Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gaza Fishbowl (like killing fish in a bowl): Bush's Agenda of Destruction

On the third day of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, Juan Cole, writing in his Informed Comment blog (12.29.08) can’t understand Israel’s “end game here.” He doesn’t see any tactical or strategic value to the terror Israel is unleashing.

by destroying what was left of the Gaza middle class, surely they a throwing people into the arms of Hamas….Of course, there are only 1.5 million Gazans, and they increasingly are being forced to live in Haiti-like conditions, so in the short term the Israelis can do whatever they want to them. But I can't see this ending well for the Israelis in the long term.

Perhaps if U.S. involvement in the current massacre were considered, the answer to Prof Cole’s question would become clearer. In the 33 day 2006 Israeli War on Lebanon, many saw the hand of the U.S. in the planning of the war and its refusal to call for a quick end to the bombardment aimed largely at civilians. Indeed there were credible reports then that the U.S. was pressuring Israel to extend the war to Syria. But such a plan was too crazy and self destructive even for the Israelis.

In the current crisis, the perpetrators seem to have handled the public relations aspect more shrewdly, and U.S. involvement is rarely mentioned. Or perhaps it’s simply a matter of time before it will be generally understood that it’s Elliot Abrams, Bush and Cheney who are driving the current horror.

And once again, since Israeli isn’t benefiting, the question is who is?

Obviously it’s not for oil.

Is it for Empire? Imperialism? The military industrial complex? Crony capitalism? The die hards will say so, but such theories don’t seem to fit the current circumstances.

The Lobby? Well they’re unvarying in their support of whatever Israel does, but it’s not clear that it's to satisfy them that F-16s are bombing children and laying waste to the infrastructure of Gaza such as it was, making it as hard as possible for civil life to continue.

By chance, the last phrase is our best answer.

Making civil life impossible. A history of the last eight years. Has all the devastation been the result of mistakes? miscalculations?

It's been noted that the current offensive will make things even more difficult for the incoming administration. Should we see the ongoing horror as another post election parting gift from the Bush team? First Mumbai, now Gaza. Is there time to squeeze in more state terror before Jan 20, or is the killing and destruction in Gaza going to have to serve us till then?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pogrom in Gaza: Who is this helping, + Update

One point to make about the current U.S./Israeli pogrom in Gaza is that it’s a parting gift from Elliot Abrams and Bush and Cheney who doubtless gave the green light to the planning of the current massacre on November 5th.

The origins of the current hostilities go back to the Parliamentary election victory of Hamas in January 2006 engineered by the U.S. (with Elliot Abrams in charge) with the cynical understanding that a Hamas victory would allow them to ratchet up the oppression against a “terrorist” government.

It’s probably clear to many that the current aggression is “helping Israel” only if help means to commit some combination of genocide and expulsion first in Gaza and down the road in the West Bank.

The intended effect is not only to make it more and more impossible to live in Gaza and in Palestine but it’s to make it similarly impossible for the incoming Obama administration to walk back down the ladder of the always ratcheted up oppression to the status quo ante, to where there is some sort of modus vivendi between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Who is this helping?

Laura Rozen's website, warandpiece.com noted this article from the Washington Post today.12.28.08

WP: "Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza Strip Imperil Obama's Peace Chances. Likely Escalation Complicates Already-Delicate Diplomacy."
By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 28, 2008; Page A20

"By now Israel should have realized that [this kind of attack] rarely has any decisive effect," said Anthony H. Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "At best you get another faltering cease-fire, and then the whole thing begins again. Both sides have been escalating to nowhere." ...

"Now I think what the Obama administration faces is at least two years or more before they can really think of having any serious movement" on the peace process, Cordesman said. "Every time this kind of violence breaks out, it becomes harder to move forward. It just creates more of a climate of hostility and anger."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sara Roy: Manufacturing Genocide in Gaza + false flags, Afghanistan, more + Rick Warren via Left I on the News

Sara Roy’s important article should not be missed for its clear summary of the humanitarian crisis that U.S/Israeli policy is imposing on a million and a half or more people in Gaza. Here’s the first paragraph.
If Gaza Falls . . .; by Sara Roy

srael's siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel's siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated commercial sector has begun to form. The overwhelming majority of Gazans are impoverished and officially 49.1 per cent are unemployed. In fact the prospect of steady employment is rapidly disappearing for the majority of the population.

Read more:

Published December 23, 2008 by London Review of Books

As Roy suggests in her first sentence, the mechanism driving the Hamas rocket attacks is clear. To insure that rockets keep coming from Hamas, Israel provokes them by murdering Palestinian activists and civilians. And if one Israeli attack isn’t sufficient, the Israeli attacks just keep coming. When the Hamas rockets finally fall the Israelis have an excuse to close the borders. (I noticed on Link TV that one such rocket displayed by an Israeli official had Hebrew markings.)

Roy’s article also suggests an answer to how the Palestinians obtain at least some of their rockets -- by means of the tunnels to Egypt, the last and unofficial lifeline the Israelis allow and which the Israelis could cut off at any time.

Israel can’t abide Hamas because Hamas has still retained its nationalism, and won’t bow to many of Israel’s demands. That’s why Mahmoud Abbas, president of the PNA, gets an easier ride: because like Arafat before him, he’s a collaborationist. As they did for decades with Arafat, Israel permits or encourages his corruption in return for following their orders.

In a quibble, we could take issue with Roy’s suggestion that Israel’s purpose is to foist Gaza on Egypt. Hardly. Although a Gaza free of Palestinians which they could take over for themselves may be slightly over the horizon, the Israeli leadership requires the continued immiseration of Gaza and the continuation of the rocket attacks for domestic political reasons. While the rockets fall, Palestinian rockets continue to unify and strengthen the Israeli Jewish community behind the dominant and ever increasingly right wing leadership. The rocket attacks push aside domestic demands for reform. All the air is sucked out of any other positive agenda.

If Israel wanted an end to the Hamas rockets, all they’d have to do is suspend their attacks on Palestine. An agreement could be worked out in less than 24 hours. So we have a clear example of manufactured “terrorism.”

The same manufactured terror is largely true with regard to the Bush-Cheney “war on terror” especially in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. For the most part, all the high profile terror attacks starting from the Clinton years, and the fall of the Soviet Union when such attacks had to be manufactured as a substitute to sustain Cold War ideology and U.S. military and intelligence budgets, were the product of Western and Israeli intelligence services. The terror events of 9/11 sit at the pinnacle of such false flag attacks.

The point is there’s no threat to Israel or to the West outside of those they create in order to sustain their military pathology.

One thing that will change with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis when Obama takes over is that Elliot Abrams, the most vicious of the vicious will no longer be in charge of U.S. Middle East policy. But the pressures on Obama will be intense not to take steps to relieve the current genocidal level of starvation and immiseration in Gaza. Any attempt at amelioration by an Obama administration will likely be attacked by the usual Lobby suspects, doubtless with Dershowitz in the lead as giving in to Hamas terror.

Thinking of the Rick Warren debacle (see just below for blogger Left I’s economical screed on the subject), with about 25 days left before inauguration, is it too early to conclude that Obama is constitutionally unable to show any moral courage or leadership? But to realize how scary it’s going to be after Jan 20 all you have to do is say one word: Afghanistan. Everybody knows: current Obama plans for Afghanistan = a failed Obama presidency.

Afghanistan is going to be a failure in part because Obama and his team don’t want to know and are shielding themselves from the knowledge that the U.S. is funding the Taliban to kill NATO soldiers, civilians, Indian engineers, road-builders, schoolteachers, schoolgirls and more through the Pakistani ISI. It’s one of those anomalies that we know and simultaneously don’t know. For example, in a November 25, 2008 interview for NPR's popular Fresh Air program, Terry Gross asked Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid point blank: Isn’t the U.S. funding the Pakistani ISI? It was interesting to hear Rashid try to squirm out of that one.

It can’t be squirmed out of. The U.S. controls not only the major operations of the ISI like the funding and the care and upkeep of the Taliban, and chooses ISI leaders, and directs much of Pakistani policy, but the U.S. also undoubtedly controls also their false flag operations like the Mumbai terror attacks (see Michel Chossudovsky, "India's 9/11. Who was Behind the Mumbai Attacks? Washington is Fostering Political Divisions between India and Pakistan" 2008-11-29, http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11217 )

We know and we don’t want to know. And as we have learned over the decades this is just as true of the Left, as it is the Right.

Why should we expect any better from Obama?

PS. In a bibliographical note, the phrase “Manufactured Terrorism” is the title of a breakthrough article by Gerard Holmgren explaining what really happened on 9/11/01. (See “Manufactured Terrorism – The Truth About Sept 11," (2004, revised 2006).

Holmgren’s title apparently echoes Noam Chomsky’s and Edward Herman’s important Manufactured Consent (1988).



Blogger Left I on the News on the Rick Warren affair wrote:

12.17 08

Will Rick Warren wake up the liberals?

With every appointment of a war-loving Hillary Clinton/Robert Gates/James Jones or a nuclear power-loving Steven Chu or a Monsanto-loving Tom Vilsack and on and on, liberals keep telling themselves that it's ok, it's just that old "Team of Rivals" thing, and that Barack Obama the supposed antiwar liberal is really the one calling the shots and the others will just be implementing his vision.

And what will they say to the announcement that anti-abortion homophobe Rick Warren will be delivering the invocation at Obama's inauguration? True, it is just "symbolism." One large symbolic slap in the face of every supporter of women's rights and LGBT rights who supported Obama in this election.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bush, a shoe (or two) in? Al-Zaidi beaten and tortured?

Dec 16, 2008
Urgent, just reported: Al-Zaidi in U.S. run Camp Cropper prison

Iraqi TV al-Sharqiya just reported on the news that AL-Zaidi is transferred to Camp Cropper prison [the Airport prison, managed by the American forces].

The TV Channel announced that Al-Zaidi is in a difficult condition, with broken ribs and signs of tortures on his thighs. Also he cannot move his right arm.

Here's Democracy Now's report. According to them Al Zaidi is under Iraqi control, not the USG.
Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist Remains Imprisoned
The International Federation of Journalists has called on the Iraqi government to release the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush at a news conference on Sunday. Muntadar al-Zaidi has been held without charge for over twenty-four hours and has been reportedly beaten in jail. His brother said al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury. Earlier today, al-Zaidi was handed over to the Iraqi military command in Baghdad. Al-Zaidi has become a folk hero in many parts of the Arab world. Demonstrations have been held across the region calling for his release. In Iraq, thousands of protesters rallied in Baghdad and Najaf.

Some of us have noticed that even opponents of the Bush administration have deplored Al Zaidi's actions as inappropriate. Is it because they don't want to believe in the exceptional criminality of Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld and John Yu? One thing we felt about Al Zaidi is that he understood that Bush's intention was and remains to destroy his country and many other countries, and his own country. That's the kind of man he is.


I don't watch much mainstream TV, and even less with the sound on. However, from the little that I noticed on CNN, I didn't detect much outrage from the right. I suspect that such a moderate response from those quarters is not typical.

After the incident and before I learned of the physical punishment Muntadhar Al Zaidi is undergoing, I wondered what it would be like if it were possible to ask President Bush some of the following questions. In such a world, where such questions were possible, Al Zaidi might not have had to lose his shoes, or have his arms broken.

Question: Did you have any contact or discussion with the Iraqi authorities as to the punishment to be meted out to journalist Muntadhar Al Zaidii who threw his two shoes at you?
Would such a discussion be appropriate on your part?

This question reminds us of the execution of Saddam Hussein.
Question: President Bush: Did you and/or the Vice President's office order the timing of the execution of Saddam Hussein?
Do you regret the timing of the execution before a full history of the crimes of Saddam Hussein could be brought to light?
One final question, Mr. President.
Go right ahead.
Do you believe that those heads of state responsible for crimes greater, much greater, than Saddam Hussein's should be tried and appropriately punished?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

NYT: Situation in Somalia Seems About to Get Worse

December 7, 2008, By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

Ronald Bleier writes:

You won't have to read too deeply between the lines to see Cheney's hand in the current and future chaos that is the fate of the suffering 9 million people of Somalia. Here's a quote which bespeaks the success of the Cheney agenda:

“Somalia has now reached a very dangerous phase,” [Rasid Ali, a Somalia analyst the International Crisis Group] said. “The whole region is in for more chaos, I’m afraid.”

When the Islamists ruled Somalia for about 6 months in 2006 there was relative peace.

But today’s Islamists are a harder, more brutal group than the ones who were ousted by an Ethiopian invasion, backed by the United States, in late 2006. The old guard included many moderates, but those who tried to work with the transitional government mostly failed, leaving them weak and marginalized, and removing a mitigating influence on the die-hard insurgents.

Gettleman emphasizes that the current situation is the responsibility of the U.S.

A collapse of the government and the human disaster that would almost surely follow would be strike three for American efforts in Somalia.... In 2005 and 2006, the C.I.A. paid some of Somalia’s most reviled warlords to fight the Islamists. That backfired. In the winter of 2006, the United States took a third approach, encouraging Ethiopia to invade and backing them with American airstrikes and intelligence. “The Bush administration made a major miscalculation,” said Dan Connell, who teaches African politics at Simmons College in Boston.

Yes, miscalculation is the word that is allowed. As the article details, the current situation is leading to rise of the most vicious and fundamentalist forces in the country. Earlier in the article Gettlemen mentions a 13 year girl who was stoned to death by these characters. Does the rise of such ruthless fundamentalism remind us of Afghanistan? Where else? The US in the last 8 years? Is it miscalculation or calculation?


Read more: NYT, December 7, 2008

Situation in Somalia Seems About to Get Worse



Saturday, December 06, 2008

Is the US Behind the Somali Pirates?

Is the U.S. behind the Somali pirates?

Dr Kadem al Mussawi from Lebanon suggested a “conspiracy theory” on Lebanon TV, broadcast on the Mosaic News of the Middle East program on Link TV 12.3.08 regarding possible US and NATO support of the Somali pirates.

Dr Mussawi noted that the U.S. has a large naval presence in the area and gave the example that the Cole was harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden when it was bombed in 2000. He wondered why the strong U.S. naval forces in the area haven't been able to control the Somali pirates. He argued that the US, acting perhaps in concert with NATO and other forces could stop the piracy if they wanted to.

Dr Mussawi pointed out that the Somali pirate activity was completely halted by the Islamic Courts government that was in power for several months in 2006 before they were overthrown by the U.S. acting in concert with Ethiopia.

Dr Mussawi gave several high profile examples of recent piracy including a Ukrainian ship carrying arms, a Saudi Ship carrying oil and an Iranian ship carrying wheat and wondered whether there could be a political element involved. Dr Mussawi wondered if the U.S. was implementing a siege of selected countries by means of recruiting the Somali pirates.