Archive for December, 2009

Afghans rally against rising civilian killings

December 31, 2009
Morning Star Online, Wednesday 30 December 2009
by Tom Mellen
Afghans protest against the recent killings of 10 civilians allegedly by coalition forces

Afghans protest against the recent killings of 10 civilians allegedly by coalition forces

Afghan students have rallied in Jalalabad and threatened to “take up guns instead of pens and fight occupation forces” if the Karzai regime fails to stop the indiscriminate killing of civilians by occupation troops.

Continues >>

International protesters beaten in Cairo

December 31, 2009

Middle East Online, Dec 31, 2009

Protest organizers say Gaza Freedom March activists, including women, kicked, beaten to ground by Egypt’s police.

CAIRO – Police punched and kicked international activists during scuffles in the Egyptian capital on Thursday which left one person with broken ribs, protest organisers said.

“Members of the Gaza Freedom March are being forcibly detained in hotels around (Cairo) as well as violently forced into pens in Tahrir Square by Egyptian police and additional security forces,” a statement from the organisers said.

Scuffles erupted between the police and the protesters which saw “women being kicked, beaten to the ground and dragged into pens, at least one confirmed account of broken ribs and many left bloody,” they said.

Continues >>


Welcome to Orwell’s World 2010

December 31, 2009

By John Pilger, Information Clearing House, Dec 30, 2009

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell described a superstate called Oceania, whose language of war inverted lies that “passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’, ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”

Barack Obama is the leader of a contemporary Oceania. In two speeches at the close of the decade, the Nobel Peace Prize winner affirmed that peace was no longer peace, but rather a permanent war that “extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan” to “disorderly regions and diffuse enemies”. He called this “global security” and invited our gratitude. To the people of Afghanistan, which America has invaded and occupied, he said wittily: “We have no interest in occupying your country.”

In Oceania, truth and lies are indivisible. According to Obama, the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001 was authorised by the United Nations Security Council. There was no UN authority. He said the “the world” supported the invasion in the wake of 9/11 when, in truth, all but three of 37 countries surveyed by Gallup expressed overwhelming opposition. He said that America invaded Afghanistan “only after the Taliban refused to turn over [Osama] bin Laden”. In 2001, the Taliban tried three times to hand over bin Laden for trial, reported Pakistan’s military regime, and were ignored. Even Obama’s mystification of 9/11 as justification for his war is false. More than two months before the Twin Towers were attacked, the Pakistani foreign minister, Niaz Naik, was told by the Bush administration that an American military assault would take place by mid-October. The Taliban regime in Kabul, which the Clinton administration had secretly supported, was no longer regarded as “stable” enough to ensure America’s control over oil and gas pipelines to the Caspian Sea. It had to go.

Obama’s most audacious lie is that Afghanistan today is a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda’s attacks on the West. His own national security adviser, General James Jones, said in October that there were “fewer than 100” al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. According to US intelligence, 90 per cent of the Taliban are hardly Taliban at all, but “a tribal localised insurgency [who] see themselves as opposing the US because it is an occupying power”. The war is a fraud. Only the terminally gormless remain true to the Obama brand of “world peace”.

Beneath the surface, however, there is serious purpose. Under the disturbing General Stanley McCrystal, who gained distinction for his assassination squads in Iraq, the occupation of one of the most impoverished countries is a model for those “disorderly regions” of the world still beyond Oceania’s reach. This is a known as COIN, or counter-insurgency network, which draws together the military, aid organisations, psychologists, anthropologists, the media and public relations hirelings. Covered in jargon about winning hearts and minds, its aim is to pit one ethnic group against another and incite civil war: Tajiks and Uzbecks against Pashtuns.

The Americans did this in Iraq and destroyed a multi-ethnic society. They bribed and built walls between communities who had once inter-married, ethnically cleansing the Sunni and driving millions out of the country. The embedded media reported this as “peace”, and American academics bought by Washington and “security experts” briefed by the Pentagon appeared on the BBC to spread the good news. As in Nineteen Eighty-Four, the opposite was true.

Something similar is planned for Afghanistan. People are to be forced into “target areas” controlled by warlords bankrolled by the Americans and the opium trade. That these warlords are infamous for their barbarism is irrelevant. “We can live with that,” a Clinton-era diplomat said of the persecution of women in a “stable” Taliban-run Afghanistan. Favoured western relief agencies, engineers and agricultural specialists will attend to the “humanitarian crisis” and so “secure” the subjugated tribal lands.

That is the theory. It worked after a fashion in Yugoslavia where the ethnic-sectarian partition wiped out a once peaceful society, but it failed in Vietnam where the CIA’s “strategic hamlet program” was designed to corral and divide the southern population and so defeat the Viet Cong — the Americans’ catch-all term for the resistance, similar to “Taliban”.

Behind much of this are the Israelis, who have long advised the Americans in both the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures. Ethnic-cleansing, wall-building, checkpoints, collective punishment and constant surveillance – these are claimed as Israeli innovations that have succeeded in stealing most of Palestine from its native people. And yet for all their suffering, the Palestinians have not been divided irrevocably and they endure as a nation against all odds.

The most telling forerunners of the Obama Plan, which the Nobel Peace Prize winner and his strange general and his PR men prefer we forget, are those that failed in Afghanistan itself. The British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th century attempted to conquer that wild country by ethnic cleansing and were seen off, though after terrible bloodshed. Imperial cemeteries are their memorials. People power, sometimes baffling, often heroic, remains the seed beneath the snow, and invaders fear it.

“It was curious,” wrote Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same, everywhere, all over the world … people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same people who … were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.”

Activists fall victim to Gaza blockade

December 31, 2009

By Middle East correspondent Anne Barker

ABC News, Dec 31, 2009

More than 1,300 international peace activists from 40 countries, including Australia, are in Egypt this week.

The self-styled “freedom marchers” include prominent authors, lawyers and journalists, many of them Jewish.

They had hoped to cross the border to Gaza for a planned protest today against Israel and its economic blockade of the area, but they too have fallen victim to the blockade.

When the peace activists arrived in Cairo, the Egyptian government all but banned them from travelling even to the Egyptian side of the Gaza border.

Two days ago, Egyptian police detained one group of protesters who had managed to cross the Sinai Desert and effectively placed them under house arrest on the grounds the march was illegal and the situation in Gaza was too sensitive.

Continues >>

New wars in 2010?

December 30, 2009
by William Pfaff, Antiwar.com,  December 30, 2009

While the government of Iran reels under the continuing pressures of a popular uprising, whose character is inexorably changing from protest at a rigged election, contrived by the ambitious and obscurantist Revolutionary Guard, into a challenge to the Islamic government itself, the American-backed campaign for further sanctions on the economy, and inevitably the people, continues, to punish Iran’s resistance to further international inspection of its nuclear facilities.

Continues >>

Paul Craig Roberts: Israel Rules

December 30, 2009

By Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House, Dec 29, 2009

On Christmas eve when Christians were celebrating the Prince of Peace, the New York Times delivered forth a call for war. “There’s only one way to stop Iran,” declared Alan J. Kuperman, and that is “military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Kuperman is described as the “director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin,” but his Christmas eve call to war relies on disinformation and contradiction, not on objective scholarly analysis.

Continues >>

US Press Ignores Egyptian Suppression of Gaza Freedom March

December 30, 2009

by Robert Naiman, CommonDerams.org, Dec 29, 2009

Cairo – The government of Egypt is taking a spectacularly hard line against international solidarity efforts in support of civilians in Gaza on the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion, blocking peace marchers from the U.S., Canada, and Europe from even approaching the Egyptian border with Gaza and blocking an aid convoy that has the support of the Turkish government from entering Egypt at Nuweiba. Even a peaceful protest at UN offices in Cairo was largely walled off from public view by Egyptian police.

It seems that any pretense of Egyptian government concern for the suffering of Palestinian civilians has been dropped, along with the pretense that there is anything less than 100% cooperation from Egypt and its US and European patrons with Israel’s program of punishing Gaza’s population for the political crime of having provided majority support to the Hamas movement in a legislative election.

Meanwhile there is largely a U.S. press blackout of these striking developments. A search of the New York Times and the Washington Post only turns up a tiny AP story on the websites of the Times and the Post.

As has frequently been the case, Agence France-Presse [AFP] pays more attention to these developments. On Monday, AFP reports that Hedy Epstein and other members of the Gaza Freedom March have begun a hunger strike to press the Egyptian government to allow them to enter Gaza:

An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was among a group of grandmothers who began a hunger strike in Cairo on Monday to protest against Egypt’s refusal to allow a Gaza solidarity march to proceed.

American activist Hedy Epstein and other grandmothers participating in the Gaza Freedom March began a hunger strike at 1000 GMT.

“I’ve never done this before, I don’t know how my body will react, but I’ll do whatever it takes,” Epstein told AFP, sitting on a chair surrounded by hundreds of protesters outside the United Nations building in Cairo.

On Sunday, AFP reported on the efforts of the Viva Palestina aid convoy to enter Egypt, with the support of the Turkish government:

An aid convoy trying to reach the blockaded Gaza Strip through Egypt was still stranded in Jordan on Sunday amid Cairo’s refusal to let it cross through its territory.

Members of the convoy, which is led by British MP George Galloway, were however hoping for a solution thanks to mediation by Turkey to enter Gaza through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba, the most direct route.

The British-initiated aid convoy has at least been mentioned by the BBC, but NPR has not reported on the U.S.-initiated Gaza Freedom March.

Wouldn’t you be a little bit curious to know what explanations the New York Times and the Washington Post would provide for ignoring these developments? Why not send them a little note?

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy

Vanunu once again under house arrest

December 30, 2009

Mordechai Vanunu breaches terms of 2004 jail release by meeting ‘a number of foreigners’, says Israeli police

mordechai vanunuIsraeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu arrives at a Jerusalem court. Photograph: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

Mordechai Vanunu, who served 18 years in prison after he revealed Israel’s secret nuclear programme, has been placed under house arrest pending criminal charges for allegedly breaching the terms of his 2004 release, which includes a ban on contacts with foreigners.

A police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said Vanunu was accused of meeting with “a number of foreigners”. The spokesman, however, did not specify who the foreigners were or where they came from.

Continues >>

Mikhail Bakhtin: The Politics of Language and Genre

December 29, 2009

Badri Raina’s Archive

For reading the document, click here

NATO Forces Kill 10 Afghan Civilians, Mostly Children

December 29, 2009

Deaths Come in Apparent US Raid in Kunar Province

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com,  December 28, 2009

NATO officially denied having any information about any operations going on in Kunar, but western officials privately conceded that US special forces have been operating in the Taliban-heavy area. A spokesman for the NATO forces promised to “look into” the reports.

Provincial police could provide only sparse details about the killings, and said that a full investigation would take several days, owing to the difficulty in even traveling to the area of the incident. US officials have yet to comment at all.

Though the Taliban has established a growing presence in the province, Kunar has been comparatively ignored by international forces since this summer, when provincial officials accused a US soldier of throwing a hand grenade into a crowd of civilians in a marketplace. The grenade killed two people and injured 56 others.