Archive for November, 2007

The One State Declaration

November 30, 2007, November 29, 2007

Various authors, IMEU

On the 60th anniversary of the passage of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, the below signatories have issued the “One State Declaration.” The statement is the result of two conferences held this year in Madrid and London on the one-state solution.

For decades, efforts to bring about a two-state solution in historic Palestine have failed to provide justice and peace for the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish peoples, or to offer a genuine process leading towards them.

The two-state solution ignores the physical and political realities on the ground, and presumes a false parity in power and moral claims between a colonized and occupied people on the one hand and a colonizing state and military occupier on the other. It is predicated on the unjust premise that peace can be achieved by granting limited national rights to Palestinians living in the areas occupied in 1967, while denying the rights of Palestinians inside the 1948 borders and in the Diaspora. Thus, the two-state solution condemns Palestinian citizens of Israel to permanent second-class status within their homeland, in a racist state that denies their rights by enacting laws that privilege Jews constitutionally, legally, politically, socially and culturally. Moreover, the two-state solution denies Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right of return.

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Annapolis’s Sole Purpose Is to Serve the Bush Agenda

November 30, 2007

By Adrian Hamilton
The Independent | Published: November 29, 2007


There can have been few more excruciating sights than President Bush parading the Israeli and Palestinian leaders before the cameras at the Annapolis summit on Tuesday, clasping their hands, squeezing their shoulders, pushing them together for a handshake and then leaving them to return to their seats like awkward boys summoned to the podium to be congratulated for their efforts at a school prizegiving.

But then that was only right for the occasion. Why were President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert there in the first place, if not because the White House had propelled them there with not an iota of prior agreement between them? And why did their joint statement of intent single out the end of 2008 as the time by which they hoped to reach a peace settlement? Because that is when President Bush will be leaving office.

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News Not Fit to Print: US Coup Planned for Venezuela?

November 30, 2007

Counterpunch, November 29, 2007

By Dave Lindorff

The New York Times had a news article about Venezuela in Thursday’s edition, but it was about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez saying he would cut diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia. There wasn’t a word about a memo from a CIA operative in Caracas to CIA Director General Michael Hayden, uncovered yesterday, outlining a plan for interfering with a Venezuelan referendum set for Dec. 2, and laying out the steps for instigating and backing a coup.

The plot, called “Operation Pliers,” and laid out in the letter to Hayden by an undercover operative named Michael Steele, who reportedly works in the US Embassy as a “regional affairs officer,” was intercepted by Venezuelan intelligence and released publicly on state TV yesterday.

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Hagel on Bush & Cheney: “They Have Failed the Country”

November 30, 2007

The Nation, November 29, 2007

It is too bad that Chuck Hagel decided against running for the Republican nomination for president. While it is true that Texas Congressman Ron Paul is saying much of what the Republican senator from Nebraska would have said about the madness of the war in Iraq, Paul is actually too polite about the madness of the president and the vice president.

Hagel minces no words.

In an address to the Council on Foreign Relations this week, Hagel told the crowd of foreign-policy wonks that he would give the Bush-Cheney administration “the lowest grade of any I’ve known.”

“I have to say this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I’ve ever seen or ever read about,” said Hagel, according to a report on the meeting that appeared in the Washington Post.

Speaking of Bush, Cheney and those around them, Hagel said: “They have failed the country.”

There is much talk about the prospect that Paul might exit the GOP to mount an independent or Libertarian Party bid for the presidency in 2008. But Hagel’s willingness to express his fierce disdain for Bush and Cheney in the bluntest of terms offers a reminder that an outsider bid by the Nebraska senator — either at the top of an independent or Unity Party ticket, or running alongside New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, with whom Hagel again met this week — remains the more intriguing possibility.

Gorbachev: US missile plan targeting Russia

November 29, 2007

The News International, November 29, 2007

BUDAPEST, Hungary: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said on Wednesday that he viewed a US plan to deploy a missile defence shield in Central Europe as targeting Russia, not Iran.

“(On Tuesday) Milos Zeman, the former Czech prime minister, said, ‘What kind of Iran threat do you see? This is a system that is being created against Russia,’” Gorbachev said.

“I don’t think Zeman is alone in seeing this. We see this as well as he sees it.” The United States wants to place a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland, saying the components would defend European allies against a possible Iranian strike. Gorbachev, 76, whose policies of glasnost and perestroika openness and restructuring helped end communism in the Soviet Union and its satellites, criticised the high level of military spending by the United States. “Does America intend to fight the rest of the world, does America need to build a new empire? They will not succeed,” Gorbachev said at the close of a meeting of the World Political Forum, a group he founded in 2003 that includes many former high-ranking politicians.

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Saudi judges insulted gang rape victim: HRW

November 29, 2007

Khaleej Times, November 29, 2007

LONDON – A Saudi gang rape victim who was sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes was scolded by judges while police repeatedly dismissed her claims, she said in testimony published on Thursday.

The 19-year-old girl described the rape itself — including the fact that one of her attackers photographed her — and her struggle to eat or sleep in its immediate aftermath to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

She was attacked at knifepoint by seven men after she was found in a car with a male companion who was not a relative, in breach of strict Saudi law, and was initially sentenced last year to 90 lashes for being with the man.

Following her appeal, the court ordered her punishment should be increased to the current sentence, a decision which has attracted wide international condemnation from human rights groups to the White House.

According to the testimony published in Britain’s The Independent newspaper, once the girl’s husband found out about the gang rape, he told the police and appealed for the rapists to be arrested, to which a police officer said: “You go find them and investigate.”

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Art and Abu Ghraib

November 29, 2007

Toronto Star | November 24, 2007




The paintings by Colombian artist Fernando Botero show Americans torturing Iraqis at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison.

Tim Harper
Washington Bureau

The man doing the waterboarding is a strangely disengaged torturer, representing either cool professionalism or emotionless evil.

The abusers are portrayed as army boots on the back of the abused, latex gloves on a naked body.

They are represented by a stream of urine that starts off canvas or invisible hands holding snarling dogs with their teeth bared.

The abused are hooded or blindfolded, naked or in women’s underwear, bloody, anguished, their bodies bloated and overdrawn in almost iconic Christian poses.

This is the work of 75-year-old Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who has taken oils, charcoal, watercolours and his anger at the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and produced a series of 79 works that evoke the brutality and inhumanity of the torture that was revealed to the world in 2004.

The works first shocked audiences in Europe.

Now they are hanging in a museum in the U.S. capital, a handful of subway stops from the White House.

A visit to the exhibit is a punch to the stomach.

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“A” is for Apartheid or Annapolis

November 29, 2007

In the 80s, we gave up 78% of our homeland to try to pick up the pieces of our lives on the remaining 22% of Palestine. This was, and remains, the only true (brave or otherwise) concession ever made in the so-called ‘Middle East Conflict.” Next came Camp David, then Madrid, then Oslo, then another Camp David, Taba, Wye, (deep breath) Sharm el Sheikh, the Disengagement, the Road Map. Through it all, Israel continued to divide, carve out, confiscate and settle that 22%. They scattered us into a diaspora, shut down our schools, bombed damn near every inch of the West Bank and Gaza, herded us into ghettos, set up checkpoints all around us and employed every tool of imperialism, times ten, to get rid of or subjugate us as a cheap labor force.

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Who Is Defending Pakistan’s Democracy? Not the Politicians, It’s the Judges

November 29, 2007

By Medea Benjamin, AlterNet. Posted November 29, 2007.

The heroes in Pakistan aren’t returning former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif — it’s the Supreme Court and High Court judges who stopped Musharraf’s assault on the Constitution.

The heroes in today’s Pakistan are not the returning former prime ministers — Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif — but the Supreme Court and High Court judges who refused to accept Gen. Musharraf’s emergency law putting the Constitution in abeyance. When asked to take a new oath pledging to uphold his “Provisional Constitutional Order,” they simply said no. While politicians Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are making deals with Musharraf to get back into power, these judges are putting principle over power. They may have lost their seats on the bench, but they have won the hearts of millions of Pakistanis.

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US air strikes kill 14 civilian roadworkers in Afghanistan

November 28, 2007

David Batty and agencies
Wednesday November 28, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

US air strike in Afghanistan
Afghans load a casket of a victim of the Jalalabad air strike into an ambulance. Photograph: Rafiq Shirzad/Reuters

US forces mistakenly killed at least a dozen road construction workers in air strikes in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said today.As many as 14 engineers and labourers were killed in the incident on Monday in Nuristan province, which officials blamed on faulty intelligence, possibly fed out by the Taliban.

The workers, who had been contracted by the US military to build a road in the mountainous province, were sleeping in their tents when they were killed, according to Sayed Noorullah Jalili, director of the road construction company Amerifa.

“All of our poor workers have been killed,” Jalili said. “I don’t think the Americans were targeting our people. I’m sure it’s the enemy of the Afghans who gave the Americans this wrong information.”

The company has asked the US military to investigate the information that led to the air strike, Jalili said.

The Nuristan governor, Tamim Nuristani, said US troops had been tipped off that a feared local Taliban commander was in the area but they hit the wrong target.

The US-led coalition said it was investigating the incident. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed it had conducted air strikes against Taliban fighters in the area, but did not say when.

“ISAF was engaged in Nurgaram and Du Ab districts, and in those places we used air strikes against [Taliban],” said the ISAF spokesman, Brigadier General Carlos Branco. “The situation is not clear at all at this stage. We are carrying out the investigation and trying to get a clear picture.”

The incident is likely to fuel Afghan resentment at the presence of international forces. Earlier this year, foreign troops came under scathing criticism for conducting air strikes based on poor intelligence that caused a number of civilian casualties.

Afghanistan has seen a steady rise in violence over the past two years since the Taliban renewed its attempt to overthrow the pro-western Afghan government and eject more than 50,000 foreign troops.

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