of the US power elite, at which point a “rogue president” would likely suffer a wave of opposition that would literally bring them down–via impeachment or through a coup orchestrated during a state of tumult created by capital strikes, agents provocateurs, and the media. Not to mention even a military takeover.

Further, we must recall that the slide to fascism is both a witting and unwitting choice by the bourgeoisie in power. The very essence of capitalism is anarchy: anarchy in production, anarchy in distribution and so on. Military precision may rule the day within each business entity, but from the larger societal perspective there is little coordination, only the selfish pursuits of the companies in play. Hence the horrific duplication and waste we see. For example, in the health care sector up to 1/3 of costs are squandered on paper-shuffling. None of this is likely to change until one deals with the fatal flaws of capitalism, which an Obama is about as likely to do as a lion is to go vegetarian.

Remember that FDR’s reforms (FDR representing the classic example of the “savior” liberal president), radical as they seem now (and denounced at the time by many fellow capitalists as sheer communism and rank “class betrayal”) were never such; they were just realistic measures to save the store that remained at all times totally respectful of the rights of private big business property. Thus FDR never really went deep into the question of workplace democracy, production choices, income distribution, or many other issues that would have meant a true clash of class interests. And the War of course obscured all that. Sure, FDR entered the war against the Axis, and MOMENTARILY a segment of official propaganda shifted to demonize the Germans and Japanese insteads of the “Reds”, but those were not so much antifascist/anti-imperialist sentiments as nationalist power calculations.

The above means that if the ruling cliques deem it necessary to take the “nice mask” of democracy off (a big gamble since they may never restore the “legitimacy” they retain through this ruse), it will happen, no matter who’s nominally in charge at the White House. In the case of the Bush/Cheney duo, they were born to stage the perfect friendly fascist coup and have almost pulled it off in slow motion over the last eight years. But if confronted with a less cooperative president, the power elite would find a way to neutralize him. We’re dealing with a huge cast of actors here, many with colossal stakes, and who have enormous resources at their disposal to create all sorts of mischief, which they have done at taxpayer expense all over the world for years. These criminals will not give up their accustomed ways without a fight. In fact, they will do as Bush/Cheney have done and go on the offensive in a nearly transparent way.

What the world needs—desperately (and we are using this word sans hyperbole here) are dramatic changes in policies and top personnel and new models of advanced democratic enfranchisement. That means real democratic restructuring, proportional representation, certifiable elections, workplace democracy, a disenfranchisement of the power and income rights of the reigning plutocracy, and an effective global program of ecological respect and sanity. Do you see that being initiated under ANY establishment politico, including “Mr. Change” himself? Do you see any of these radical (yet utterly necessary) changes being implemented without a HUGE fight from capital and its affiliated elites around the globe?

Even if, and that is a big if, Obama wanted to institute beneficent change, he would be facing impossible odds. Need proof? Consider one of the ugliest and most absurd contradictions of American capitalism. Despite frontpage acknowledgment by the crypto-fascist WSJ in 1973 that 68% of US Americans supported a universal, single-payer healthcare system, the fact that even fellow capitalist nations have such a system, and the reality that our existing health care system is ruining many capitalists in the US (especially those in the small and middle sectors but even making corporate giants like GM uncompetitive), the health of the masses remains tertiary to the profits of health-care industry giants and to the availability of the gold standard in health care to a relative few. Think Obama and his family don’t have the best medical care known to man?

The American people must de-link themselves from our farcical presidential election circus, turn their eyes to a different kind of electoral politics, develop and field new forms of oppositional struggle, and create mass mobilization instruments such as a real popular party. In all these tasks, the Democrats like Obama just stand in the way, beguiling the people with illusions and sucking up precious oxygen. That long journey has to be made, and the sooner the better. Trying to avoid the arrival of fascism by appealing to the “good cop” of the bourgeoisie is an illusion; fascism can only be stopped when the masses are organized—and fully aware.

Some think we gain time for such organization under the Democrats. Problem is, the Democrats and their half measures that appear to thwart the capitalist juggernaut are what keeps the masses enthralled with the system and in effect dissuade them from joining the struggle against it. The public will not do what needs to be done until professional and charismatic charlatans like Obama are revealed for what they are. Band-aid solutions by the Democrats will not stop the slide toward the disaster and chaos guaranteed by the dynamics of the system.

Simply look at what has happened with the subprime crisis, an abortion that wriggled and writhed its way directly from the foul womb of a freewheeling, mature, ultra-cynical crony capitalism. It was a deep-rooted phenomenon that happened as inevitably as the transformation of undifferentiated cells into cancers. Politicians could not see it or stop it because that’s not their job under the traditional task distribution of the system.

Obama or anyone else in the establishment can’t cure the myriad ills of capitalism. These ills can never be cured from within or through playing by the accepted rules of the world’s plutocracy. That’s why all American politicians are into tinkering and superficialities. Their programs and “solutions” to the most glaring and obvious aspects of a severely broken system are complex, almost ludicrous Rube Goldberg contraptions (the health system comes to mind yet again). Obama and his fellow liberals are incredible illusionists: they give the people the distinct impression they are acting to cure the very disease that provides the life-blood to the opulent class whose interests they strive so hard to preserve. This would be obvious to most US Americans and the WaPo, the WSJ, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, the NY Times and even the CIA headquarters would have been stoned and razed to the ground already if so many of us were not braindead and kept in that vegetative state by the corporate media, an entity that more aware Latin Americans justly call, the “falsimedia.”

So if Obama–let alone Hillary–won’t and can’t guarantee the defeat of friendly-fascism in America, what’s the point? Sure, Obama very intelligently trades on HOPE. And many people, us included, are always loath to give up on hope. Hope is a powerful drug. Cyrano is in itself a work of HOPE. So this is tricky territory.

But hope must always be tempered with reason, especially in politics and war. And no reasonable human being could conclude that putting Obama at the helm of the USS Titanic will avert disaster for anyone but him and his cronies in the first class berths.

Suddenly Ralph Nader doesn’t sound like such a ridiculous option, unless you’re a plutocrat or a corporado.

Patrice Greanville is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s founder and editor in chief. Jason Miller is CJO’s Associate Editor and Editorial Director of Thomas Paine’s Corner, Cyrano’s largest blog.

Further Reading:

(1) Check out radical historian and activist Paul Street’s thorough deconstruction of Obama at:

(2) For a penetrating analysis of the power structure of our bourgeois democracy, take a look at this excerpt from C Wright Mills’s “Power Elite:”

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Nader: A Revolution (video)

Country of Laws by Ralph Nader



British Sea Power: No Lucifer + BSP at The Culture Show (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Noble (British Sea Power)

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Note: replaced first video June 22, 2015

British Sea Power: No Lucifer

costas2by4 on Jan 18, 2011

From the new album, “Do You Like Rock Music?”, British Sea Power performed “No Lucifer.” On the Letterman Show 3/13/08.

Continue reading

Cheney Ex-Aide ‘Scooter’ Libby Disbarred

Dandelion Salad

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 20, 2008; 11:59 AM

Vice President’s Former Chief of Staff Convicted of Lying to Investigators in Plame Case

Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was disbarred today by a District of Columbia court that ruled that his convictions last year for perjury and obstructing justice in a White House leak investigation disqualify him from practicing law.

Under the ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals, Libby will lose his license to practice or appear in court in Washington until at least 2012. As is standard custom, he also would lose any bar membership he might hold in any other states.


h/t: CLG


Former Cheney Aide Libby Disbarred

h/t: CLG

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


CIA Leak Case

CIA Leak/Plame Case

War Resisters Block IRS HQ, 31 arrested

Dandelion Salad

After Downing Street
March 19, 2008

Thirty-one people were arrested this morning as they staged a nonviolent blockade at the national headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC. The protesters had placed yellow police tape saying “WAR CRIME SCENE” across the entrance to the building.

Continue reading

“Democratic Imperialism”: Tibet, China & the National Endowment for Democracy (2007)

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Barker
Global Research, August 13, 2007

People familiar with Asian history will be aware that during Tibet’s popular uprising against their Chinese occupiers in 1959, his Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (then aged 23), escaped from his homeland of Tibet to live in exile in India. Subsequently, the Dalai Lama formed a Tibetan government-in-exile, and to this day the Dalai Lama and his government remain in exile. The Dalai Lama’s tireless efforts to draw international attention to the Tibetan cause received a welcome boost in 1989 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and since then the Dalai Lama has been able to demand sustained media attention (globally) to his ongoing non-violent struggle for a free Tibet. This part of Tibetan history is fairly uncontroversial, but a part of Tibet’s story that less people will be familiar with is Tibet’s historical links to the US’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Indeed, as Carole McGranahan (2006) notes “[t]he case of Tibet presents a mostly unexplored example of covert Cold War military intervention.”[1]

While in recent years far more information has been made available concerning the CIA’s violent linkages with Tibetan forces, to date only one article has examined the connection between Tibet’s current independence campaigners and an organization that maintains close ties with the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

A Brief History of CIA-Tibetan Relations

In 1951, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army entered Lhasa (Tibet’s capital) and proceeded to force the Dalai Lama’s government to sign a “Plan for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet”, which effectively ratified the Chinese occupation of Tibet. This action combined with the ensuing Chinese repression of Tibetan activists subsequently inspired a popular revolution, which owing to its anticommunist orientation drew upon strong support from the CIA.[2] As Jim Mann (1999) notes, “during the 1950s and 60s, the CIA actively backed the Tibetan cause with arms, military training, money, air support and all sorts of other help.”[3] Furthermore, as Michael Parenti (2004) has observed at the same time:

“… in the United States, the American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA front, energetically publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance, with the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubtan Norbu, playing an active role in that group. The Dalai Lama’s second-eldest brother, Gyalo Thondup, established an intelligence operation with the CIA in 1951 [although CIA aid was only formally established in 1956]. He later upgraded it into a CIA-trained guerrilla unit whose recruits parachuted back into Tibet.”[4]

Indeed, according to formerly secret US intelligence documents (released in the late 1990s), it turned out that “[f]or much of the 1960s, the CIA provided the Tibetan exile movement with $1.7 million a year for operations against China, including an annual subsidy of $180,000 for the Dalai Lama”.[5] By 1969, however, it appears that covert support for the Tibetan cause had either served its geopolitical purpose (or it was decided that these operations were simply no longer effective), and the CIA announced the withdrawal of its aid for the Tibetan revolutionaries. That said, support for the Tibetan freedom fighters was still provided by the Indian and Taiwanese governments “until 1974, two years after President Richard Nixon normalized U.S. relations with China” (as were the U.S. subsidies for the Dalai Lama, which also continued until 1974): however, thereafter – especially once the Dalai Lama urged the fighters to put down their weapons – the violent resistance collapsed and the “CIA quietly paid to resettle the survivors”.[6] With the apparent end of CIA operations in Tibet, John Kraus (2003) observes that although:

“…President Ford ended the U.S. government’s involvement with Tibet as part of its Cold War strategy. The next phase of the U.S. relationship with the Dalai Lama and his people was to be cast in terms of a contest between human rights and political engagement with China.”[7]

Thus Kraus adds that in 1979 the Dalai Lama was “finally granted a visa by President Jimmy Carter… to visit the United States” and the “Tibetan cause then found new sponsors in a bipartisan group of senators, members of Congress, and congressional staff assistants who worked with the Dalai Lama’s entourage to focus the attention of successive U.S. administrations and a responsive world community on the Tibet situation”. As this article will demonstrate, a large part of this freedom work is presently being actively supported by the NED, so the following section will now examine this organization and it anti-democratic history.

The National Endowment for Democracy: Revisiting the CIA Connection

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was established in 1984 with bipartisan support during President Reagan’s administration to “foster the infrastructure of democracy – the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities” around the world.[8] Considering Reagan’s well documented misunderstanding of what constitutes democratic governance,[9] it is fitting that Allen Weinstein, the NEDs first acting president, observed that in fact “A lot of what we [the NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”.[10] So for example, it is not surprising that during the 1990 elections in Nicaragua it is has been estimated that “for every dollar of NED or AID funding there were several dollars of CIA funding”.[11]

By building upon the pioneering work of liberal philanthropists (like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations’) – who have a long history of co-opting progressive social movements – it appears that the NED was envisaged by US foreign policy elites to be a more suitable way to provide strategic funding to nongovernmental organizations than via covert CIA funding.[12] Indeed, the NED’s ‘new’ emphasis on overt funding of geostrategically useful groups, as opposed to the covert funding, appears to have leant an aura of respect to the NED’s work, and has enabled them, for the most part, to avoid much critical commentary in the mainstream media.

The seminal book exposing the NED’s ‘democratic’ modus operandi, is William I. Robinson’s (1996) Promoting Polyarchy, which as it’s title suggests, lays out the argument that instead of promoting more participatory forms of democracy, the NED actually works to promote polyarchy. Robinson argues that the NED’s active promotion of polyarchy or low-intensity democracy “is aimed not only at mitigating the social and political tensions produced by elite-based and undemocratic status quos, but also at suppressing popular and mass aspirations for more thoroughgoing democratisation of social life in the twenty-first century international order.” His book furnishes detailed examples of how the NED has successfully imposed polyarchal arrangements on four countries, Chile, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Haiti; while similarly, Barker (2006) has illustrated the NED’s anti-democratic involvement in facilitating and manipulating the ‘colour revolutions’ which recently swept across Eastern Europe. More recently, both Barker and Gerald Sussman (2006) have provided detailed examinations’ of how the NED works to promote a low intensity public sphere (globally) through its selective funding of media organizations.[13] This article will now extend these three initial studies by critically examining the NED’s support for Tibetan media projects from 1990 onwards.

‘Democacy Promoters’ and Tibet

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) was founded in 1988 and is a non-profit membership organization with offices in Washington, DC, Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels. Their website notes that they “fundamentally believe that there must be a political solution based on direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives and the People’s Republic of China.” ICT received their first NED grant (of the 1990s) in 1994 to:

“…enhance Chinese knowledge of Tibet by contributing articles about Tibet to newspapers and magazines within China and abroad; translating books about Tibet into Chinese; and facilitating a series of discussion meetings among key Chinese and Tibetan figures, focusing on bringing Chinese journalists and pro-democracy leaders together with Tibetan leaders in exile.”

Since then, the ICT has received regular support from the NED, obtaining subsequent grants in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 (all for media work except the 1997 grant). Like many groups that obtain NED aid, ICT are not afraid to boast of their ‘democratic’ connections, and in 2005 they even awarded one of their annual Light of Truth awards to the president of the NED, Carl Gershman. Furthermore, the year before (in 2004) ICT gave the same award to both Vaclav Havel (who had received the NED’s Democracy Award in 1991, and serves on the advisory board of the Project on Justice in Times of Transition), and also to one of the earliest ‘democracy promoting’ organizations, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. (For a summary of the key ‘democratic’ connections of the Project on Justice in Times of Transition and all the other groups mentioned in this article see, Barker (2007) Hijacking Human Rights: A Critical Examination of Human Rights Watch’s Americas Branch and their Links to the ‘Democracy’ Establishment. Due to this article’s heavy reliance on internet sources most links have been omitted from the paper, however, a fully referenced paper can be obtained from the author upon request.)

Some of ICT’s directors are also integral members of the ‘democracy promoting’ establishment, and include Bette Bao Lord (who is the chair of Freedom House, and a director of Freedom Forum),[14] Gare A. Smith (who has previously served as principal deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor), Julia Taft (who is a former director of the NED, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, has worked for USAID, and has also served as the President and CEO of InterAction), and finally, Mark Handelman (who is also a director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, an organization whose work is ideologically linked to the NED’s longstanding interventions in Haiti).[15] The ICT’s board of advisors also presents two individuals who are closely linked to the NED, Harry Wu, and Qiang Xiao (who is the former executive director of the NED-funded Human Rights in China).[16] Like their board of directors, ICT’s international council of advisors includes many ‘democratic’ notables like Vaclav Havel, Fang Lizhi (who in 1995 – at least – was a board member of Human Rights in China), Jose Ramos-Horta (who serves on the international advisory board for the Democracy Coalition Project), Kerry Kennedy (who is a director of the NED-funded China Information Center), Vytautas Landsbergis (who is an international patron of the British-based neoconservative Henry Jackson Society – see Clark, 2005), and until her recent death, the “mid-wife of the neocons” Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (who was also linked to ‘democratic’ groups like Freedom House and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies).[17]

Next up is the Tibet Fund, who first received NED aid in 1990 to “produce audio cassettes that will bring world and Tibetan news into rural communities in Tibet.” They then received continued NED support for this work in 1994 and 1996, whereupon the distribution of the audio tapes was extended to Tibetan exile communities in India and Nepal as well as those in Tibet. In 1996, the Tibet Fund also received NED aid on behalf of the Tibet Voice Project, “for an educational initiative based in Dharamsala, India, aimed at raising the social, political, economic and environmental awareness of Tibetans through audio-visual media.” The NED notes that:

“Particular emphasis will be given to speeches of the Dalai Lama on the topics of democracy and human rights. In Dharamsala, it will continue a series of lectures and films emphasizing social issues, politics, the economy and environment for new refugees and Tibetans in exile; and will organize grassroots level dialogues between Tibetans in exile and Indian youth to increase awareness and support for the Tibetan cause in India.”

The Tibet Fund’s work with the Tibet Voice Project was continued in 1998, and the Fund also received NED aid to run “an electronic media workshop for Tibetan journalists, and to introduce a bi-monthly Chinese language news magazine about Tibet.” Tenzing Choephel is the Tibetan scholarship program co-ordinator for the Tibet Fund, and it important to note that he previously helped “lay the foundation of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy [a group that was founded in 1996 and received NED funding in 1999], where he worked as an Office Administrator / English Researcher for three years in Dharamsala.” Finally it is interesting to observe that three people who are involved with the International Campaign for Tibet are linked to the Tibet fund, these are Lodi G. Gyari (who is the the executive chairman of the board of the ICT, and an emertius director of the Tibet Fund), Gehlek Rinpoche (who serves on ICT’s advisory board, and is a director of the Tibet Fund), and Tenzin N. Tethong (who serves on ICT’s advisory board, and is a founder and emeritus director of the Tibet Fund).

Another group that has received strong NED backing is the London-based Tibet Information Network (TIN), who between 1999 and 2004 received annual NED grants (excepting 2000) to “provide comprehensive, accurate information about political, social, and economic developments in Tibet to Tibetan audiences, the international community, human rights groups, and the media.” TIN was cofounded in 1987 by Nicholas Howen (who is now the secretary general of the International Commission of Jurists) and Robert J. Barnett. Robert J. Barnett was the Director of TIN between 1987 and 1998 and now works at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, alongside fellow faculty member Andrew J. Nathan (who is an editor of the NED’s Journal of Democracy, and also serves on the advisory board for the NED-funded Beijing Spring magazine). It is important to note that between 1998 and 2002 – the time coinciding with the start of the NED’s support for TIN – the organization was directed by Richard Oppenheimer who incidentally had just spent 22 years working for the BBC World Service. In 2002, Oppenheimer was then replaced by the world famous Tibetologist, Thierry Dodin, who left TIN in 2005 when it was announced that TIN “had to close down for lack of funds”, and he subsequently went on to direct the TibetInfoNet.[18]

The Tibetan Literary Society received NED aid between 2000 and 2005 to publish the Bod-Kyi-Dus-Bab (Tibet Times), a Tibetan language newspaper which was founded in 1996 and is published three times a month in Dharamsala, India. In 1998 and 1999 the newspaper itself also received direct support from the NED. Another group to receive NED support is the Tibet Multimedia Center, which received three grants from the NED between 2000 to 2002 to:

“…provide objective information about Tibet for Tibetans in the country and in exile as well as for audiences in China. The center will produce audio and videocassettes, organize debates among Tibetan high school students in exile and publish a Chinese language magazine to educate the Chinese public about the situation in Tibet and the struggle for human rights.”

Between 1999 and 2005 the Tibetan Review Trust Society received four grants to publish the Tibetan Review, a monthly English-language news magazine based in New Delhi, India, “that covers Tibet-related news and analysis.” The Tibetan Review was founded in 1968 and it’s precursor was Lodi G. Gyari’s (see earlier) The Voice of Tibet: in the early 1970s the Tibetan Review was published by Tenzin N. Tethong (who at the time headed the International Campaign for Tibet), and after passing through the hands of a number of other Directors it is now being edited by Pema Thinley (who is the former Executive Editor of Tibetan Bulletin, the “official journal of the Central Tibet Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”).

Finally, in 2001 and 2002, the Voice of Tibet – a Tibetan-language shortwave radio station which was founded in 1996 – obtained NED aid to provide “regular news about Tibet, the Tibetan exile community, and the Tibetan government-in-exile, for listeners in Tibet and in exile in neighboring countries.” According to their website “[e]very day Voice of Tibet broadcasts a 30 minutes news service in the Tibetan language and a 15 minutes news service in Mandarin Chinese.” Voice of Tibet was founded by three Norwegian NGOs; the Norwegian Human Rights House, the Norwegian Tibet Committee and Worldview Rights. The final group is particularly interesting as it is also known as the Points of Peace Foundation, which is a “human rights organisation based in Stavanger, Norway, with a mandate to support Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in urgent need of media, dialogue and communication assistance in their home countries and internationally.” Crucially, the Points of Peace Foundation’s advisory board includes Jose Ramos-Horta, John Hume (who is a former patron of the British version of the NED, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy), Aung San Suu Kyi (who is a member of the international advisory board of the Democracy Coalition Project, and is an honorary director of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance), Wangari Maathai (who is a member of the international advisory board of the Democracy Coalition Project, and is a trustee of World Learning), Mairead Corrigan Maguire (who is a member of the international council of advisors for the International Campaign for Tibet), and Muhammad Yunus (who is on the advisory board of Stockholm Challenge, where he sits alongside NED director Esther Dyson, and US Institute for Peace advisory board member John Gage). (Two other groups to receive NED aid for communication work in Tibet since 1990 for which no further information could be ascertained include the Tibet Justice Center (which received a single grant in 2002), and the Tibet Museum (which received NED support in both 2004 and 2005).)


This article has demonstrated the close ties that exist between the Dalai Lama’s non-violent campaign for Tibetan independence and U.S. foreign policy elites who are actively supporting Tibetan causes through the NED. This finding is particularly worrying given the high international media profile of many of the groups exposed in this article, especially when it is remembered that the NED’s activities are intimately linked with those of the CIA. This funding issue is clearly problematic for Tibetan (or foreign) activists campaigning for Tibetan freedom, as the overwhelmingly anti-democratic nature of the NED can only weaken the legitimacy of the claims of any group associated with the NED. In this regard it seems only fitting that progressive activists truly concerned with promoting freedom and democracy in Tibet should first and foremost cast a critical eye over the antidemocratic funders of many of the Tibetan groups identified in this study. Only then will they be able to reappraise the sustainability of their work in the light of the NED’s controversial background. Once this step has been taken, perhaps progressive solutions for restoring democratic governance to Tibet can be generated by concerned activists, so that Tibetan people wanting to reclaim their homeland will able to be more sure that they are bringing democracy home to Tibet, not polyarchy.

Michael Barker is a doctoral candidate at Griffith University, Australia. He can be reached at


[1] McGranahan, C. “Tibet’s Cold War: The CIA and the Chushi Gangdrug Resistance, 1956–1974.” Journal of Cold War Studies, 8 (3), (2006), p.105.

[2] Conboy, K. and J.Morrison. The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2002.

Deane, H. “The Cold War in Tibet.” Covert Action Information Bulletin 29 (Winter 1987): 48-50.

Knaus, J. K. Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival. New York: Public Affairs, 1999.

[3] Mann, J. “CIA Funded Covert Tibet Exile Campaign in 1960s.” The Age (Melbourne), 16 Sept. 1998. 21 Jun. 2007.

[4] Parenti, M. “Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth (Updated).” Jul. 2004. 21 Jun. 2007. Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth by Dr. Michael Parenti (01.02.07)

[5] Mann, J. “CIA Funded Covert Tibet Exile Campaign in 1960s.” The Age (Melbourne), 16 Sept. 1998. 21 Jun. 2007.

[6] Knaus, J. K. Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival. New York: Public Affairs, 1999.

Salopek, P. “The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet.” Seattle Times, 26 Jan. 1997. 21 Jun. 2007.

[7] Knaus, J. K. “Official Policies and Covert Programs: The U.S. State Department, the CIA, and the Tibetan Resistance.” Journal of Cold War Studies, 5 (3), (2003), p.78.

[8] Reagan, R. W. “Address to Members of the British Parliament.” Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 8 Jun. 1982. 21 Jun. 2007.

[9] Rasmus, J. The War at Home: The Corporate Offensive Against American Workers and Unions from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. San Ramon, CA: Kyklos Productions, 2006.

[10] Ignatius, D. “Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups.” The Washington Post, 22 September 1991.

[11] Robinson, W. I. and J. Gindin. “The Battle for Global Civil Society.”, 13 Jun. 2005. 21 Jun. 2007.

[12] Barker, M. J. “Taking the Risk Out of Civil Society: Harnessing Social movements and Regulating Revolutions.” Refereed paper presented to the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Newcastle 25-27 September 2006. 21 Jun. 2007.,%20Michael.pdf.

Roelofs, J. Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003.

[13] Barker, M. J. “The National Endowment for Democracy and the Promotion of ‘Democratic’ Media Systems Worldwide.” Communication for Development and Social Change: A Global Journal (In Press).

Barker, M. J. “Democracy or Polyarchy? US-Funded Media Developments in Afghanistan and Iraq Post 9/11.” Media Culture Society (In Press).

Sussman, G. “The Myths of ‘Democracy Assistance’: U.S. Political Intervention in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.” Monthly Review, Dec. 2006. 21 Jun. 2007.

[14] Barker, M. J. “A Force More Powerful: Promoting ‘Democracy’ Through Civil Disobedience.” State of Nature, Mar. 2007. 21 Jun. 2007.

[15] Fenton, A. “Canada’s Growing Role in Haitian Affairs (Part I).” Znet, 21 Mar. 2005. 21 Jun. 2007.

[16] For a detailed examination of both individuals strong ties to the NED see Barker, M. J. “Promoting a Low Intensity Public Sphere: American Led Efforts to Promote a ‘Democratic Media’ Environment in China.” A paper to presented at the China Media Centre Conference (Brisbane, Australia: Creative Industries Precinct, 5-6 July 2007).

Also of interest is Barker, M. J. “Hijacking Human Rights: A Critical Examination of Human Rights Watch’s Americas Branch and their Links to the ‘Democracy’ Establishment.” Znet, August 3, 2007.

[17]Grandin, G. Empire’s workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006.

[18] Robert, P. “Tibet Information Network Closes as Funds Dry Up.” Tibet Information Network, 13 Sep. 2005. 21 Jun. 2007.

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Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth by Dr. Michael Parenti (01.02.07)

BBC Pictures of Tibetans killed in uprising in Ngawa, Amdho

Steve Chao in Bora, Amdho (Gansu province) + Clash that ’sparked’ Tibet’s violent protests

Human Rights Violations in Occupied Palestine – The UN Assessment by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, March 20, 2008

John Dugard is The UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Palestine and a rare public official. In January 2008, he assessed the situation in Occupied Palestine (OPT). It was detailed, inclusive and honest. This article discusses his findings in-depth. Most of them have been widely reported, but they bear repeating nonetheless. It’s because, in this instance, they’re from an agency of the 192 member states world body. It’s hoped that source highlights their importance and adds to their credibility.

From September 25 to October 1, 2007, Dugard visited Gaza, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, Nablus, Qalqiliya and the Jordan valley and held extensive meetings with: Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, UN agencies, Palestinian and Jordanian officials, academics, businessmen, and independent interlocutors. He also went to Gazan factories and West Bank checkpoints and settlements and saw firsthand the situation on the ground.

For his efforts, Dugard is both praised and criticized. Extremists even condemn him. It’s the price he and others pay for assessing conditions honestly. He addressed his critics and what they cite:

— that his reports are repetitious; he agrees because Israel repeats the same human rights and humanitarian law violations and has done it for over 40 years of occupation. They feature: “(Illegal) settlements, checkpoints, demolition of houses, torture, closure of crossings and military incursions….” More recently, add the separation wall (since 2003), “sonic booms, (stepped up) targeted killings, (using) Palestinians as human shields, and the humanitarian crisis” in Gaza since Hamas was democratically elected in January 2006.

— that he fails to address “terrorism;” he calls it a “scourge” with violations by both sides but with a huge disproportionate difference; for their part, Palestinians are conducting a national liberation struggle “against colonialism, apartheid (and) military occupation.” He doesn’t condone rocket attacks or suicide bombings but compares them historically to earlier “acts of terror” under military occupation – against the Nazis, South Africa in Namibia and in pre-1948 Mandate Palestine by Jewish terrorist groups in which two future Israeli prime ministers were leaders. Violence will continue as long as the Territories are occupied and Israel treats the population repressively; Israel understands this, yet continues its harshness, and does so for strategic reasons.

— that he fails to address Palestinian human rights violations; he cites the occupation that causes them on both sides and stopping them requires it “be brought to a speedy end;” further, his Special Rapporteur mandate is to report on the occupier’s violations, not the people occupied, and he’s doing his job.

Forty Years of Occupation

For Palestinians, occupation is their core issue and the reason violence continues. In its 2004 Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the International Court of Justice (ICJ or World Court) held the following: that Palestine (including East Jerusalem) “remain occupied territories and Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power.” This requires its government to adhere to the Fourth Geneva Convention protection of civilians in time of war, and to the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It’s further argued that 40 years in charge increased Israel’s obligations. Its occupation now is more unlawful because it’s continued to violate international laws all this time.

The Occupation of Gaza

Dugard assessed conditions in Gaza in its earliest days under siege, excluding the intensified harshness in recent months.

He discounted the notion that Ariel Sharon’s 2005 “evacuation” changed anything. On September 19, 2007, however, it changed plenty when Israel declared Gaza a “hostile territory,” Secretary of State Rice concurred, and fuel, electricity and other essential supplies and services were severely cut.

Under international law, Dugard asserts that “effective control” determines whether a territory is occupied, not a physical presence on the ground. International law also requires an occupier to guarantee the civilian population’s welfare. By this standard, Israel violates its obligation, Gaza’s occupation never ended, and pretending otherwise is a charade. The following factors reflect conditions on the ground:

— Israel maintains control of Gaza’s six land crossings – Erez into Israel; Rafah into Egypt in violation of the November 2005 negotiated Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel – brokered by the US, EU and the international community’s envoy for Gaza’s disengagement; Karmi that’s the main access for goods into the Territory; Karem Shalom and Sufa for goods as well and one other; the effects on Gazans have been “disastrous;”

— Israeli control through military incursions, “rocket attacks and sonic booms,” and declaring sections of Gaza “no-go” zones where residents entering will be shot;

— control of Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters; and

— control of the Palestinian Population Registry; it allows Israel to decide through a system of identity cards – who’s a Palestinian, who resides in Gaza and the West Bank, and who may or may not enter or leave either Territory.

Israeli Actions Against Gaza and Their Consequences

Since dismantling Gaza’s settlements in 2005, Israel undertook a number of actions that are repressive and violate international law:

A. Military action

— even before the latest invasion and mass-killings, Dugard reported through late last year – 290 Gaza killings of which at least one-third were civilians; on September 26 when he was in Gaza, IDF missiles killed 12 Palestinians; after the November 27 Annapolis meeting, over 70 Palestinians were killed (up to an unmentioned date), including eight in a “major military operation in southern Gaza” the day before the Annapolis session began.

— Dugard noted the frequency of targeted killings and other IDF international law violations; he further stated that Israeli security forces killed 668 Palestinians in Gaza in the “past two years (2006 and 2007)” and over half of them (359) were uninvolved in hostilities; 126 were minors; 361 were by missile attacks; and 29 were targeted killings; during the same period, Palestinian rockets killed four Israeli civilians and injured “hundreds;” four Israeli security forces were also killed.

B. Closure of crossings

An additional effect was to strand 6000 Palestinians on the Egyptian side with inadequate accommodations and facilities; they were denied their right to return home, and, as a result, 30 people died from neglect or inability to treat illness.

C. Reducing fuel and electricity

This action followed the September 19 declaration of Gaza as a “hostile territory;” ten Israeli and Palestinian NGOs petitioned Israel’s High Court to halt the action on humanitarian grounds and because it constitutes collective punishment against innocent civilians; nonetheless, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the action, and by last October, supplies were cut by more than half; since then, they continue being drastically reduced.

D. Terminating banking facilities

After September 19, the two Israeli commercial banks in Gaza (Bank Hapoalim and Discount Bank) suspended operations in the Territory; henceforth, they refused to clear checks, handle cash transfers or supply Israeli shekels that’s the official Occupied Territory (OPT) currency; it effectively halted Gaza’s monetary system.

E. Gaza’s humanitarian crisis

All the above actions produced a devastating humanitarian crisis, Dugard covered it through late last year, and conditions continue deteriorating:

1. Food

As of last year, over 80% of Gazans needed food aid – from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Program (WFP); what’s available is very basic and excludes fruits, vegetables, meat and fish; the aid is vital but extremely inadequate.

2. Unemployment and poverty

Border closures prevent exports and imports; the result is Gazan factories closed, construction halted and farm output was also affected; farmers have no income, 65,000 factory jobs were lost as well as 121,000 in construction-related projects; the Palestinian Federation of Industries reported 95% of Gaza’s industry was shuttered; Israel also banned coastal fishing throwing Palestinian fishermen out of work and cutting off a vital food source; in addition, without resources, Gaza City’s municipal employees haven’t been paid since March 2007; over 80% of Gazans live below the official poverty line, and conditions are dire and worsening.

3. Health care

Here, too, the situation is dire; everything is in short supply or unavailable, including 91 “key” drugs; seriously ill patients are prohibited from leaving the Territory (with few exceptions) for care unavailable inside; the World Health Organization said that restrictions caused an increasing number of patients to die; the Israeli NGO, Physicians for Human Rights, reported 44 deaths since June 2007, and in November alone, 13 Palestinians died; also in November, Gazan hospitals couldn’t perform surgery because Israel prevented the importation of anesthetics.

4. Education

Gazan children in UNRWA schools “lag behind refugee children elsewhere;” in addition, students are prevented from studying abroad, and in November 670 of them were denied permission for foreign study, including six Fulbright scholars.

5. Fuel, energy and water

Gaza depends largely on Israel for supply; with restrictions, power outages are frequent, and basic facilities like hospitals are severely hampered; insufficient power for pumping also affects the water supply; as a result, 210,000 people only have access to it one or two hours a day; sewage is also a major problem; facilities are in disrepair and overflows are frequent and cause severe potential health problems; Dugard called the situation “catastrophic” under Israel-imposed restrictions.

F. Legal consequences of Israel’s actions

Israel calls its attacks defensive, but it’s not how Dugard sees them; he questions their proportionality, the IDF’s failure to distinguish between military and civilian targets, and their directly attacking civilians to inflict collective punishment; he further states: “It is highly arguable that Israel has violated the most fundamental rules of international humanitarian law, which constitutes war crimes in terms of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 85 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949….relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts.”

Further, the siege “violates a whole range of obligations under both human rights and humanitarian law,” including the right of everyone to “an adequate standard of living for himself and his family (that includes) adequate food, clothing and housing;” above all, “Israel has violated the prohibition on collective punishment of an occupied people” as covered in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; its government is guilty of using “indiscriminate and excessive….force against civilians and civilian objects” as well as denying all sorts of freedoms and essential needs.

Gaza is “no ordinary state;” It’s “occupied territory in whose well-being all States have an interest….are required to promote (and are obliged) to ensure compliance by Israel (in accordance with) international humanitarian law….;” failure to do so makes other states complicit in the siege; they and Israel also violate international law.

Human Rights in the West Bank and Jerusalem

In the Fatah-controlled West Bank, Israel made “some (modest) gestures of rapprochement,” but did nothing to dismantle the occupation’s infrastructure. On the contrary, it continues to expand “the instruments that most seriously violate human rights – military incursions, settlements, the separation wall, (free movement) restrictions, the Judaization of Jerusalem, and the demolition of houses.”

A. Military incursions

Since June 2007, they’ve intensified in the West Bank; in November alone, the IDF conducted 786 raids, killed one person (plus at least two others he didn’t report), injured 67 others and made 398 arrests; in addition, public and private properties were damaged; curfews were imposed, and “countless innocent civilians” were terrorized by security forces and dogs; in all cases, these actions violate international laws that prohibit them.

B. Settlements and settlers

By Dugard’s count, there are 149 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and despite promises to freeze their growth, the settler population increased by 63% since 1993 to its present (year end) size of 460,000. In addition, by late last year, new construction was under way in 88 settlements, and their average growth is 4.5% compared to 1.5% inside Israel. An additional 105 “outposts” are also in place – informal structures that precede new settlement activity that are unauthorized but still funded by government ministries. In the so-called “road map,” Israel indicated it would dismantle all outposts but never did, and at year end more than 38% of the West Bank consisted of settlements, outposts, military areas, nature reserves off limits to Palestinians, and connecting roads for Jews only.

In addition, under Article 49, paragraph 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, settlements are illegal. The International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) Advisory Opinion on the construction of the separation wall affirmed it. Dugard refers to “Israel’s contempt for international law,” and its actions confirm it. In December, shortly after the Annapolis meeting, Tel Aviv announced plans for 307 new apartments in the Har Homa settlement, but there’s more as well – an extensive new “E1” project with 3500 apartments, 10 hotels and an industrial park for 14,500 settlers near Maale Adumin. To complete it, Israel expropriated Palestinian land in Abu Dis, Sawareh, Nabi Moussa and al-Khan al-Ahmar for an alternate Palestinian road to Jericho that frees the area for “E1.”

The road is devious. It’s part of a larger scheme to replace territorial contiguity with “transportational contiguity” that will work like this – two alternate road and tunnel networks will be constructed, one connecting Palestinian cantons, the other for Jews only, and expropriated Palestinian land will be used for the project.

C. Checkpoints, roadblocks and permits that obstruct free movement

Dugard calls their existence “disastrous….for both personal life and the (Palestinian) economy.” In the West Bank, he cites 561 “obstacles to (free) movement.” They comprise over 80 manned checkpoints and much more:

— 476 unmanned locked gates;

— earth mounds;

— concrete blocks;

— ditches; and

— thousands of temporary checkpoints, called flying checkpoints, for limited periods that are sometimes only hours. In November 2007, there were 429 of them in the West Bank.

Palestinian travel is also restricted or prohibited with permits (like South Africa’s “pass laws”) required for transit between the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These restrictions violate Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the ICJ held that Israel is bound by this law in the OPT. Israel, however, cites “security” for having them, but Dugard states this “is difficult to accept.” A more likely reason is they “serve the convenience of settlers, to facilitate (their) travel and to impress upon the Palestinian people the power and presence of the occupier.”

Checkpoints humiliate Palestinians on their own land. They deepen hostility, and “do more to create insecurity than to achieve security.” Further, Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel’s largest circulation newspaper) reports that one-fourth or more of all IDF soldiers say they witnessed abuse against Palestinian civilians at checkpoints.

D. The wall

Dugard bluntly states that: “The wall that Israel is….building….is clearly illegal.” The ICJ affirmed it and ruled that Israel is obligated to discontinue construction and dismantle sections already built. Israel ignores the ruling but “abandoned its claim that the wall is (for) security.” It now concedes that one of its main purposes is to “include settlements within Israel.”

Its planned length is 721 kilometers. Ten percent or more of it is on confiscated Palestinian land. Through late last year, 59% was completed, 200 kilometers were built after the ICJ ruling, and when construction is finished around “60,000 West Bank Palestinians (in) 42 villages and towns will reside in the closed zone between the wall and the Green Line” separating Israel from Palestine. Moreover, its route may be altered to include up to 13% of Palestinian land, including “many of the West Bank’s valuable water resources and its richest agricultural lands.”

The consequences for Palestinians are devastating. They’re cut off from work, schools, universities, medical facilities, and their overall “community life is seriously fragmented.” Most often, farmers on the wrong side of the wall can’t get permits to reach their land, harvest their crops or graze their animals.

In addition, the opening and closing of gates (in the wall) is “highly restrictive.” The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) surveyed 67 communities near its location. It showed only 19 gates were open to Palestinians for daily or year round use, but it’s worse than that. Thousands of Palestinians have been displaced, and the IDF abuses and humiliates Palestinians able to enter or leave the closed zone.

Dugard cites the village of Jayyus. He was there on September 30 and saw what their people endure:

— the wall separates its 3200 residents from their farmland;

— 68% of the village’s agricultural land and its six wells are in the closed zone between the wall and the Green Line and are off limits without a visitor’s permit;

— scores of greenhouses are in the closed zone; they produce tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers that need daily irrigation; and

— only 40% of Jayyus’ residents have permits to access their farms, and gate opening times are limited and arbitrary; as a result, by August 2004 (one year after the wall’s construction) local fruit and vegetable production fell from seven to four million kilograms. Since then, things have deteriorated further.

Within the Jerusalem Governorate (one of 16 Palestinian Governorates in the West Bank), the wall covers 168 kilometers. In the Jerusalem municipality, many Palestinian villages are outside the wall and separated from the city. In places like Abu Dis and elsewhere, the wall runs through Palestinian communities, separating neighbors and families. Overall, it cuts off about 25% of the 253,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians. They can only enter the city through checkpoints and are thus impeded from accessing hospitals, schools, universities, work and holy sites, including the Al Aqsa Mosque.

E. House demolitions

Home demolitions are a “regular feature” of Israel’s occupation for the following claimed reasons – military necessity, punishment, and failure to obtain a building permit. Dugard condemns them as “discriminatory” actions “to demonstrate the power of the occupier over the occupied,” and here’s what Palestinians are up against.

In East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank (comprising 60% of the Territory), permits must be obtained for construction. But they’re hard to get, bureaucratic procedures for them are cumbersome, and in practice few are granted. Palestinians need homes, so they build them anyway, and it gets them in trouble. Throughout the Territory, Arab structures are demolished but not Jewish ones, and what’s affected are homes, schools, clinics and mosques on the grounds that permits weren’t obtained.

The numbers are revealing. For the two year period up to May 2007, 354 Palestinian structures were destroyed as well as those of Bedouin communities. One was the Jordan Valley Al Hadidiya village that’s regularly targeted for removal with a committed aim – to cleanse the area for expanded Roi, Bega’ot and Hamda Jewish settlements at the expense of its Arab residents. In September 2007, the IDF hit it hard. It destroyed the structures of about 200 families in violation of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits the destruction of personal property “except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” That wasn’t the case in this instance. Nor was it when homes were destroyed in the Qalqiliya Naqar neighborhood the previous month, or in nearly every other case of indiscriminate demolition.

F. Humanitarian situation

Dugard cites the dire effects on “the economy, health, education, family life and (overall) standard of living (from) the wall (construction), expansion of settlements, restrictions on (free) movement, house demolitions and (repeated) military incursions.” And since Hamas’ 2006 election, the situation seriously deteriorated. Through year end 2007, West Bank humanitarian conditions showed no material improvement even under Fatah control. Palestinian resources are inadequate; the occupation continues; human rights violations are commonplace; poverty and unemployment “are at their highest levels ever;” military incursions undermine health, education and general welfare; the wall and checkpoints are repressive; and the overall “social fabric of society is threatened.”

G. Conclusion

The situation in the West Bank isn’t as dire as in Gaza, but it’s just “a matter of degree” under conditions of collective punishment. Throughout the OPT, Israel violates international law, and it must be held accountable for its actions.

Israel’s Treatment of Arrested Persons and Convicted Prisoners

Dugard estimates since 1967 over 700,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned. Through year end 2007, Israelis held 11,000 or more prisoners, including “376 children, 118 women, (and) 44 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members.” In addition, there are “some 800 (or more) ‘administrative detainees’ ” (other estimates place the figure much higher) against whom no charges were made and who are held for renewable six month periods. Israel calls them “terrorists.” Palestinians say they’re “political prisoners who have committed crimes against” an illegal occupation.

A. Arrested and detained persons

Prisoners are subjected to “humiliating and degrading treatment.” They’re stripped, interrogated, beaten, tortured and deprived of their basic needs. The treatment of children is equally disturbing, according to the Palestine Section of Defence for Children International. It states that children are detained for between eight to 21 days before being brought to court. They’re denied the presence of a parent or lawyer during interrogation, cursed, threatened, beaten and kept in solitary confinement throughout their ordeal. This type treatment terrifies adults. Imagine what it does to young children.

B. Convicted prisoners and administrative detainees

Prison conditions are harsh. Many prisoners are housed in tents that are extremely hot in summer and cold in winter. Overcrowding is serious, food is poor and anaemia among prisoners is common. This violates the letter and spirit of various Fourth Geneva Convention provisions that govern how an Occupying Power must treat prisoners.

The role of prison medical doctors must also be questioned. They witness inhumane treatment – wounds, swollen limbs, signs of violence – but remain silent and ignore the torture taking place. This raises serious ethical questions about their behavior.


This is a legal and humanitarian right that’s recognized by the Security Council, General Assembly, ICJ and even Israel. It applies to everyone, but for nearly 60 years, it’s been denied in Occupied Palestine. It’s even worse since the West Bank and Gaza were separated and are under different authorities.

Dugard stated that it’s “a matter of deep concern (to him that he sees) no immediate prospect of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.” He said it should also concern the Quartet (the US, Russia, EU and UN) and other international institutions, but what matters most is how they show support. It should not be for one faction over another. It should reconcile differences between both sides and unite them for self-determination within the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. So far, however, no efforts are being made, and divisive policies are being pursued that support one side while isolating the other.

International Law, the International Court of Justice, the Quartet and the UN

On December 8, 2003, the General Assembly asked the ICJ for an advisory opinion on Israel’s separation wall. The Court’s ruling “answered many legal questions that have been raised over the past 40 years.” Principally, they were as follows:

— Palestinians are entitled to self-determination; the wall’s construction violates it;

— Israel is legally required to comply with Fourth Geneva Convention provisions;

— under Geneva’s Article 49 (6), settlements are illegal;

— Israel is required to abide by international human rights law in the OPT;

— Israel’s closed zone (between the wall and Green Line) violates Palestinians’ free movement rights and their right to work, health, education and an adequate standard of living;

— destroying property for the wall’s construction (including in and around East Jerusalem) violates international law; Israel must halt construction, dismantle portions built and make reparations for the damage done;

— all UN member states are legally obliged to recognize Israel’s non-compliance with Fourth Geneva Convention provisions;

— the UN (especially General Assembly and Security Council) should address actions required to end the illegal situation resulting from the wall’s construction;

— on July 20, 2004, the General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted Resolution ES-10/15; it called for Israel to comply with the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion;

— since 2004, the Security Council ignored the Advisory Opinion while the General Assembly and Human Rights Council affirmed it; inaction by the Security Council is because the US continues to block it in support of Israel and also prevents the Quartet from implementing the Opinion; as a result, the Quartet never acknowledged it ;

— the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion is “an authoritative statement of the applicable law,” but it’s not legally binding on States; however, the ICJ is the UN’s judicial organ, and the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Opinion; it’s thus now UN law and the Secretary-General or his representative is obliged to enforce it – to ensure that member States are in compliance; and

— for over 40 years, UN member States, its political organs and individuals have accused Israel of “consistent, systematic and gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT;” in 2004, the ICJ agreed; it stated these violations can’t be justified on grounds of self-defense or necessity; the UN is obligated to act; failure to do so “brings the very commitment of the United Nations to human rights into question.”

Peace Talks

Dugard noted that it’s not within his mandate to address what’s “essentially a political process,” except as it relates to human rights. On that basis, he stated that Oslo failed the Palestinian people by paying inadequate attention to international law and human rights issues. He hoped the Annapolis process would correct this, but early indications suggest otherwise.

A joint November 27 statement highlighted the problem. It said participants would negotiate on the 2003 “road map,” not on the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion that detailed Israel’s human rights violations. Any hope for peace, however, requires they be addressed and resolved, but so far they’re being ignored.

Dugard calls the “road map” inappropriate and unhelpful for the following reasons:

— it’s outdated: it ignores ICJ’s Advisory Opinion; doesn’t recognize Hamas’ democratic election; doesn’t address Israel’s Gaza withdrawal; or the June 2007 Gaza and West Bank separation;

— Israel attached 14 reservations to the “road map” that call into question its commitment; and

— Israel’s language shows a further lack of commitment by stating the initiative is “a performance-based and goal driven roadmap.”

International law under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is one of many serious matters at issue. It affirms that persons under occupation retain their legal rights under any agreement “between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power (and) any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.” This means that any recognition of Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine is illegal under international law. It also highlights the dangers of negotiations between unequals with Israelis controlling everything and Palestinians at their mercy.

An equitable agreement is impossible under these conditions, and Dugard states the only way negotiations should proceed. They must take place “within a normative framework, with the guiding norms to be found in international law, particularly international humanitarian and human rights law, the (ICJ) Advisory Opinion, and Security Council resolutions.” The effort cannot proceed as an exercise in “political horse-trading.” Doing so guarantees failure, but more is at stake as well.

Creating a Palestinian state won’t heal 60 years of conflict that’s gone all Israel’s way and inflicted great harm and suffering on the Palestinian people. At some point, real peace is only possible if a supreme effort is made toward true reconciliation between the two sides. That entails addressing events, actions and past sufferings fully and honestly. Dugard suggests a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission for an open airing by both sides. Unless it happens in good faith, tensions will remain and peace won’t be possible. Up to now, it appears Israel wants it that way.

A Final Comment

Ahead of Israel’s 60th anniversary and worldwide commemoration events, the Canada – Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet) will run one or more full-page ads in protest. It’s headlined: “We Cannot Celebrate,” and below is the text.

“Around the world, plans are being made to mount major celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. But this year also marks 60 years since 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland in what they refer to as the Nakba or “catastrophe.” Given this history, and the deepening conflict in the region today, we believe there are no grounds for celebration.

We cannot celebrate

while Israel starves and bombs the people of Gaza.

We cannot celebrate

while Israel extends its apartheid wall.

We cannot celebrate

while Israel builds Jewish only settlements on roads on stolen Palestinian lands.

We cannot celebrate

while Israel continues to violate United Nations Resolution 194, refusing to let Palestinians return to their homes.

We cannot celebrate

while Israel continues to promote wars and expand its nuclear arsenal.

We cannot celebrate

as long as the policies of Israel’s leaders fuel a conflict in which innocent lives on both sides are lost.

We can and will continue our efforts to end these injustices, upholding international law, human rights and United Nations resolutions. This is the only road map to peace.”

Global Research Associate Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

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