Anjalisa -- World Social Forum / Nairobi / Palestine
Palestine / Israel
Joint Delegation of Palestinian Civil Society to the World Social Forum
Nairobi, Kenya, January 2007
Political Statement and Call to Action on Palestine
Forty years after Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including
east Jerusalem, and almost 60 years after the Palestinian Nakba
(catastrophe) of 1948, the Palestinian people is at a critical juncture.
Global solidarity and support will be decisive in enabling the Palestinian
people's struggle for freedom, justice and durable peace to prevail.
To date, official diplomacy has failed in enforcing scores of UN
and relevant principles of international law aimed at ending Israel's
occupation, colonization, displacement and dispossession of the
people. US-led Middle East diplomacy, favoring military intervention and
unilateralism over respect for international law, is also directly
implicated in wars and occupation in Iraq and Lebanon, complicit with
Israel's colonial regime in Palestine, and actively encouraging
civil war in the region. Rather than being part of the solution, the
the entire Quartet -- including the EU -- have become part of the
After intense efforts, transparent and democratic parliamentary elections
were held in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) with the fervent
backing of the US and the EU, both of which rejected the election results
that brought Hamas to "power," an outcome that was not in line with their
plans for the region, particularly their attempt to "convince" the
Palestinians to accept limited self-rule in the OPT under the overall
control of Israeli military authorities. Subsequently, Israel, the US and
most European powers imposed a severe, inhumane regime of sanctions
Palestinians under occupation. In the words of the UN Special Rapporteur,
Prof. John Dugard, sanctions were imposed on the occupied rather than the
occupier, the first time an occupied people has been so treated.
Rene -- Operation Return to Sender?
Operation Return to Sender? -rg
761 illegal immigrants arrested in Southern California
761 illegal immigrants arrested in Southern California
In one of the largest such sweeps in U.S. history, federal officials
arrested illegal immigrants from 14 countries in a five county area during the past
By Gillian Flaccus
The Associated Press
Federal officials said Tuesday they arrested more than 750 illegal
immigrants over the past week in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in
what they described as one of the biggest such sweeps in U.S. history.
The weeklong series of raids in the five-county region targeted
illegal immigrants who had previously been deported for crimes or
had ignored final deportation orders.
The raids netted 338 illegal immigrants who were arrested at their
homes and apartments and 423 who were identified in area jails since
Jan. 17. Those already jailed will be transferred to federal custody
when they finish serving their state sentences, said Virginia Kice,
spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The sweep netted illegal immigrants from 14 countries in all, including
Mexico, Honduras, Ukraine, India, Japan, Poland and Trinidad.
Of the 761 people arrested, more than 450 have already been deported,
Rene -- Fisk -- Hizbollah warn that Lebanon will see more violence
Robert Fisk: Hizbollah warn that Lebanon will see more violence
Published: 25 January 2007
There is worse to come. That is what Lebanon's opposition, led by the
Hizbollah, said only hours after they lifted their violent day-long
"strike" on Tuesday night and - here is the rub - there are few in
this country who do not believe it.
At least three deaths, 120 wounded and sectarian fighting across
a hundred miles of Lebanon, we are now told, was only a "warning
to the government". If Christian versus Christian and Sunni versus
Shia Muslim is not enough, then, what will be? And how planned is
the coming tragedy?
Planning is what came to mind yesterday among all those who live
here. How, we are asking ourselves, did those thousands of violent
young men all have near-identical, brand new wooden coshes? How come so
many men emerged on to the Beirut streets in near-identical hoods? How
come the "general strike" called to demand the resignation of the
Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, was switched off in a matter of minutes?
But there were other, far more disturbing elements to Tuesday's
scandalous day of violence. Two of the old civil-war fault lines -
on the road north of Beirut and in the suburbs of the city - were
reopened. Siniora himself started warning of the dangers of civil
war and the United States - as Hizbollah must
have hoped - came out in support of the government, claiming, quite
falsely, that the violence came from the Hizbollah-led opposition.
It certainly did come from their Amal militia ally but Sunni Muslim
supporters of the government were in gun battles in Tripoli - they
continued yesterday - and the "Lebanese Forces" youths of Samir Geagea,
an ex-militia murderer who supports the government, were engaged in
pitched stoning battles with other Christian Maronites.
Indeed, the inter-Christian war, in retrospect, was probably the
most vicious of the day. Most of the wounded were hurt when Geagea's
men tried to stop supporters of the Maronite ex-general Michel Aoun
blocking roads outside the capital. Through some odd and tragic
tradition of history, the Christian communities in Lebanon have often
fought cruel battles with each other. Aoun and Geagea's forces killed
each other at the end of the civil war. Even during the Crusades, the
Christians of Tyre fought each other when Salahedin was at their gates.
Rene -- US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'
And the massacres keep accruing - rg
US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Published: 31 January 2007
There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the
battle outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi
security forces supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed
and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be
evidence of an unpremeditated massacre.
A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia
tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led
the US to intervene with devastating effect. The involvement of Ahmed
al-Hassani (also known as Abu Kamar), who believed himself to be the
coming Mahdi, or Messiah, appears to have been accidental.
The story emerging on independent Iraqi websites and in Arabic
newspapers is entirely different from the government's account of the
battle with the so-called "Soldiers of Heaven", planning a raid on
Najaf to kill Shia religious leaders.
The cult denied it was involved in the fighting, saying it was a
peaceful movement. The incident reportedly began when a procession of
200 pilgrims was on its way, on foot, to celebrate Ashura in
Najaf. They came from the Hawatim tribe, which lives between Najaf and
Diwaniyah to the south, and arrived in the Zarga area, one mile from
Najaf at about 6am on Sunday. Heading the procession was the chief of
the tribe, Hajj Sa'ad Sa'ad Nayif al-Hatemi, and his wife driving in
their 1982 Super Toyota sedan because they could not walk. When they
reached an Iraqi army checkpoint it opened fire, killing Mr Hatemi,
his wife and his driver, Jabar Ridha al-Hatemi. The tribe, fully armed
because they were travelling at night, then assaulted the checkpoint
to avenge their fallen chief.
Anjalisa -- The Steady March to War on Iran
The Steady March to War on Iran:
What It Would Take to Stop It
By VIRGINIA TILLEY
Johannesburg, South Africa
>From its inception, the US occupation was a lose-lose proposition. Simply
rolling into Iraq -- a society of which the Bush neocons had so distorted
a conception and US occupation commanders and foot soldiers had no grasp
at all - was a formula for doom. But US policy in the Middle East has now
advanced to a new stage and the risk to the rest of us has changed. For
stopping an attack on Iran, which is the only way to avert final regional
disaster, may require action in Washington that falls outside the
parameters of what is normally politically possible.
For the first two years of the occupation, the US dilemma was plain to
everyone. On the one hand, pulling out "prematurely" promised an internal
Iraqi melee for power and the quick collapse of the feeble pro-US Iraqi
government. On the other hand, the ongoing presence of American troops
the inevitable brutalities of occupation could only inspire more armed
resistance, progressively wreck US legitimacy, and make things worse. As
it staggered forward, wreaking tens of thousands of direct Iraqi
casualties (and possibly hundreds of thousands in indirect ones), the US
occupation fed an unprecedented surge of anti-US and anti-western
militancy. As a result, three short years later, five decades of largely
uncontested US hegemony in the Middle East are collapsing into the same
clouds of dust now engulfing Iraq's national society -- the World Trade
Center towers going down in slo-mo.
Yet in a sense, the occupation has already done its work on the support
structure, as the US occupation has already combusted on social forces
that its architects never comprehended even as they manipulated them.
the beginning, the Bush neocons viewed the region through an Orientalist
lens, and therefore saw tribes everywhere, as mentors like Daniel Pipes
encouraged them to do. Viewing the Middle East also through an Israeli
lens, they saw ethnicity as the best way to break up national and
solidarities. Their staggering ignorance of the region was perhaps best
exposed by their early faith in the charlatan Ahmed Chalabi, who promised
a pro-Israeli Shi'a-led Iraqi government. On such rampant idiocy were
their enthusiasm and deceitful arguments for war fueled.
Rene -- PROTESTS MARK FIVE-YEAR GUANTANAMO BAY PRISON ANNIVERSARY
PROTESTS MARK FIVE-YEAR GUANTANAMO BAY PRISON ANNIVERSARY
By Carol J. Williams MIAMI
Los Angeles Times
From Kuwait to the Cuban countryside to the Miami military headquarters
that commands Guantanamo Bay, opponents of the Pentagon's indefinite
detention of terrorist suspects on Thursday denounced the offshore
prison that opened five years ago.
Protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits demonstrated outside
U.S. embassies throughout Europe, and rights activists marked the
date with demands for the release or trial of the remaining 395 men
at the prison in southern Cuba.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan led a dozen protesters on a march from
the Cuban city of Guantanamo to the locked back gates of the naval
base, where they chanted for an end to the detention of so-called
"Gitmo prison is a source of shame, no more torture in our
name!" shouted Sheehan and the others allowed into Cuba for a rarely
permitted visit to the remote Cuban military area.
Among those who made their way to the little-used northeast gate
was Taher Deghayes, who held a photograph of his detainee-brother,
Deghayes' mother, Zohra Zewawi, accompanied Sheehan's group to
Cuba and told news agencies covering the pilgrimage that her son
had been tortured and blinded in one eye since being imprisoned in
September 2002. Also with the protesters was British citizen Asif
Iqbal, 25, whose three years in U.S. custody and subsequent release
without charges was the subject of the 2006 documentary "The Road
Rene -- Extracts from Hrant Dink's last editorial
Hrant Dink, a 'frightened pigeon'
Dink's murder triggered outrage and grief across Turkey
The following are extracts from the final article by Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, published in his newspaper Agos on 19 January, the day he was shot dead in Istanbul.
At first when an investigation was launched against me for insulting Turkishness I did not feel troubled. This was not the first time...
I had complete trust in what I'd written and what my intentions had been.
Once the prosecutor had the chance to evaluate the text of my editorial as a whole, not that single sentence which made no sense by itself, he would understand that I had no intention of "insulting Turkishness" and this comedy would come to an end. I was sure of myself. But surprise! A lawsuit was filed...
In covering every hearing the newspapers, editorials and television programmes all referred to how I had said that "the blood of the Turk is poisonous".
I may see myself as frightened as a pigeon, but I know that in this country people do not touch pigeons
Each time, they were adding to my fame as "the enemy of the Turk".
In the corridors of the courthouse, the fascists physically attacked me with racist curses.
They bombarded me with insults. Hundreds of threats hailed down for months by phone, email and post - increasing all the time.
I persevered through all this with patience awaiting the decision that would acquit me.
Then the truth would prevail and all those people would be ashamed of what they had done.
Anjalisa -- The Low Profile: CNN and the New York Times Execute a
The Low Profile: CNN and the New York Times Execute a
Denial of History
by John Collins
An existential question: If journalism is the first
draft of history, then what is journalism that denies
history? Is it still journalism?
The question came to mind Friday night as CNN's
Anderson Cooper led Americans through the initial
moments following the execution of Saddam Hussein.
Conveniently carried out just five minutes past the
hour when "Anderson Cooper 360" goes on the air, the
execution provided an opportunity for viewers to think
about the long story of the Iraqi leader's brutal
reign. Yet when it came to informing the audience
about one key aspect of that history - the role of the
United States in helping to create and maintain the
"butcher of Baghdad" - CNN offered only amnesia.
Throughout the CNN broadcast, as news gradually
trickled in concerning the details of the execution,
viewers were treated to a highly selective loop of
stock images of the condemned: Saddam brandishing a
tribal sword offered as a gift by one of his fawning
subjects, Saddam firing a gun, Saddam laughing his
cartoonish dictator laugh, Saddam defiantly reading a
statement at the start of the U.S. invasion in 2003,
Saddam smoking a cigar, Saddam being checked for lice
by U.S. military doctors, Saddam wildly gesturing
during his recent trial.
And the photo of Saddam shaking hands with U.S. envoy
Donald Rumsfeld back in December 1983? Absent. With
the inevitable headline ("Death of a Dictator")
already in place, the storyline was set. This was to
be about Saddam facing "justice" for crimes that he
alone committed. The U.S. presence in the story was to
be, at most, a ghostly one limited to providing legal
and moral guidance from behind the scenes. As if to
confirm this paternalistic and self-serving fiction,
CNN's Elaine Quijano dutifully reported from Waco that
President Bush, not wanting to appear that he was
"gloating" over the final humiliation of the Iraqi
leader, was keeping a low profile.
Viewers who were dissatisfied with "Anderson Cooper
360" might have found themselves turning to the New
York Times for a better sense of perspective. Yet
while yesterday's obituary in the Times was impressive
for its length (over 5000 words), it provided little
more in terms of historical context.
Avi -- Amira Hass -- The High Court of Justice is in no hurry
Palestine / Israel
The High Court of Justice is in no hurry
By Amira Hass
Had Defense Minister Amir Peretz wanted to prove in his actions that he views racism as despicable and dangerous - as it was possible to understand from his remarks on Monday to his colleague, Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman - he would have used his authority to cancel in a timely manner an instruction issued by GOC Central Command Yair Naveh that will go into effect on Friday. He has not, however, done so, and starting on January 19, 2007, Israelis and foreigners will be prohibited from taking Palestinians as passengers in their cars throughout the West Bank.
Had Education Minister Yuli Tamir truly wanted to change patterns that have become fixed in the education system during the course of 40 years of occupation, she would have already used her exalted position to raise an uproar in the Knesset and the government against the GOC's instruction, which undermines the right of Palestinians and Israelis to develop relationships on a friendly, familial and ideological basis. She has had sufficient time for this: The instruction was signed on November 19, 2006.
Rene -- ROBERT FISK: BUSH'S NEW STRATEGY
ROBERT FISK: BUSH'S NEW STRATEGY
Published: 11 January 2007
So into the graveyard of Iraq, George Bush, commander-in-chief,
is to send another 21,000 of his soldiers. The march of folly is
There will be timetables, deadlines, benchmarks, goals for both
America and its Iraqi satraps. But the war against terror can still
be won. We shall prevail. Victory or death. And it shall be death.
President Bush's announcement early this morning tolled every bell. A
billion dollars of extra aid for Iraq, a diary of future success
as the Shia powers of Iraq still to be referred to as the
"democratically elected government" march in lockstep with
America's best men and women to restore order and strike fear into the
hearts of al-Qa'ida. It will take time oh, yes, it will take
years, at least three in the words of Washington's top commander in
the field, General Raymond Odierno this week but the mission
will be accomplished.
Mission accomplished. Wasn't that the refrain almost four years ago,
on that lonely aircraft carrier off California, Bush striding the
deck in his flying suit? And only a few months later, the President
had a message for Osama bin Laden and the insurgents of Iraq. "Bring
'em on!" he shouted. And on they came. Few paid attention late
last year when the Islamist leadership of this most ferocious of
Arab rebellions proclaimed Bush a war criminal but asked him not to
withdraw his troops. "We haven't yet killed enough of them," their
videotaped statement announced.
Well, they will have their chance now. How ironic that it was the
ghastly Saddam, dignified amid his lynch mob, who dared on the
scaffold to tell the truth which Bush and Blair would not utter:
that Iraq has become "hell" .
It is de rigueur, these days, to recall Vietnam, the false victories,
the body counts, the torture and the murders but history is
littered with powerful men who thought they could batter their way to
victory against the odds. Napoleon comes to mind; not the emperor who
retreated from Moscow, but the man who believed the wild guerrilleros
of French-occupied Spain could be liquidated. He tortured them,
he executed them, he propped up a local Spanish administration of
what we would now call Quislings, al-Malikis to a man. He rightly
accused his enemies Moore and Wellington of supporting
the insurgents. And when faced with defeat, Napoleon took the personal
decision "to relaunch the machine" and advanced to recapture Madrid,
just as Bush intends to recapture Baghdad. Of course, it ended in
disaster. And George Bush is no Napoleon Bonaparte.
No, I would turn to another, less flamboyant, far more modern
politician for prophecy, an American who understood, just before the
2003 launch of Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq, what would happen to
the arrogance of power. For their relevance this morning, the words
of the conservative politician Pat Buchanan deserve to be written
"We will soon launch an imperial war on Iraq with all the 'On
to Berlin' bravado with which French poilus and British tommies
marched in August 1914. But this invasion will not be the cakewalk
neoconservatives predict ... For a militant Islam that holds in thrall
scores of millions of true believers will never accept George Bush
dictating the destiny of the Islamic world ...
"The one endeavour at which Islamic peoples excel is expelling
imperial powers by terror and guerrilla war. They drove the Brits out
of Palestine and Aden, the French out of Algeria, the Russians out
of Afghanistan, the Americans out of Somalia and Beirut, the Israelis
out of Lebanon... We have started up the road to empire and over the
next hill we will meet those who went before."
Rene - Shock and Oil: Iraq's Billions & the White House Connection
Shock and Oil: Iraq's Billions & the White House Connection
Published on Sunday, January 14, 2006 by the _Independent_
(http://www.independent.co.uk/) / UK
by Stephen Foley
The American company appointed to advise the US government on the economic reconstruction of Iraq has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into
Republican Party coffers and has admitted that its own finances are in chaos because of accounting errors and bad management.
BearingPoint is fighting to restore its reputation in the US after falling
more than a year behind in reporting its own financial results, prompting
legal actions from its creditors and shareholders.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, BearingPoint employees gave
$117,000 (£60,000) to the 2000 and 2004 Bush election campaigns, more than
any other Iraq contractor. Other recipients include three prominent Congressmen on the House of Representatives' defence sub-committee, which oversees defence department contracts.