There Will Be Blood By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

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By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad
05/05/08 “ICH

Since the assassination in Damascus of Imad Mughniyeh, a leading Hizbullah operative, a sense of foreboding once again grips Lebanon. The Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says the bombing foreshadows Israeli aggression and has declared his willingness to wage ‘open war’ should there be another invasion. Fighting words are not uncommon to the region; leaders often compensate for lack of action with bravado. However, no one is ready to discount the significance of Nasrallah’s statement. Why?

As the Israeli Air Force decimated the exposed Egyptian infantry in 1967 Nasser’s propagandists were forecasting success. When the US-UK air armada pummelled the hapless conscripts of the Iraqi army in ’91, Saddam’s propaganda mill promised imminent victory (which it duly claimed shortly after signing unconditional surrender). Likewise, Saddam’s Minister of Information greeted the US-UK invasion in 2003 with similar fanciful flourishes. An object of frequent ridicule, such mendacity is often adduced by born-again Orientalists as a function of the addled ‘Arab mind’. That is, until one voice emerged that undermined stereotypes and restored dignity and trust.

Syed Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of the Lebanese Hizbullah movement, has established a reputation for saying only what he means and promising only what he is able to deliver. Islamic Resistance, the guerrilla wing of Hizbullah, has evolved under his helm from its ragtag origins to the world’s most effective resistance movement, twice defeating the vaunted Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in battle. As a testament to his intelligence and organization skills, Hizbullah has also developed an efficient and extensive social service network – hospitals, educational institutions, a construction company and its own media – that caters to its mostly impoverished Shia constituency. As a result he has emerged as the most popular figure in the Middle East. The Syrian Bashar al-Assad according to Seymour Hersh claims to be in ‘awe of Nasrallah’ and ‘worships at his feet’. Secular MPs in Egypt revere him as an ‘heir to Saladin’. Christian divas in Lebanon have immortalized him in song. The modest Shia cleric is a living legend in the mostly Sunni Middle East.

Despite its regional popularity, Hizbullah remains a largely misunderstood phenomenon in the West where media demonology often conflates Hizbullah with al-Qaeda and Nasrallah with Usama bin Laden. Few in Europe or the US have heard Nasrallah’s voice. This may largely be due to the fact that all his speeches are delivered in Arabic. It is to introduce the Anglophone world to this important voice that Nicholas Noe has collected Nasrallah’s speeches and interviews spanning two decades in Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. With a competent translation by Ellen Khouri, the interviews and speeches elaborate on key events in Lebanon’s recent history. Nasrallah’s pronouncements are invariably thoughtful, nuanced and carefully worded, eloquence rarely giving way to rhetoric. At times fiery, they remain grounded in fact, and adversaries often ignore his promises at their own peril. The book reveals a methodical mind explicating on historical events and developments with an impressive attention to detail. The significance of some of the events may have diminished, however the chronologically ordered interviews offer useful insights into the strategic shifts in the movement’s outlook and the intellectual evolution of its leader.

Born on 31 August 1960 to an impoverished fruit vendor in Karantina, East Beirut, Nasrallah was drawn to religion and intellectual endeavour from an early age. Ninth in a family of ten children, the young Nasrallah would frequent walk to the city centre to purchase second-hand books and unlike his peers would devote all his time to reading. An early influence on Nasrallah’s thinking was the Iranian born Lebanese cleric Imam Musa al-Sadr. In Lebanon’s long history of civil strife, its mostly underprivileged Shia population has remained largely marginal. The confessional balance of the political system based on a 1932 census of dubious merit accords the Shia a subordinate role. It was the Harkat al-Mahrumin (Movement of the Disinherited) of Musa al-Sadr that first empowered the Shia and challenged the entrenched feudal elite lording over it. The movement also evolved an armed wing, Afwaj al-Muqawama Al-Lubnaniyya, better known as Amal.

The civil war of 1975 forced the Nasrallah family to relocate to its ancestral home in Bazouriyeh, South Lebanon, where Nasrallah joined the nascent Amal movement soon after finishing school in Tyre. At age fifteen, the precocious youth was appointed head of the movement for his home town, until then a secular leftist redoubt. Nasrallah founded a library at the local Islamic Centre where young men and women would come and receive education, also imbibing the revolutionary teachings of Musa al-Sadr.

In 1976 Nasrallah headed to Najaf in Iraq to complete his religious education under Baqr al-Sadr (executed in 1980 by Saddam, he was the Father-in-law of Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr). On al-Sadr’s instruction Nasrallah was taken under the wings by another one of his Lebanese disciples, Sheikh Abbas Mussawi with whom Nasrallah would later found Hizbullah. The man who Nasrallah would recall as a ‘friend, brother, mentor and companion’ would assist him through the ascetic seminary life where the new pupil’s hard work would lead him to finish preliminary instruction in two years, rather than the usual five. It was in Najaf that Nasrallah was first introduced to the teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini, who departed from the traditional quietist Shia theology in his concept of wilayat al-faqih -– the rule of the jurist-theologian -– which prescribed the supreme authority of the faqih over an Islamic state. To this day Hizbullah remains faithful to this concept, even though it has since abjured its call for the creation of an Islamic state as part of its ‘Lebanonization’ process begun in the 90s.

Nasrallah escaped the Baathist crackdown on Shia seminaries in ’77 and arrived back in Lebanon in ’78 to take up his education at an institution set up by Mussawi in Ba’albek. His return coincided with the Israeli invasion and two other events of immeasurable import –- the disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr, and the Islamic revolution in Iran -– that led him to resume his political activities. By the late 70s Amal’s power, already circumscribed, was on the wane as a result of political myopia. It was only the mysterious disappearance of al-Sadr in 1978 (presumably assassinated by Libya’s Gaddafi) that revived its fortunes. By the time Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Nasrallah had become the head of Amal for the Bekaa region and member of its Central Committee.

It was around the same time that PLO had decamped to South Lebanon after the events of Black September in 1970. It initially challenged the entrenched elite -– mainly Sunnis and Maronites -– leading many Shia to flock to its ranks. Relations soured over time as the majority Shia population of south Lebanon was caught between the armed and often domineering presence of the PLO and the indiscriminate Israeli attacks from across the border. Amal, which was initially trained by the PLO, soon allied itself with Syria and intervened to thwart a Palestinian victory over Maronite militias in 1976. By the time Israel invaded Lebanon, the local population was so resentful of the PLO presence that many greeted advancing Israelis tanks with perfumed rice and flowers. Nabih Berri, the leader of Amal, sought a modus vivendi with the Israeli occupiers and joined the collaborationist ‘national salvation’ government (It wouldn’t be until 1983 that an Israeli patrol’s attack on an Ashura procession in Nabatiyah would lead Amal to join the resistance).

It was this initial failure of Amal to confront the Israeli occupation that led a faction led by Nasrallah and Mussawi to split and form the core of what would later emerge as Hizbullah. In Pity the Nation, Robert Fisk’s magisterial account of the Lebanon war, the veteran Middle Easter correspondent describes the first Israeli encounter with this new force.

    Some of the Shia fighters had torn off pieces of their shirts and wrapped them around their heads as bands of martyrdom…When they set fire to one Israeli armoured vehicle, the gunmen were emboldened to advance further. None of us…realised the critical importance of the events of Khalde that night. The Lebanese Shia were learning the principles of martyrdom and putting them into practice…It was the beginning of a legend which also contained a strong element of the truth. The Shia were now the Lebanese resistance, nationalist no doubt but also inspired by their religion. The party of God –- in Arabic, the Hezbollah –- were on the beaches of Khalde that night.

The improvisations soon gave way to disciplined guerrilla warfare after Ayatollah Khomeini dispatched a contingent of 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in summer 1982 to train volunteers in the Bekaa Valley. Nasrallah played a key role in recruiting young Shia volunteers, and by 1985 had assumed leadership of Hizbullah in the Bekaa valley.

Deadly attacks were launched in the intervening years by a group calling itself Islamic Jihad allegedly linked to Hizbullah that targeted the US embassy and marine barracks. The latter there purportedly to keep peace had soon joined the conflict on side of the Israeli proxies in Lebanon. French paratroopers suffered a similar fate, leading to the withdrawal of the Multi-national Force. A successful strike on the Israeli head quarters in Lebanon that killed 72 Israeli soldiers also precipitated its retreat to the South where it maintained occupation of a narrow ‘security zone’. Continually harried by Hizbullah, it would eventually end its costly occupation in 2000.

It wasn’t until 1985 that Hizbullah emerged as a coherent organization announcing its formal existence in the form of an Open Letter which also served as its manifesto. Established with an avowedly pan-Islamic outlook adhering to Khomeini’s Wilayat al-Faqih doctrine, the movement has since emphasized its distinctly Lebanese nationalist credentials with its ambitions limited to the liberation of occupied Lebanese territory and defence of the realm in the absence of a strong national army. Leading figures in the movement have hinted that the Open Letter belonged to a specific period in time and does not reflect Hizbullah’s present political stance.

Nasrallah, who had since moved to Beirut, first came to prominence when he started giving speeches and interviews after being appointed to the consultative council of Hizbullah in 1987. A year later came the first Israeli assassination attempt. Hizbullah, which, unlike other Lebanese groups, had avoided confessional/sectarian war to focus solely on resisting the occupiers, found itself for the first time embroiled in a turf battle with Amal in Beirut and South Lebanon. These animosities survived well into the 90s and would only be resolved when Hizbullah and Amal would join a coalition against the US-backed forces jockeying for control after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

Although Hizbullah signed on to the Arab League-borkered Taif Accords that ended the Lebanese Civil War in 1989 they refused to relinquish arms. The pragmatist Nasrallah and Mussawi’s decision to participate in Lebanese politics also led to a high-level split when Subhi Tufeili the first Secretary General of Hizbullah chose to part ways rather than participate in the confessional political system. He was replaced by Mussawi as Hizbullah’s new secretary general. Hizbullah emerged with 12 seats in the 1992 parliamentary elections, a mark of the movements growing popular base in the Bekaa valley and the South.

Hizbullah continued its low-intensity war where it was careful to confine its activities to the occupied South. Israel however was less constrained: Mussawi was assassinated along with his family by an Israeli gunship in 1992 leading to Nasrallah being elected as the new Secretary General of Hizbullah. Nasrallah soon moved to modernize the resistance, ushering in a tactical revolution. Journalist Nicholas Blanford writes, that under Nasrallah’s leadership, ‘the resistance became more compartmentalized, with units specializing in different weapons and tactics. Intelligence-gathering measures were improved and greater autonomy given to field commanders.’

These resulted in a nearly twenty-fold increase in the rate-of- attack on the Israeli occupation forces by the end of the decade, whereas the fatality ratio dropped from an average of five-to-one in 1990 to three-to-two by the end of the decade. Israel responded with several major attacks, beginning with ‘Operation Accountability’ in 1993, and ‘Operation Grapes of Wrath’ in 1996 which culminated in the massacre of a hundred refugees at a UN compound in Qana by Israeli artillery (Nasrallah’s own 18-year-old son Hadi was killed in 1997 resisting the Israelis). The operations in 1999 and February 2000 were equally disastrous for Israel. Meanwhile, its proxies in the SLA continued their routine torture and harassment in the occupied South.

Hizbullah’s biggest success came on May 24, 2000 when Israel’s 22 year occupation of South Lebanon collapsed overnight and soldiers retreated behind the border. It was the first victory over Israel of any Arab force, and it was celebrated all over the Middle East. Yet it presented Hizbullah with an existential dilemma. Pressure was growing on Hizbullah to disarm as it had achieved its stated goal of liberating Lebanese occupied territory. In the debate over whether to continue the armed struggle or to shift focus completely to socio-political issues Nasrallah opted for the former. However this required a pretext which was furnished in the form of the Shebaa farms, a narrow strip of the occupied Golan Heights claimed by Lebanon. With Israel’s continued occupation of the farms, Hizbullah had a rationale for resistance.

The years between Israel’s retreat and the commencement of hostilities in 2006 saw very little combat. Israel continued its violation of Lebanese airspace with the occasional kidnapping of Lebanese fishers and farmers while Hizbullah managed to kill 17 more Israeli soldiers. Under the cover of the stabilizing Syrian presence there since the end of the Civil War, Hizbullah was able to avoid the messy parochial politics of Lebanon in favour of continued resistance. However, the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in February 2005 came as a major rupture with the past.

The mass protests in the wake of the assassination demanding an end to the long standing Syrian presence in Lebanon culminated in the ‘cedar revolution’ (a phrase coined by a US State Department official). With US-French backing, the so called March 14 movement, comprising mainly Sunni and Christian Maronite parties, succeeded in getting Syria to withdraw from Lebanon. Conscious that the vacuum left by the Syrian withdrawal may be filled by a US-Isareli hegemony given the pro-US orientation of the March 14 Alliance newly elected to power, Hizbullah forged strategic alliances to protect its interests. It buried the hatchet with Amal to forge an alliance that allowed it to join the government where it held 5 cabinet seats. Nasrallah has since succeeded in negotiating another strategic alliance with anti-Syrian Christian Maronite Free Patriotic Movement of General Michel Aoun.

Contrary to the prevailing media myth, the relationship between Hizbullah and Syria is mostly strategic, and their interests often diverge. Hizbullah sided with the Palestinians against the Syrian-backed Amal during the ‘war of the camps’; In the 1988-89 Hizbullah-Amal conflict Syria once against backed its rival. In ’87 the al-Asad regime also had 23 Hizbullah men killed. Hizbullah is also aware that any peace agreement between Syria and Israel may come at its expense. The same is also true of US-Iran rapprochement: the Iranian peace offer to the United States in 2003 included a pledge to withdraw support for Hizbullah. The last Iranian Revolutioanrly Guard advisers left Lebanon in 1998. Hizbullah has since emerged as a fully autonomous movement, thoroughly Lebanese in its outlook. Today it is not so much its reliance on Iran and Syria that is of higher import, but the reliance of the two on Hizbullah.

Although Nasrallah had twice negotiated successful prisoner swaps in ’96 and ’98 using German intermediaries, in 2004 he scored a major coup when in return for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers and one captured officer, Hizbullah succeed in securing the release of 23 Lebanese and 400 Palestinian prisoners. However several Lebanese prisoners still remained in Israeli custody. In 2006 Nasrallah warned that unless Israel released these prisoners, he would have no choice but to capture more Israelis for another exchange. At 9:04 on the morning of July 12 Hizbullah guerrillas delivered on the promise by capturing two Israeli soldiers and killing eight more in the ensuing firefight. A Merkava tank sent in pursuit was also blown up. This precipitated the heaviest bombing of Lebanon by Israel since its invasion of 1982.

The war saw Israel wreak mass destruction on the Lebanese civilian population, even as on the battlefield its performance remained dismal. Hizbullah withstood the air blitz and with its unrelenting barrage of rockets drew Israel into committing ground troops. The vaunted IDF with all its advanced weaponry soon found itself outclassed by Hizbullah’s iron discipline. With little to show for the mounting losses, Israel was forced to progressively climb down from its earlier maximalist aims, eventually agreeing to a ceasefire that merely restored the status quo ante.

Al-Manar continued its broadcasts uninterrupted through the conflict, and Nasrallah appeared on-air frequently giving reports on the progress of the war in his characteristic understated, factual manner (one such appearance ended with Nasrallah dramatically asking viewers to step outside their homes and look West where they were presented with the sight of a burning Israeli ship off the Lebanese coastline just targeted by a Hizbullah missile). During the war more Israelis tuned in to al-Manar than their own national TV. This time it was the Israelis turn to suffer the indignity of repeated claims of success by their leaders which would be subsequently discredited by events.

By the time Israel retreated back to its border it had left a hundred and twenty soldiers dead, forty of its tanks and armored vehicles destroyed and one helicopter downed. For Israel it was a humiliating defeat, and an end of its deterrence capabilities. Hizbullah emerged stronger and more popular than before. Its immediate and efficient assistance to those who had lost property during the war further added to its popularity. Critics who had accused it of precipitating the war –- including the inimitable Robert Fisk -– would be proven wrong by Israel’s own official inquiry into the war -– the Winograd Committee report –- which confirmed that the war had been planned by Israel more than a year ahead. As the Guardian reported, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s testimony to the commission ‘contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared.’

In a country caught between its own factional rivalries and the perennial intervention of foreign powers, principle is often a dispensable commodity. Yet much of Hizbullah’s regional prestige derives from its ability to take difficult decisions in the face of impossible odds. Established as a rejection of the kind of realpolitik embraced by Amal, the existing Shia movement, Hizbullah has not shied away from taking difficult positions, such as its defence of the Palestinians against its Syrian backed Shia rival. Through al-Manar, Hizbullah has continued to present its successful resistance as a model for Palestinians in the occupied territories, at times actively intervening on their behalf. It responded to the March 22, 2004 assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the quadriplegic spiritual leader of Hamas with a barrage of more than 60 rockets at six different Israeli military positions in the Shebaa farms. Similarly in 2006 the timing of its raid was widely seen as intended to relieve pressure on Gaza under brutal assault at the moment (in this instance however it had the contrary effect as under the cover of the Lebanon war, Israel was able to get away with more murder).

In 2007 when the Lebanese military began its assault on the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in order to crush a small band of Sunni militants, Fatah al-Islam, Nasrallah had to tread the fine line yet again. Most of Lebanon seemed indifferent to the plight of the innocent Palestinians caught in the crossfire, and even his political ally, the nationalist general Michel Aoun supported unrestrained action. Nasrallah’s qualified statement of support however declared the Palestinian refugees a ‘red line’ as the Lebanese army was a red line. Neither need be crossed. This drew shrill condemnation from the US-backed Lebanese opposition who accused him of insufficient patriotism for not offering unconditional support.

The 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate has put a spanner in the neoconservative plan for a new war by confirming that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. However, attempts to curb Iran’s mythical influence have continued apace. Israel’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Hizbullah have led its supporters in the US to back a new ‘redirection’ plan, as reported by the legendary journalist Seymour Hersh. This has included arming hard line Sunni militants to confront Hizbullah (in Iraq US precipitated a civil war by doing the opposite: arming Shias against the Sunni insurgency) and a wider propaganda campaign to sow fears of an emerging ‘shia crescent’. In Lebanon this went awry when the militants started showing more interest in fighting Israel than Hizbullah. The Fatah al-Islam episode further sealed its fate.

The Sunni Arab leaders of the Egypt and Jordan (and to a lesser degree Saudi Arabi)have played along. As journalist Patrick Cockburn observes, they ‘were embarrassed by the success of the Shia Hizbollah in the war in Lebanon…compared to their own supine incompetence.’ In the wake of the 2006 invasion of Lebanon where the Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian leadership tacitly sided with Israel, a poll found Nasrallah and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the two most popular leaders in Egypt. This is all the more remarkable given the fact that both are Shia, whereas the leadership of the largely Sunni Egypt has long played on sectarian differences to deflect its own sordid role in sustaining US-Israeli hegemony.

Since 2006 Hizbullah has led the opposition in a non-violent protest against the government demanding fairer representation. Detractors have tried to portray this as a coup against the government, and Nasrallah’s demand for a one-man-one-vote system as somehow outlandish. A deadlock has prevented the appointment of a new President, and the political future remains as yet uncertain. Forces of status quo resent Hizbullah’s assertiveness, but more so its status as a global player where they on the other hand remain perpetually identified with their parochial concerns. The government, backed by its supporters in the West and among the Arab states, has thus far prevented Hizbullah translating its military victory into political gains. While the people of the Middle East idolize Hizbullah, for their leaders the movement presents the threat of a good example. It is not yet confirmed who assassinated Imad Mughniyeh, but Israel is not alone in wishing to see Nasrallah and his movement humbled. Should there be a war, it would be interesting to see how the different forces line up. For now, the only thing that remains certain is that whatever happens in Lebanon, its borders are too small to contain the impact.

Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, edited by Nicholas Noe, Verso, 420 pp., £12.99, 978 1 84467 153 3

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad is a member of Spinwatch. His commentaries on arts, politics and culture appear on The Fanonite.

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.

Countdown: Hillary’s new gas tax ad + The Math + Bushed + Kal Penn

Dandelion Salad


May 05, 2008
MSNBC Keith Olbermann

Hillary’s new gas tax ad

The Math w/Chuck Todd


Rush Limbaugh Worst Person In The World!!!

Olberman Explains Which States Are *Significant*

Kal Penn of Harold & Kumar

John McCain back on the Double Talk Express

With Matt Taibbi

The Promised Land? Pioneers (vids)

Dandelion Salad


A three-part series examining the origins, violent creation, and modern-day reality of the state of Israel, told through the stories of individual Israelis.
In Episode 1 Al Jazeera examines how and why Jews returned to Palestine after 2,000 years of exile, and how the political Zionism first articulated in 1896 became reality with such speed.


Sixty Years of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation and Suffering

Israel at 60 – Crusader Anxiety By Uri Avnery

Pandemic response plan: let the elderly, the sick, and the poor die

Dandelion Salad

by Larry Chin
Global Research, May 5, 2008

The Bush-Cheney administration’s Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have collectively set guidelines that recommend—in the event of a “pandemic” or mass crisis—that the elderly, the sick, the severely injured, and the poor will be denied life-saving medical treatment.

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DeLauro Presses Defense Department Inspector General for Answers on Propaganda Program

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Contact: Adriana Surfas
Friday, May 2, 2008 (202) 225-3661

Washington, D.C. – To hold the Pentagon accountable for its propaganda program, Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, lead a coalition of 40 Members in sending a letter to the Department of Defense Inspector General Claude M. Kicklighter to press for answers about the program. Specifically, the Members are seeking information, including whether the IG investigated the program or senior officials involved in the program, believes the program to be illegal, or feels that military contracting waste and fraud and abuse occurred.

“This extensive propaganda program should have been revealed, not by a newspaper, but long-ago by the DoD Office of the Inspector General, which is responsible for eliminating waste, fraud and abuse at the department, as well as promoting integrity and serving the public interest,” said DeLauro. “Now that the program has been halted, we must take the next steps to determine how high-ranking officials within the Pentagon were allowed to operate a program aimed at deceiving the American people.

“Not only must the Inspector General now account for what it did and did not know about this state-sponsored propaganda effort, but they must also explain why if they knew about the propaganda campaign it was allowed to proceed. Additionally, we are calling for the Inspector General to launch an investigation to ensure no detail surrounding this program remains hidden.”

“When the Department of Defense misleads the American people by having them believe that they are listening to the views of objective military analysts when in fact these individuals are simply replaying DoD talking points, the department is clearly betraying the public trust,” the letter concludes.


May 2, 2008

The Honorable Claude M. Kicklighter

Inspector General

U.S. Department of Defense

The Pentagon

Washington , DC 20301

Dear Inspector General Kicklighter:

We write to express our deep concern over an extremely troubling report recently published in The New York Times detailing a high-level, well thought out and extensive program within the Department of Defense to use military analysts to generate positive news coverage of the war in Iraq, conditions at the Guantánamo Bay detention center and other activities associated with the Global War on Terror. We believe that this unethical, and potentially illegal, propaganda campaign aimed at deliberately misleading the American public should have been disclosed long ago by your office, and not by a newspaper that needed to resort to suing the DoD for the information.

According to the report, in the earliest days of the Bush Administration, former Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Torie Clarke began to build a network of “key influentials” that could generate support for then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s priorities and achieve what she called “information dominance.” In 2002, Ms. Clarke allegedly made a decision to make these “key influentials,” former military officers often with impressive military backgrounds, the main focus of the department’s public relations push to make the case to go to war. Responding to an interest from the White House, Ms. Clarke’s staff wrote summaries describing these analysts’ backgrounds, business affiliations and positions on the war.

At it’s peak, the Times reports that this behind the scenes network included more than 75 retired military analysts who were being briefed, often by high-level officials in a “powerfully seductive environment” (analysts reportedly met 18 times with Mr. Rumsfeld). The analysts then parroted the administration’s talking points on major television news programs and 24-hour cable news outlets, as well as over the radio and through op-ed articles or quotes in magazines, websites and newspapers. According to the article, internal Pentagon documents describe these military analysts as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.” Along with making the case for invading Iraq, these “themes and messages” included repudiating claims that U.S. troops were dying because of inadequate body armor, pushing back on reports of detainee mistreatment at the Guantánamo Bay prison facility and, according to Lawrence Di Rita, a former top aide to Mr. Rumsfeld, counteracting “the increasingly negative view of the war” that came with the rise of the insurgency. The DoD is even reported to have hired a private contractor to monitor and track the public comments of their military analyst surrogates. As one of them put it, this was “psyops on steroids.”

While we are deeply disturbed by the Pentagon’s taxpayer funded propaganda campaign, we find it equally troubling that the Pentagon used high-level access to DoD contracting officials as an enticement for these analysts to report the Bush Administration’s talking points on the war in Iraq . The military analysts involved in the Pentagon network reportedly represent more than 150 military contractors competing for the hundreds of billions of dollars made available by the Global War on Terror. These analysts were granted special access to the high ranking civilian and military leaders directly involved in determining how war funding should be spent. Such access gave the companies they represent a clear competitive advantage and may have created a culture in which analysts felt they needed to serve as the mouthpiece for the administration in order to gain military contracts for the companies they represent.

Your office is directly responsible for eliminating waste, fraud and abuse at the Department of Defense. Moreover, your mission includes promoting integrity and serving the public interest. This appears to be a high-level, well orchestrated program that was put in place that we presume your office is aware of. We therefore request your response to the following questions:

1) When did your office first become aware of this program and did you investigate the matter? If you did open an investigation please provide us with your report. If not, please explain why?

2) In every fiscal year since this program’s inception, Section 8001 of the yearly Defense Appropriations bills signed into law has made clear that “No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by the Congress.” Do you believe that the activities conducted through this program are in violation of that law or any other? If not, given that this program certainly cost money and was not authorized by Congress, please explain.

3) Do you believe that a situation in which individuals representing military contractors obtain unrivaled access to key senior officials and carry out the wishes of those officials creates an environment that is ripe for waste, fraud and abuse?

4) Your office includes a unit specifically charged with investigating senior officials. Along with Mr. Rumsfeld and Ms. Clarke, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace and then Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs James T. Conway were allegedly involved in the program. High-level officials outside of DoD were also reportedly involved, including Vice President Dick Cheney, and perhaps others inside the DoD as well. Has your office investigated any senior level DoD officials? If so, please provide your findings? If not, please explain why?

5) Has your office investigated whether any contract awards were compromised or tainted as a result of the special access granted to the military analysts?

6) We understand that in the aftermath of The New York Times story and facing criticism from Congress, Robert Hastings, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs determined the program should be suspended indefinitely pending an internal review. Can you please confirm whether your office is conducting this internal review and if so whether you believe the program should be permanently terminated and whether any similar programs in the future should be banned?

When the Department of Defense misleads the American people by having them believe that they are listening to the views of objective military analysts when in fact these individuals are simply replaying DoD talking points, the department is clearly betraying the public trust. Moreover, when these analysts are simultaneously representing defense contractors, the apparent conflict of interest can easily lead to fraud and abuse. We find this deeply troubling, and expect you will share our deep concern.

We thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.


Rosa DeLauro

Earl Blumenauer

Lois Capps

Joe Courtney

Susan Davis

Anna Eshoo

Chaka Fattah

Barney Frank

Raúl Grijalva

Maurice Hinchey

Mazie Hirono

Paul Hodes

Michael Honda

Darlene Hooley

Jesse Jackson Jr.

Steve Kagen

Patrick Kennedy

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrck

Dennis Kucinich

John Larson

Nita M. Lowey

Carolyn Maloney

Ed Markey

Betty McCollum

Jim McDermott

Jim McGovern

Chris Murphy

Dave Obey

Bill Pascrell

Ed Pastor

Tim Ryan

Jose Serrano

Louise Slaughter

John Olver

Jan Schakowsky

Pete Stark

Betty Sutton

John Tierney

Mark Udall

Robert Wexler

John Yarmuth


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.


General Happy Swellspin, Ret. cartoon by Mark Fiore

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The neoconning of a nation: Vice-President, shilling troupe of retired generals, deliver fantastic tales for their cause

PBS: TV Generals Pentagon Propagandist & It’s Illegal!

25 Civilians Killed in America For Each GI Killed In Iraq

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 5, 2008

Preoccupied with the fighting in Sadr City, it may have escaped President Bush’s notice that millions of African-Americans live in blighted neighborhoods, some of which, like Sadr City, also appear to have been ravaged by bloodshed and violence.

“The physical landscape of such neighborhoods often consists of abandoned buildings, poor-quality housing stock, unclean streets, and a low quality of municipal services—particularly schools and recreational facilities,” urban affairs experts James Carr and Nandinee Kutty write in their new book, “Segregation: The Rising Costs For America”(Routledge). “High levels of crime, violence, and drug trafficking created extreme social disorder in America’s jobless ghettos,” write Kutty, an urban housing consultant and Carr, Chief Operating Officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Chicago’s police superintendent Jody Weis doesn’t have to read about violence in books. The Associated Press reported April 21st Weis “blamed an excess of guns and gangs for a rash of 26 shootings over the weekend that killed (eight) and wounded victims from 13 to 65 years old.” Similar reports of slaughter have been seeping like swamp gas out of Philadelphia, Richmond, Calif., Cincinnati, Oakland, New Haven, and others. “Violent Crime In Cities Shows Sharp Surge, Reversing Trend,” The New York Times reported March 9th. Since September 11, 2001, nearly 100,000 people have been murdered in the U.S., The Times’ Bob Herbert wrote last September 29th, surveying a period of just six years. As Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, put it: “There are pockets of crime in this country that are astounding.”

Let’s see now, four thousand goes into 100,000 25 times, so for every GI killed in Iraq, 25 American civilians are murdered in USA and you can’t blame it on “Islamofascists.” Maybe President Bush’s would pay attention to our home-grown terrorism if newspapers publish photographs of all the local children and adults that have been murdered in their communities just as they print the pictures of GI’s killed in the Middle East. Bush won’t change his policy, of course, but the graphics might make Americans realize Iraq is a trillion-dollar sideshow we can’t afford because we have an urgent crisis at home.

Back in 1962, the National Urban League’s Whitney Young called for a “Marshall Plan” to combat urban poverty and President Kennedy didn’t respond, either. Generation after generation, America consigns its minorities to largely segregated cities, some even more segregated today (80 and 90 percent) than they were in 1860. Congress is shelling out $700 billion to fight wars around the world this year but can’t find pennies to open the doors of opportunity to our segregated millions.

A single fighter plane today can cost $15 million. You can hire a lot of good teachers with that kind of money. You can finance a lot of housing. You can create a lot of domestic jobs. Sure, there are whites who insist blacks should lift themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps—without recognizing that in some ghettos the most lucrative business open to the poor is drug-running. As Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA told AP, “The criminal economy is one of the only alternatives in some of these places. You basically have the criminalization of a whole community, particularly in some inner cities.” Result: of 2.3 million Americans behind bars, 500,000 of them were caged for drug crimes. And who is surprised that about 40% of them are African-Americans? Steve Mariotti of the non-profit National Foundation For Teaching Entrepreneurship(NFTE) says drug gang members display much the same ingenuity as entrepreneurs—but lack constructive opportunities for their talents. NFTE has helped 150,000 inner city youth “turn street smarts into business smarts,” so it can be done. Kids who once served as lookouts for drug lords are running legit start-ups of their own, taking a bite out of crime.

It’s fortunate some inner city kids can create their own businesses because racism in employment is alive and well. Just as real estate operators steer minority renters and home-seekers away from functional, white suburbs, employers in those suburbs don’t have openings when minority job-seekers knock. “There is strong evidence that prejudiced attitudes on the part of employers result in discrimination against qualified minority job applicants,” writes Margery Turner, director of the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities policy center, in “Segregation.” “Blacks are particularly unlikely to be hired for jobs that require higher cognitive skills, especially daily computer use, arithmetic, or customer interaction. Many analysts have suggested that customer prejudice may also be a factor, since the racial composition of a firm’s workforce has been found to be related both to the race of the manager and to the racial composition of the firm’s customers.” Turner adds, “In general, minority job seekers are less successful in using their networks of family and friends than whites. Again, although residential segregation is not the only reason why minorities have less effective networks, it certainly is a factor, particularly for minorities living in high-poverty center city neighborhoods and also for those in the segregated suburbs.”

And as long as public education is funded from property taxes, white school children continue to enjoy a competitive advantage. Deborah McKoy and Jeffrey Vincent, both with the University of California at Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools, point out a single-family home in predominantly Prince George’s county, Md., outside Washington, D.C., was priced at $195,400 in 2003 compared to $365,900 for a house in predominantly white Fairfax county, Va. “Residential segregation clearly contributes to minorities’ unequal educational attainment and hence to their disadvantaged position in the evolving labor market,” they write in “Segregation.” “Black high school graduation rates, employment rates, and wages are all negatively affected by the level of black-white segregation in a city. Other things being equal, high levels of segregation have shown to increase high school dropout rates among blacks, reduce employment among blacks, (while increasing the white employment rate), and widen the gap between black and white wages.”

The struggle to create a color-blind republic with a level playing field has been underway in earnest ever since returning black World War Two veterans decided “we aren’t going to take it anymore.” Significant gains have been made over stubborn opposition, gains that Rev. Martin Luther King and others paid for with their blood, yet equal opportunity remains America’s unfinished business. If injustice continues to breed poverty and crime, we may soon be sending our kids to school in bullet-proof vests, just like the flak jackets Commander-in-Chief Bush’s embassy workers wear in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant and reporter. During the 1960s he worked in an executive capacity in the civil rights movement. Disclosure: Steve Mariotti cited in this article is a former business associate of this writer. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo

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.

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© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
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US prison population dwarfs that of other nations

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Bullets and Bananas: The Violence of Free Trade in Guatemala

Dandelion Salad

by Cyril Mychalejko
May 3rd, 2008

Less than 24 hours after President Bush met with Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom at the White House on Monday, a worker from a union that filed a trade complaint with Washington against the Guatemalan government was murdered.

Continue reading

The Winds Of The Right Over Europe By Gaither Stewart

By Gaither Stewart
Writer, Dandelion Salad
May 5, 2008

(Rome) I feel sick.

She says I’m sick in the head.

Actually I’m sick in the heart, sick in my viscera. My head reels, I feel chronic vertigo.

She says it’s only paranoia.

Continue reading

Israel at 60 – Crusader Anxiety By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
May 5, 2008

EVERY TIME I hear the voice of David Ben-Gurion uttering the words “Therefore we are gathered here…” I think of Issar Barsky, a charming youngster, the little brother of a girl-friend of mine.

The last time we met was in front of the dining hall of Kibbutz Hulda, on Friday, May 14, 1948.

In the coming night my company was to attack al-Qubab, an Arab village on the road to Jerusalem, east of Ramle. We were busy with preparations. I was cleaning my Czech-made rifle, when somebody came and told us that Ben-Gurion was just making a speech about the founding of the state.

Frankly, none of us was very interested in speeches by politicians in Tel Aviv. The city seemed so far away. The state, we knew, was here with us. If the Arabs were to win, there would be no state and no us. If we won, there would be a state. We were young and self-confident, and did not doubt for a moment that we would win.

But there was one detail that I was really curious about: what was the new state to be called? Judea? Zion? The Jewish State?

So I hastened to the dining hall. Ben-Gurion’s unmistakable voice was blaring from the radio. When he reached the words “…namely the State of Israel” I had had enough and left.

Outside I came across Issar. He was in another company, which was to attack another village that night. I told him about the name of the state and said “take care of yourself!”

Some days later he was killed. So I remember him as he was then: a boy of 19, a smiling, tall Sabra full of joie de vivre and innocence.


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.


Sixty Years of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation and Suffering

The Sorry State of Health Care in America by Ralph Nader

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
Monday, May 5, 2008

This is the grim story of a cancer patient, Lisa Kelly, and the famous, well endowed, non-profit M.D. Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas.

Barbara Martinez, a reporter for the Wall St. Journal, related the billing hurdles that Mrs. Kelly has been confronting since late 2006 in a shocking front-page story on April 28, 2008.

This is a tale of pay or die that recurs again and again all over our country and only in our country in the entire western world.

Advised by her physician to go to M.D. Anderson for urgent treatment of her leukemia, Mrs. Kelly was told she had to pay $105,000 up front before being admitted. The hospital declared her limited insurance unacceptable.

Sitting in the business office with seriously advanced cancer, she asked herself – “Are they going to send me home?” “Am I going to die?”

Time out from her torment for a moment. M.D. Anderson started this upfront payment demand in 2005 because of a spike in its bad debt load.

The Journal explains – “The bad debt is driven by a larger number of Americans who are uninsured or who don’t have enough insurance to cover costs if catastrophe strikes. Even among those with adequate insurance, deductibles and co-payments are growing so big that insured patients also have trouble paying hospitals.”

It isn’t as if non-profit hospitals like M.D. Anderson are hurting. Look at this finding in an Ohio State University study: net income per bed at non-profit hospitals tripled to $146,273 in 2005 from $50,669 in 2000. And you also may have noticed the huge pay packages awarded hospital executives.

M.D. Anderson, exempt from taxation, recipient of funds from large government programs and research grants has cash, investments and endowment totaling $1.9 billion, with net income of $310 million last year, the Journal reports.

Back to the 52 year old, Lisa Kelly. She and her husband returned with a check for $45,000. After a blood test and biopsy, the hospital oncologist urged admittance quickly. Then the hospital demanded an additional $60,000-$45,000 just for the lab tests and $15,000 for part of the cost of the treatment.

To shorten the story, she received chemotherapy for over a year. Often her appointment was “blocked” until she made another payment.

In a particularly grotesque incident, she was hooked up to a chemotherapy pump, but the nurses were not allowed to change the chemo bag until Mr. Kelly made another payment.

She endured other indignities and overcharges. Reporter Martinez cites $360 for blood tests that insurers pay $20 or less for and up to $120 for saline pouches that cost less than $2 retail.

Imagine anything like Mrs. Kelly’s predicament and pressures occurring in Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Holland, England or any other western country. It would never happen.

These countries have universal single payer health insurance. No one dies because they cannot afford health care. In America, 18,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Many more get sick or become sicker.

None of these countries spend more than 11% of their GDP on healthcare. The U.S. spends over 16% of its GDP on health care and does not cover 47 million people and tens of millions are under covered.

In the U.S. the drug companies charge their highest prices in the world, even though we, the taxpayers, subsidized them in large ways. In other countries like Mexico and Canada, they cannot get away with such drug price gouging, with a pay or die ultimatum.

In the U.S., computerized billing fraud and abuse cost over $200 billion last year, according to the GAO arm of Congress. In other counties, single payer prevents such looting.

In other countries, administrative expenses of their single payer system are about a third of what the Aetna’s and other insurers rack up.

In other western countries, medical outcomes for children and adults and paid family leave are far superior to that of the U.S. The World Health Organization ranks the US health care system 37th in the world.

When apologists in Washington hear these statistics, they say “but we have the best medical research centers in the world, like M.D. Anderson.”

Clearly much is wrong with the nature of pricing health care.

Like other hospitals, M.D. Anderson is caught in a macabre spider’s web of cost allocations mixing treatment costs with research budgets, cash reserves, and just plain accounting gimmicks that burden patients. (Documents from Mrs. Kelly’s case are available at today.)

When a friend showed the Journal’s article to a Dutch visitor, the latter blurted in anger – “you are a nation of sheep.” Not a very flattering description of “the land of the free, home of the brave.”

Someday, soon maybe, Americans will finally band together and say “enough already,” we’re going for full Medicare for all- without loopholes for corporate profiteers and purveyors of waste and fraud.

Last month after being in remission, Lisa Kelly’s leukemia has come back.

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.


Desperate For Health Care

How to Get Universal Health Care by Joel S. Hirschhorn

The McCain Health Plan: Millions Lose Coverage, Health Costs Worsen, & Insurance & Drug Industries Win

US Relief Organization Takes Expedition to the USA (video) + What have we become as a nation?

No End to Media Myths About Healthcare Policy

God Bless Ralph Nader By Joel Hirschhorn

Ralph Nader posts

Nader for President 2008

Perhaps 60% of today’s oil price is pure speculation

Dandelion Salad

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, May 2, 2008

The price of crude oil today is not made according to any traditional relation of supply to demand. It’s controlled by an elaborate financial market system as well as by the four major Anglo-American oil companies. As much as 60% of today’s crude oil price is pure speculation driven by large trader banks and hedge funds. It has nothing to do with the convenient myths of Peak Oil. It has to do with control of oil and its price. How?

First, the crucial role of the international oil exchanges in London and New York is crucial to the game. Nymex in New York and the ICE Futures in London today control global benchmark oil prices which in turn set most of the freely traded oil cargo. They do so via oil futures contracts on two grades of crude oil—West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent.

A third rather new oil exchange, the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), trading Dubai crude, is more or less a daughter of Nymex, with Nymex President, James Newsome, sitting on the board of DME and most key personnel British or American citizens.

Brent is used in spot and long-term contracts to value as much of crude oil produced in global oil markets each day. The Brent price is published by a private oil industry publication, Platt’s. Major oil producers including Russia and Nigeria use Brent as a benchmark for pricing the crude they produce. Brent is a key crude blend for the European market and, to some extent, for Asia.

WTI has historically been more of a US crude oil basket. Not only is it used as the basis for US-traded oil futures, but it’s also a key benchmark for US production.


‘The tail that wags the dog’

All this is well and official. But how today’s oil prices are really determined is done by a process so opaque only a handful of major oil trading banks such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley have any idea who is buying and who selling oil futures or derivative contracts that set physical oil prices in this strange new world of “paper oil.”

With the development of unregulated international derivatives trading in oil futures over the past decade or more, the way has opened for the present speculative bubble in oil prices.

Since the advent of oil futures trading and the two major London and New York oil futures contracts, control of oil prices has left OPEC and gone to Wall Street. It is a classic case of the “tail that wags the dog.”

A June 2006 US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report on “The Role of Market Speculation in rising oil and gas prices,” noted, “…there is substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that the large amount of speculation in the current market has significantly increased prices.”

What the Senate committee staff documented in the report was a gaping loophole in US Government regulation of oil derivatives trading so huge a herd of elephants could walk through it. That seems precisely what they have been doing in ramping oil prices through the roof in recent months.

The Senate report was ignored in the media and in the Congress.

The report pointed out that the Commodity Futures Trading Trading Commission, a financial futures regulator, had been mandated by Congress to ensure that prices on the futures market reflect the laws of supply and demand rather than manipulative practices or excessive speculation. The US Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) states, “Excessive speculation in any commodity under contracts of sale of such commodity for future delivery . . . causing sudden or unreasonable fluctuations or unwarranted changes in the price of such commodity, is an undue and unnecessary burden on interstate commerce in such commodity.”

Further, the CEA directs the CFTC to establish such trading limits “as the Commission finds are necessary to diminish, eliminate, or prevent such burden.” Where is the CFTC now that we need such limits?

They seem to have deliberately walked away from their mandated oversight responsibilities in the world’s most important traded commodity, oil.

Enron has the last laugh…

As that US Senate report noted:

“Until recently, US energy futures were traded exclusively on regulated exchanges within the United States, like the NYMEX, which are subject to extensive oversight by the CFTC, including ongoing monitoring to detect and prevent price manipulation or fraud. In recent years, however, there has been a tremendous growth in the trading of contracts that look and are structured just like futures contracts, but which are traded on unregulated OTC electronic markets. Because of their similarity to futures contracts they are often called “futures look-alikes.”

The only practical difference between futures look-alike contracts and futures contracts is that the look-alikes are traded in unregulated markets whereas futures are traded on regulated exchanges. The trading of energy commodities by large firms on OTC electronic exchanges was exempted from CFTC oversight by a provision inserted at the behest of Enron and other large energy traders into the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 in the waning hours of the 106th Congress.

The impact on market oversight has been substantial. NYMEX traders, for example, are required to keep records of all trades and report large trades to the CFTC. These Large Trader Reports, together with daily trading data providing price and volume information, are the CFTC’s primary tools to gauge the extent of speculation in the markets and to detect, prevent, and prosecute price manipulation. CFTC Chairman Reuben Jeffrey recently stated: “The Commission’s Large Trader information system is one of the cornerstones of our surveillance program and enables detection of concentrated and coordinated positions that might be used by one or more traders to attempt manipulation.”

In contrast to trades conducted on the NYMEX, traders on unregulated OTC electronic exchanges are not required to keep records or file Large Trader Reports with the CFTC, and these trades are exempt from routine CFTC oversight. In contrast to trades conducted on regulated futures exchanges, there is no limit on the number of contracts a speculator may hold on an unregulated OTC electronic exchange, no monitoring of trading by the exchange itself, and no reporting of the amount of outstanding contracts (“open interest”) at the end of each day.” 1

Then, apparently to make sure the way was opened really wide to potential market oil price manipulation, in January 2006, the Bush Administration’s CFTC permitted the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the leading operator of electronic energy exchanges, to use its trading terminals in the United States for the trading of US crude oil futures on the ICE futures exchange in London – called “ICE Futures.”

Previously, the ICE Futures exchange in London had traded only in European energy commodities – Brent crude oil and United Kingdom natural gas. As a United Kingdom futures market, the ICE Futures exchange is regulated solely by the UK Financial Services Authority. In 1999, the London exchange obtained the CFTC’s permission to install computer terminals in the United States to permit traders in New York and other US cities to trade European energy commodities through the ICE exchange.

The CFTC opens the door

Then, in January 2006, ICE Futures in London began trading a futures contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, a type of crude oil that is produced and delivered in the United States. ICE Futures also notified the CFTC that it would be permitting traders in the United States to use ICE terminals in the United States to trade its new WTI contract on the ICE Futures London exchange. ICE Futures as well allowed traders in the United States to trade US gasoline and heating oil futures on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Despite the use by US traders of trading terminals within the United States to trade US oil, gasoline, and heating oil futures contracts, the CFTC has until today refused to assert any jurisdiction over the trading of these contracts.

Persons within the United States seeking to trade key US energy commodities – US crude oil, gasoline, and heating oil futures – are able to avoid all US market oversight or reporting requirements by routing their trades through the ICE Futures exchange in London instead of the NYMEX in New York.

Is that not elegant? The US Government energy futures regulator, CFTC opened the way to the present unregulated and highly opaque oil futures speculation. It may just be coincidence that the present CEO of NYMEX, James Newsome, who also sits on the Dubai Exchange, is a former chairman of the US CFTC. In Washington doors revolve quite smoothly between private and public posts.

A glance at the price for Brent and WTI futures prices since January 2006 indicates the remarkable correlation between skyrocketing oil prices and the unregulated trade in ICE oil futures in US markets. Keep in mind that ICE Futures in London is owned and controlled by a USA company based in Atlanta Georgia.

In January 2006 when the CFTC allowed the ICE Futures the gaping exception, oil prices were trading in the range of $59-60 a barrel. Today some two years later we see prices tapping $120 and trend upwards. This is not an OPEC problem, it is a US Government regulatory problem of malign neglect.

By not requiring the ICE to file daily reports of large trades of energy commodities, it is not able to detect and deter price manipulation. As the Senate report noted, “The CFTC’s ability to detect and deter energy price manipulation is suffering from critical information gaps, because traders on OTC electronic exchanges and the London ICE Futures are currently exempt from CFTC reporting requirements. Large trader reporting is also essential to analyze the effect of speculation on energy prices.”

The report added, “ICE’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other evidence indicate that its over-the-counter electronic exchange performs a price discovery function — and thereby affects US energy prices — in the cash market for the energy commodities traded on that exchange.”

Hedge Funds and Banks driving oil prices

In the most recent sustained run-up in energy prices, large financial institutions, hedge funds, pension funds, and other investors have been pouring billions of dollars into the energy commodities markets to try to take advantage of price changes or hedge against them. Most of this additional investment has not come from producers or consumers of these commodities, but from speculators seeking to take advantage of these price changes. The CFTC defines a speculator as a person who “does not produce or use the commodity, but risks his or her own capital trading futures in that commodity in hopes of making a profit on price changes.”

The large purchases of crude oil futures contracts by speculators have, in effect, created an additional demand for oil, driving up the price of oil for future delivery in the same manner that additional demand for contracts for the delivery of a physical barrel today drives up the price for oil on the spot market. As far as the market is concerned, the demand for a barrel of oil that results from the purchase of a futures contract by a speculator is just as real as the demand for a barrel that results from the purchase of a futures contract by a refiner or other user of petroleum.

Perhaps 60% of oil prices today pure speculation

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley today are the two leading energy trading firms in the United States. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase are major players and fund numerous hedge funds as well who speculate.

In June 2006, oil traded in futures markets at some $60 a barrel and the Senate investigation estimated that some $25 of that was due to pure financial speculation. One analyst estimated in August 2005 that US oil inventory levels suggested WTI crude prices should be around $25 a barrel, and not $60.

That would mean today that at least $50 to $60 or more of today’s $115 a barrel price is due to pure hedge fund and financial institution speculation. However, given the unchanged equilibrium in global oil supply and demand over recent months amid the explosive rise in oil futures prices traded on Nymex and ICE exchanges in New York and London it is more likely that as much as 60% of the today oil price is pure speculation. No one knows officially except the tiny handful of energy trading banks in New York and London and they certainly aren’t talking.

By purchasing large numbers of futures contracts, and thereby pushing up futures

prices to even higher levels than current prices, speculators have provided a financial incentive for oil companies to buy even more oil and place it in storage. A refiner will purchase extra oil today, even if it costs $115 per barrel, if the futures price is even higher.

As a result, over the past two years crude oil inventories have been steadily growing, resulting in US crude oil inventories that are now higher than at any time in the previous eight years. The large influx of speculative investment into oil futures has led to a situation where we have both high supplies of crude oil and high crude oil prices.

Compelling evidence also suggests that the oft-cited geopolitical, economic, and natural factors do not explain the recent rise in energy prices can be seen in the actual data on crude oil supply and demand. Although demand has significantly increased over the past few years, so have supplies.

Over the past couple of years global crude oil production has increased along with the increases in demand; in fact, during this period global supplies have exceeded demand, according to the US Department of Energy. The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently forecast that in the next few years global surplus production capacity will continue to grow to between 3 and 5 million barrels per day by 2010, thereby “substantially thickening the surplus capacity cushion.”

Dollar and oil link

A common speculation strategy amid a declining USA economy and a falling US dollar is for speculators and ordinary investment funds desperate for more profitable investments amid the US securitization disaster, to take futures positions selling the dollar “short” and oil “long.”

For huge US or EU pension funds or banks desperate to get profits following the collapse in earnings since August 2007 and the US real estate crisis, oil is one of the best ways to get huge speculative gains. The backdrop that supports the current oil price bubble is continued unrest in the Middle East, in Sudan, in Venezuela and Pakistan and firm oil demand in China and most of the world outside the US. Speculators trade on rumor, not fact.

In turn, once major oil companies and refiners in North America and EU countries begin to hoard oil, supplies appear even tighter lending background support to present prices.

Because the over-the-counter (OTC) and London ICE Futures energy markets are unregulated, there are no precise or reliable figures as to the total dollar value of recent spending on investments in energy commodities, but the estimates are consistently in the range of tens of billions of dollars.

The increased speculative interest in commodities is also seen in the increasing popularity of commodity index funds, which are funds whose price is tied to the price of a basket of various commodity futures. Goldman Sachs estimates that pension funds and mutual funds have invested a total of approximately $85 billion in commodity index funds, and that investments in its own index, the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), has tripled over the past few years. Notable is the fact that the US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, is former Chairman of Goldman Sachs.

F. William Engdahl is an Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. He may be contacted at

1 United States Senate Premanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 109th Congress 2nd Session, The Role of Market speculation in Rising Oil and Gas Prices: A Need to Put the Cop Back on the Beat; Staff Report, prepared by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, Washington D.C., June 27, 2006. p. 3.

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.

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Sixty Years of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation and Suffering

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, May 5, 2008

On May 14, Israelis will commemorate the 60th anniversary of their “War of Independence” and founding of the Jewish State. It also marks 60 years of Palestinian Nakba suffering. The web site recounts the history:

— from the late Ottoman empire period; to

— the birth of Zionism; to

— the early Jewish colonization of Palestine; to

— the 1917 Balfour Declaration support for a “Jewish national home in Palestine;” to

— the simultaneous British betrayal of the indigenous Arabs; to

— the British occupation; to

— its delayed promised end; to

— the founding of the Haganah underground military organization; to

— the first British (1922) Palestine census showing a population of 757,182 – 78% Muslim, 11% Jewish and 9.6% Christian; to

— the official 1923 establishment of the British Mandate period; to

— the 1920s Jewish population increase to 16% on 4% of Palestinian land; to

— the terrorist Irgun (IZT) National Military Organization established in 1931; to

— the terrorist Stern Gang founded in 1939; to

— the 1945 Jewish population growth to 31% of the total; to

— the October 1947 US endorsement of partitioning Palestine at a time Palestinians comprised two-thirds of the population and Jews one-third; to

— the November 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181 to end the British Mandate by August 1, 1948 and partition Palestine – 56% to Jews, the remainder to Palestinians, and for Jerusalem to be an international city; to

— Britain recommending (in December) an end to Mandate Palestine on May 15, 1948 and independent Jewish and Palestinian states to be established two weeks later; to

— Harry Truman secretly meeting Chaim Weizmann at the White House on March 25, 1948 and pledging support for the declaration of Israel on May 15; to

— the State of Israel established at 4PM on May 14, 1948; to

— the official end of the British Mandate on May 15; to

— Harry Truman recognizing the Jewish State on the same day.

David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first prime minister. On March 10, 1948, he met with leading Zionists and young Jewish military officers in Tel-Aviv’s “Red House.” They finalized plans to ethnically cleanse Palestine through a process of siege, intimidation and terror – to bomb and depopulate villages and cities; massacre innocent people; burn homes, property and goods; and prevent expelled Palestinians from returning.

Dalet (Plan D) was the final master plan. It was for war without mercy – mass slaughter, targeted assassinations, rapes, other atrocities, displacement and destruction. It was to establish an exclusive Jewish State without an Arab presence.

It took six months to complete, consider the toll, and understand the Nakba’s meaning. It displaced 750,000 to 800,000 people – men, women, children, the elderly and infant civilians. Many hundreds or thousands of others were killed. Sweeping destruction was carried out. It erased 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities.

The plan’s roots went way back:

— to the birth of Zionism;

— the 1901Jewish National Fund (JNF) beginning; it was to compile a detailed registry of Arab villages so later Zionists knew what to colonize and where; it was also to buy and occupy Palestinian land;

— by the late 1930s, it was a detailed topographic blueprint of every Arab village and urban area; its information included husbandry, cultivated land, number of trees, quality of fruits, crops, average amount of land per family, number of cars, shop owners, Palestinian clans and their political affiliation, description of mosques and names of their imams, civil servants and more;

— by 1947, it also included “wanted” persons, by villages, to be targeted for elimination – leaders to be arrested and summarily executed in cold blood to create a power vacuum;

— the process began in December 1947, five months before the British Mandate ended; Britain did nothing to deter it; David Ben-Gurion led it from the 1920s to the 1960s; after ethnically cleansing Palestine he said: “We have come and we have stolen their country….We must do everything to insure they never do return.” Ten years earlier he wrote to his son: “We will expel the Arabs and take their places….with the force at our disposal;”

— other Israeli leaders expressed the same mindset; two were former prime ministers – Golda Meir said: “There are no Palestinians” and Menachem Begin and Nobel Peace Prize recipient called Palestinians “two-legged beasts” and said Jews were the “Master Race” and “divine gods on this planet;”

— Labor Party leader Haim Herzog was more discreet in expressing disdain for the Arabs; in 1972, he said “I am not prepared to consider (Palestinians) as partners in any respect in a land that has been consecrated in the hands of our nation for thousands of years. For the Jews of this land there cannot be any partner.”

Earlier in 1969, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan described the 1947 – 49 success: “Jewish villages were built in place of Arab (ones). You do not know the names of these Arab villages (because they) no longer exist….There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Like other leading Israelis, Dayan expressed scorn for all Palestinians and told his Labor Party colleagues that they “shall continue to live like dogs….”

The Palestinian Holocaust recounts the toll. It lists the destroyed villages in 14 Palestinian Districts, including Gaza, Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and Hebron. One was Deir Yassin in the Jerusalem District. On April 9, 1948, it was the site of an infamous Nakba massacre. Israeli soldiers entered the village, machine-gunned houses randomly and killed many inside them. The remaining villagers were assembled and murdered in cold blood. Included were children, infants, the elderly and women who were first raped. The total number killed is uncertain but best estimates place it between 93 and 120. In addition, dozens more were killed in the fighting that ensued, and many other villages met the same fate in the systematic cleansing plan – to seize as much Palestinian land as possible leaving the fewest number of Arabs on it.

In December 1947, Jews in Palestine numbered 600,000 compared to 1.3 million Palestinians. Ben-Gurion ordered them removed with commands like: “Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion.” He meant depopulation; obliteration; homes blown up, burned or bulldozed; their inhabitants inside killed; shooting anything that moved, especially fighting-age men and boys who might pose a combat or resistance threat; and leaving behind rubble, a forgotten landscape and a proud history erased.

The Lifta ruins can be seen from Jerusalem. All that was left in Dayr Aban were piles of rubble, collapsed roofs and part of some standing walls. Only two houses remained in Barqa. One is deserted. The other is a warehouse. Jura became the city of Ashqelon. Its Jewish population is now about 117,000. The only Arab remains in al-Faluja are the village mosque foundations and fragments of walls. The Israeli town of Qiryat Gat now stands on land between al-Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiyya and on al-Faluja land as well. Hundreds of other Arab villages have similar stories. They were erased and replaced by Jewish-only development.

An eye witness to the Deir Yassin massacre recounts the horror:

“I was (there) when the Jews attacked….(They) closed on the village amid exchanges of fire with us. Once they entered the village, fighting became very heavy in the eastern side and later it spread to other parts, to the quarry, to the village center until it reached the western edge….The Jews used all sorts of automatic weapons, tanks, missiles, cannons. They enter(ed) houses and kill(ed) women and children indiscriminately. The (village) youths….fought bravely.

We had no aid or support….They took about 40 prisoners….After the battle was over, they took them to the quarry where they shot them dead and threw their bodies in the quarry….they took (other) prisoners and killed them….they killed the youths.”

Other accounts spoke of shootings, bombs exploding and a mother being killed with her husband, son and brother. A nurse was shot dead as well as the daughter of a friend and her baby. “Whomever tried to run away was shot dead.” It was cold-blooded murder.

After the battle, “the Jews took elderly men and women and youths, including four of my cousins and a nephew. They took them all. Women who had on them gold and money, were stripped of their gold. After the Jews removed their dead and wounded, they took the men to the quarry and sprayed them all with bullets.” One woman watched her son shot to death. “They later poured kerosene on his body and” burned it.

The men were fighting. “Eyewitnesses were only women. The elderly men were (used) to remove the dead, Arabs and Jews.” The Arab ones “were thrown in a well in the village center.” It all happened five weeks before the State of Israel was founded. Arabs died and were displaced to make Plan D a success. It worked because western powers supported it, and Arab neighbors were indifferent. Their intervention held off until May 15, five and a half months after the UN partition. When it began, it was with an inferior force that was no match against Israeli superiority, despite popular myth to the contrary.

It recounts how an outnumbered and outgunned Jewish force prevailed against overwhelming odds. Pure rubbish. In fact, the Jews held a clear advantage. As long as the British stayed out (and they did), the outcome was never in doubt. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq held off intervening as long as possible, then reluctantly stepped in with token forces. It was too little, too late, and, for its part, Jordan (with its potent military) stayed out entirely in return for most of the West Bank as a payoff.

Intervening Arab forces performed poorly. They overstretched their supply lines, ran out of ammunition, mostly used antiquated weapons, and had no effective command and control. It was a testimony to their lack of commitment, not their ability to fight had they wished to.

Jews, in contrast, were supplied effective armaments from Soviet Russia and other Eastern bloc countries. They easily outgunned the Arabs and outclassed and outnumbered them as well. The outcome was never in doubt that a new Jewish State would emerge. On May 14, 1948, Israel signed separate armistice agreements with its four major warring adversaries. It gave Israel 78% of British Mandatory Palestine, 40% above its UN allotment. Palestinians got the other 22% comprising the West Bank and Gaza.

On December 11, 1948, a historic General Assembly resolution passed – UN Resolution 194 consisting of 15 articles. Four were most important. Article 7 protected and provided free access to the Holy Places. Article 8 demilitarized Jerusalem and placed it under UN control. Article 9 called for free access to Jerusalem, and Article 11 is most remembered for granting Palestinian refugees the right of return or to be compensated for their loss if they chose not to. From 1948, to the present, Israel defied the UN mandate and got away with it. It was because of western support and Arab indifference. As a result, it was able to terrorize remaining Arabs inside Israel, and set in motion the eventual Gaza and West Bank occupation.

The War Ended – State Terrorism Was Just Beginning

Throughout 1949 in the war’s aftermath, Israel pursued another one – a war of terror against the remaining Arab population. It set a six decade precedent. Israel now belonged to Jews. Arabs were unwelcome. State security forces cracked down to show how much.

Thousands of displaced Palestinians were rounded up and imprisoned. Others were targeted, harassed and abused. They lost everything – their land, homes, fields, crops, places of worship, freedom of movement and expression, and any hope for fair treatment in the new Jewish State.

Naked and undisguised racism confronted them. They were issued identity cards with penalties up to 1.5 years in prison and immediate transfer to an “unauthorized” and “suspicious” Arab pen if caught without them.

Persecution was relentless, much the way it is today. Roadblocks and checkpoints went up, curfews imposed, violators shot on sight, and systematic abuse inflicted. In addition, thousands of Palestinians were conscripted, sent to labor camps, and forced to help build the new Jewish state. Conditions there were deplorable. Quarry laborers performed arduous work, carried heavy rocks, and had to live on one potato and half a dried fish for daily sustenance. Complainers or slackers were beaten, many severely. Others, considered a threat, were simply shot.

Other Arabs weren’t treated much better. Human rights abuses were appalling. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) documented them. Palestinians (now Israeli citizens) got no protections and were afforded no rights. They were subjected to relentless abuses. Their mosques were profaned, schools vandalized, homes robbed and at times stripped bare in broad daylight. Palestinians reported that not a single home or Arab shop escaped the onslaught. Authorities did nothing to deter it. They made things worse.

Palestinians (inside Israel) were transfered from their homes, moved to undesired locations, crammed into confined ghettos, they became open-air prisons, and treatment there was horrific. The ICRC and UN reported beatings, rapes and other abuses. Israel was undergoing transformation. Its Arab character was being erased. It affected about 150,000 remaining Arab Israelis in the new Jewish State.

Formal ethnic cleansing ended in 1949, dispossession and displacements nonetheless continued, and a new Committee for Arab Affairs was established to defuse growing international pressure to enforce UN Resolution 194, especially the right of return under Article 11.

Arab Israelis lost all their rights and were placed under military rule. In addition, discriminatory laws were passed, like the Law of the Land of Israel. It stipulated that the Jewish National Fund (JNF – the Jewish State landowner) was forbidden to sell or lease land to non-Jews.

From inception, Israel has had no formal constitution. It’s governed instead by its Basic Law. Nine laws were passed between 1958 and 1988, all of which pertained to the institutions of state. No basic rights were enacted until 1992. That year, the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom was passed authorizing the Knesset to overturn laws contrary to the right to dignity, life, freedom, privacy, property and to leave and enter the country. The law states: “There shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person. All persons are entitled to protection” of these rights, and “There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise.”

Israeli Basic Laws are for Jews only. Arab Israelis have no rights under them with one exception – the right to run for public office in the Knesset, become a nominal legislative member, but have no power beyond a public stage for their views to be shouted down and ignored.

Palestinians have endured six decades of shattered hope and dreams. They were uprooted from their homes, denied their basic rights, given little outside recognition or aid, blamed for Israeli crimes, terrorized without mercy, falsely promised peace, yet condemned to a state of siege under which nothing will change without outside pressure to force it.

Since 1948, Palestinians have lived in a state of limbo. Their Nakba never ended. What’s left of their country is occupied. They have no recognized nation and no power over their daily lives. They live in constant fear. They’re economically strangled; dispossessed of their land and homes; isolated under siege; collectively punished; denied free movement; casually murdered; ruthlessly arrested, imprisoned and tortured; afflicted by random curfews; invaded, bombed, and shot at; extra-judicially assassinated; and constricted by roadblocks, checkpoints, electric fences and the Separation Wall that the World Court ruled illegal.

Israel: The World’s “Worst Brand”

That’s according a 2006 National Brands Index (NBI) study. On November 22, 2006, Israel Today reported the findings. They were compiled by “government advisor Simon Anholt and powered by global market intelligence solutions provider GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.).”

The survey polled 25,903 “online consumers” in 35 countries across the world. It was to measure respondents perceptions “across six areas of national competence,” including governance, people, culture, heritage and immigration.

“Israel’s brand (was) by a considerable margin the most negative we have ever measured in the NBI, and (came) at the bottom of the ranking on almost every question (asked about 36 countries).”

Israel was ranked the least desired country to visit. Its people were ranked the “most unwelcoming in the world.” Surprisingly, Americans were as negative as others. They “ranked Israel slightly above China in terms of its conduct in the areas of international peace and security.”

Other recent opinion surveys report similar results. It’s encouraging to know that well over half of all Europeans rank Israel “the biggest threat to world peace” according to a 2003 European Commission poll. Israel is a pariah state. That’s the view of millions around the world in spite of dominant media efforts to say otherwise. Israel calls it growing anti-Semitism. That, of course, is rubbish. Jews and Israelis aren’t being singled out – only their criminal leaders. World public opinion justifiably condemns them.

Commemorating the Unforgivable

Jews in Israel and around the world will commemorate May 14. It’s the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel’s founding. Thousands of other Jews everywhere along with everyone of conscience stand with the Canadian Palestine Support Network (CalPalNet). They cannot celebrate. They will not celebrate. They remember the Nakba. They know it continues. They condemn 41 years of occupation; the starving and bombing of Gaza; the oppressive Separation Wall; the theft of Palestinian land; the building of illegal settlements; the denial of the right of return; the killings, torture, imprisonment and harassment; the denial of basic human rights; and Israel’s disdain for international law.

They “can (and) will continue (their) efforts to end these injustices, uphold international law,” and support every UN resolution demanding it. “This is the only road map to peace.” They, with millions of others, won’t ever stop working for it.

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

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting edge discussion with distinguished guests.

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Mosaic News – 5/2/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad



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


For more:
“13 Yemenis Killed in a Mosque Attack,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“No Breakthrough on Lebanese Presidential Elections,” Dubai TV, UAE
“May Day in Lebanon,” New TV, Lebanon
“Criminal Probe Against Olmert,” IBA TV, Israel
“Sarkozy Will Not Talk With Hamas,” France 24, France
“Turkey to Talk to Iraqi Kurds,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Karzai’s Guards Under Investigation,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Fellujah’s Coffee Man,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“MIR: Whitewashing Gitmo,” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

The other side of surge (vids)

Dandelion Salad


Iraqi filmmaker Ghaith Abdul-Ahad returns to Baghdad where anger and desperation appear at every turn.

Abdel-Karim Sekkar reports on the new omanisation policy in Oman.

People & Power shows how a group people are fighting desertification in Burkina Faso.


Shadowing Slaughter in Sadr City By Hala Jaber

Iraq: Corruption Eats Into Food Rations by Ali al-Fadhily & Dahr Jamail

The Last War & the Next One By Tom Engelhardt

Inside Story: Press freedom day (videos) + Gunmen kill Iraqi journalist

Dandelion Salad


Inside Story discusses Sami al-Hajj’s case and issues of press freedom worldwide.


Gunmen kill Iraqi journalist

Sun May 4, 10:33 AM ET

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) – Gunmen shot dead an Iraqi reporter on Sunday after hauling her out of a taxi in Mosul, a notoriously violent city in northern Iraq where journalists are often targeted and live in fear of their lives.

Police said Serwa Abdul-Wahab, in her mid-30s, was on her way to work when gunmen forced her out of the taxi in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, and shot her once in the head.


h/t: CLG


Al Jazeera Cameraman Sami al-Haj Released from Gitmo

Ex-Guantanamo prisoner welcomes al-Hajj release + Sami al-Hajj speaks