January 10, 2008

Palestine is dead

You may now kiss the bride

Rats leave a sinking ship – but what is an appropriate metaphor for people who deliberately board a sinking ship? That is where Mahmoud Abbas, the puppet head of the Palestinian “Authority,” has put himself. The fortunes of both of his mentors – the US and Israel – are in precipitous decline. But no matter. Mahmoud Abbas, who a friend of mine has given the nom de guerre of Abu-Hamar (that is, McStupid or “father of a donkey”), wants to be with the losing party.

The winning parties, on the other hand, are in rapid succession lining up on the side of Iran. Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf have re-affirmed their political and economic interdependence with Iran. Afghanistan and Iraq have repeatedly declared that Iran does not support their domestic “insurgencies,” but, on the contrary, plays a crucial stabilizing role (guess which country plays a destabilizing role – you have one choice).

This means two things. First, the dream of Palestine as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious beacon of peaceful coexistence, embracing the entire territory currently called “Israel” and “the Palestine Authority,” is practically dead. Second, the anti-imperialist or post-colonial arrangement that is replacing the dream, which is centered around Iran, is of great concern to the imperial hegemon. Hence, for instance, the faked naval “encounter” between American warships and Iranian patrol boats. The video of the “encounter,” supplied by Iran, clearly demonstrates that nothing sinister happened. As the Iranian government has repeatedly said, this was merely a routine identification procedure of passing ships by Iranian patrol boats. The imperial hegemon and its local apprentice (Israel) have tried to make something more out of it. Abu-Hamar will, no doubt, soon join the chorus.

December 03, 2007

Another Victory for Hugo Chavez

No, that was not one of those “Dewey Defeats Truman” headlines. I know the referendum in Venezuela was “defeated” by a margin of about two percentage points, that is 49% Yes versus 51% No.

But it is very curious that when George W. Bush received 49% of the vote in elections that only gave him a mandate to govern the country for four years, that was sufficient proof of his legitimacy, and he was declared the victor. Meanwhile, when 49% of Venezuelans express their trust in Hugo Chavez to govern their country for the rest of his life, the mainstream media label the event as an historic defeat for Chavez, and as the end of the socialist project in Venezuela.

I have news for the newsmongers. Chavez is no willow tree, to be shaken by such winds – to paraphrase an Iranian proverb. The referendum may have been defeated, but the Venezuelan people have won a great victory. The post-referendum years will see a further consolidation of what one half of the nation is now fully supporting. There will be no turning back.

November 12, 2007

Shut up, Juan Carlos -- that's what you do best

For nearly forty years, Juan Carlos shut up and did not raise a peep against Franco's dictatorship. He knows all about shutting up to preserve his own status, despite the consequences of his inaction for his nation and for other nations.

October 22, 2007

The Amazing Mrs Pritchard

That’s the name of a 2006 BBC political drama, their answer to the American show Commander in Chief. PBS has just started to show it. I watched the first two hours last night, and found it rather alarming at several different levels.

Briefly, it is about a working-class woman who, while working as a supermarket manager, gets the idea to run for political office. The twist is that she wants to run outside all of the existing parties, because she thinks they are all drunk with power and politics. She wants to put government in ordinary people’s hands. She declares herself a member of the Purple Alliance (she likes purple), gets substantial funding from the supermarket’s owner (for very vague reasons), hundreds of others run on her party’s list across the country, and, guess what, she becomes Prime Minister of Her Majesty’s Government.

Sounds kind of kooky, but also inspiring in a kooky way. Does she remind you of anyone? For me, she is, of all people, a lot like Hitler. She basically wants to cleanse the corruption that has presumably gathered around the soul of Britain. She wants to bypass all existing organizations, presumably including labour unions, civil society organizations, and so on, and base governmental policies on the opinions of the person in the street, that is, Hitler’s das Volk.

Anyway, I hope the show was not indicative of the level that political discourse has sunk to in Britain under the ministrations of Tony Blair. At one point in the show, it hits Mrs Pritchard’s election committee that hundreds of people that they don’t even know have been elected Members of Parliament on the Purple Alliance’s list, and they wonder if there may be any criminals or other undesirable types among the new MPs. One of them wonders whether they may include any fascists. Another one is even more scared that there may be Marxists among the Purple Alliance’s MPs. The fact that Marxist ideology can be identified as undesirable, or even criminal, in a political candidate, and that it can be presented as equal to or worse than fascism, is hopefully not mainstream opinion in Britain today.

To the show’s cast, like its American counterpart, all of the horrors that Britain and the US have inflicted on Iraq are merely results of mistaken policy. Blair was presumably trying to do good in Iraq, but went about it the wrong way. And Bush is just a good old boy. The enemy, however, is genetically evil. Prime Minister Pritchard’s first duty in office is to deal with a crisis in Iran. Two British soldiers have been captured, and, we are told, the normal procedure in Iran in such cases is to torture and execute them. The fact that no such thing has ever happened in Iran, and has in fact only happened in British-occupied Iraq, is apparently irrelevant. The main thing is to save the soul of Britain. If slandering other nations is what it takes, so be it.

I also noticed some factual errors in the show, such as the mention of the Arabic-speaking province of Iran as the site of Iran’s nuclear activities. That province, in reality, is nowhere near the nuclear sites. Presumably, either the show’s writers did not know this, or else assumed that their audience was unaware of it. Either way, it is a small example of the lack of information that pervades discussion of world affairs in English-speaking countries. More ominously, the show as a whole is suggestive of the fertile soil on which all kinds of ultra-right, libertarian, and fascistic tendencies tend to thrive.

September 30, 2007

The Self-fulfilling Prophecy of a US War on Iran?

I think there has been a little too much talk lately about the possibility, nay “certainty,” of a US attack on Iran, and far too little analysis of exactly why (in the world!) would such an attack take place. I (obviously?) haven’t been to journalism school, but I have heard that budding journalists are taught to find out the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of a story. There has been far too much “information” about every element of the supposedly impending war, except for the “why” part of the story, even though the “why” part is obviously the most important part.

Let’s first look back at another one of America’s wars, that is, the war against Serbia. As Chomsky and many other progressive analysts have pointed out over the years, Clinton's war against Serbia was not about the slaughter of Kosovars by Serbs. The slaughter of Kosovars began after the start of the US attack on Serbia. The war was rather about Serbia's adamant refusal to abide by commercial and trade rules that Europe and the US were trying to impose on it. At the time of the war, millions of other people were fooled by the Clinton Administration's rhetoric of "Just War." I think we should avoid making similar mistakes in the current situation.

Therefore, the primary maxim to keep in mind is that every single war that the US has embarked upon has been about promoting the commercial and trade interests of its ruling class. America's official enemies, such as the late Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, have been comprised of groups and individuals who have seriously hindered those class interests. The leaderships of Republican and Democratic Parties share those class interests. That is why we see Barack Obama threatening war against Iran and Pakistan, and also why "Hil" Clinton is more of a Zionist than Olmert. In other words, if either of these individuals were to become president, US policy towards the Middle East would alter not a whit.

I have been extremely concerned about the possibility of a US attack against Iran. Applying the above analysis to the situation, however, I would say that an attack is not likely, as the US would, on balance, have little commercial or trade interest to gain from such an attack. Most of the rest, such as Barack Obama’s obscene threats, are pure rhetoric.

Some commentators have enumerated the deteriorating situation in Iraq, the possibility of an independent attack by Israel on Iran, and Iran’s nuclear energy program as incentives for US military involvement in Iran. However:

a) The US situation in Iraq is not deteriorating. The situation of the Iraqi people has been deteriorating, but that is to the advantage of the US. By the same token, the US does not need a scapegoat for Iraq.

b) The US does not work for Israel. Israel works for the US. Israel will do whatever the US wants it to do, and will refrain from doing whatever the US does not want it to do.

c) Iran's nuclear program is purely about energy production, and the Bush Administration knows it. There is no rational reason to go to war over the nuclear program.

Am I saying we should relax and stop worrying? By no means. What I am saying is that we should base our actions on real facts, rather than facts that the ruling class and its newsmedia want us to believe. What I have begun to realize over the last year or so is that the real problem is much bigger than a war against this or that country, as horrific as such wars may be. The real problem is that the existing political systems tend to give power to individuals who represent anti-human and and-environment interests. That system is the real enemy, and many governments and even supposedly progressive organizations are its components.

Meanwhile, all commentary about US vs Iran, whether from the Right, the “Left,” or the mainstream, has focused on the possibility of war. I think we should spend a little more time analyzing why all these groups are so focused on war. What are they trying to hide. Could it possibly be the fact that none of them have any “clothes”?

But a little more about Iran’s nuclear program, which is supposed to be the “why” of a US attack. Here is a list of some of the proffered reasons for war, along with their rebuttal:

a) “The non-military options have reached a dead-end. Diplomacy is not working.” A dead-end on the path to achieve what? To stop Iran from legally achieving nuclear enrichment and nuclear energy production?

b) “The US is going through the motions of diplomacy because it wants war.” Is this statement not self-contradictory? If the US wanted war, why would it persist so long in pursuing the diplomatic route?

c) “The US, through the UN Security Council, has tried to persuade Iran to abandon uranium enrichment, but Iran has stubbornly refused to comply.” Iran’s refusal has nothing to do with stubbornness, and the US (and the rest of the “Security Council”) are fully aware of that. The refusal has to do with the fact that (i) Iran’s petroleum resources will run out within a single generation, and therefore a replacement energy source is a vital national concern; and (ii) even in the short term, Iran must vigorously pursue nuclear energy, because it has to export as much of its petroleum production to earn foreign currency, rather than to make it available for domestic consumption. Petroleum exports are by far the primary source of revenue for the Iranian economy and government.

Even the progressive commentators tend to confuse Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy with its presumed pursuit of nuclear weaponry. They begin by criticizing Western efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear energy work, but then attribute these efforts to a fear of nuclear proliferation. But you can’t have it both ways. The cause of Western concern has little to do with proliferation of nuclear weapons, and much to do with a fear of an independent Iran setting an example for the rest of the developing world.

June 30, 2007

The Evil That Lurks... Without

Dread and foreboding filled the city’s atmosphere. The worst part of it all was the uncertainty. No-one knew who the bombers were or where they would strike next. And the city… wasn’t even Baghdad.

No… it was London. A bombing attempt had been “foiled” by the police and security forces. The city that should long ago have been racked with guilt, and was not, for the suffering that its national government had brought to the people of Iraq, was now racked with fear – all because of a single bombing attempt. The million Iraqis that the British and their criminal partners have killed or caused to die, the millions of Iraqis that have suffered unspeakable injuries and have had their lives and their country forever ruined – all of that meant nothing to the noble British race. The actual daily bombings in Iraq mean nothing to them. But a bombing attempt filled them with foreboding and a sense of doom.

To me, the event brings to the surface, yet again, the question of whether the human race is inherently and irredeemably evil. Do even the best and most altruistic of us only really care only about their own personal safety and apparent well-being? And if so, is there really any hope at all for this miserable world and this miserable species?

I have not blogged for a while. In fact, I have not really done much serious thinking for a while. These days, I often feel tempted to take Voltaire’s advice near the end of Candide, and concentrate on “cultivating my own garden” and consigning the rest of the world to the hell it seems to be bound for. Is the human species really worth worrying about? Is it not the case that the essential character of the human being negates the very possibility of a better future?

An interested reader of this blog, whom I'll identify as Mike S. from Winnipeg, having noticed the absence of activity on this blog, kindly wrote me a couple of days ago to ask about my welfare. He added:

You posted on Iran's president and his (misrepresented) remarks about Israel a while back. I thought this piece by Juan Cole might interest you:

Informed Comment - Jun 26, 2007


Ahmadinejad: "I am not anti-Semitic"

"Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul continue to show themselves among the few in Congress with any integrity and backbone. They declined to go along with a resolution charging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with incitement to genocide, given his alleged call for Israel to be 'wiped off the face of the map.'

"As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for “this occupation regime over Jerusalem" to "vanish from the page of time.” Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed...."

Thanks Mike.

Our entire “reality” is a tissue of lies and misrepresentations. Nearly every “truth” and “fact” that we believe in… is some kind of lie. Given the falseness of our “reality” and the apparently innate corruptness of the character of our species, does it make any sense to hold on to a dream for a better future?

Here is part of my reply to Mike:

I am physically fine, but I don't feel quite motivated to spend much time on blogging. I guess there are two factors involved: (1) I see one of the tasks of people like me to be to prod the conscience of the world. Since Israel's invasion of Lebanon, though, I am not so sure the world has a conscience. (2) A related and possibly more important point is that I am no longer so sure I know what the solution is. The human species seems so profoundly evil and incorrigible to me right now that I suspect there may be no solution. And yet... I hold on to the dream of a better world, though the dream keeps receding. It looks more and more like nothing more than a dream, an unrealistic aspiration of overly optimistic idealists....

But, on the other hand… maybe the dream can some day become a reality…

This is how:

We are evil, but only conditionally so – and not inherently. We are evil as servants of the ruling classes and their propagandists who have indoctrinated us with a false picture of reality and a false picture of our own best interests. The evil does not inhere in us, but in them. Yet they cannot be fought with bombs and guns, because they possess far more powerful arsenals as well as the ruthlessness to use those arsenals. They can be fought by disseminating knowledge about the real nature of reality and about the lies we have been told about it. A New Enlightenment can save – and redeem – the human species and simultaneously save the world.

May 10, 2007

War Trials instead of Impeachment?

Hard on the heels of the surveys that detailed the shocking attitudes of the American soldiers in Iraq towards torture, the Iraqi people, and so on, which were released on May 4, I received a series of emails (beginning on May 8) urging me to watch some videos that portrayed American soldiers as victims. I am not going to mention the sender's name (or rather his pseudonym) or the titles of the videos that he wanted me to watch, as I do not want to inadvertently assist his propaganda campaign, but I thought I should mention the incident anyway, as other progressive bloggers may have received those same emails as well.

With the ever more obvious resemblance between the Iraq invasion (and the subsequent destruction of that country) and many events and lies of the Second World War (for instance, Hitler’s invasion of Poland on the pretext of a false-flag story and, later on, the deliberate and covered-up targeting of German civilian populations in Allied bombing campaigns), it would not be farfetched to suppose that some US military types are now getting concerned that a similar outcome may follow for them. In other words, they may be concerned that even America’s overwhelming politico-military might may not be enough to save them from Nuremberg-like war crimes trials. It is true that no-one has been tried for the bombings of the German cities, and most of the perpetrators are dead and gone now, but the truth has been seeping out more and more.

Today’s world is a very different world than the world of the 1940s, and the wide availability of information may yet prove to be the Achilles Heel of today’s war criminals. The US military may, therefore, be feeling an urgent need to deflect the blame for Iraq from itself onto the politicians.

April 24, 2007

Slogans for Dummies

Do you know what the popular anti-war slogan “Bush lied; my son died” means? If you do, you are, believe it or not, a member of some kind of intellectual elite.

Put simply, the Americans who are outside the said "intellectual elite" interpret the slogan this way: “Bush said my son wasn’t going to die, but he did.” Let’s call that the A version of the slogan. These people fail to see that the slogan actually means: “Bush’s lies gave rise to a war, in which my son died.”

The important point is that the basic slogan sounds nonsensical to the people in the A group. Their plausible-sounding objection to the slogan is this: “In a war, some soldiers are going to get killed. That is the reality of warfare. So it is unfair to call Bush a liar.”

I think this is really more serious than a simple misunderstanding. It hints at the enormity of the task facing the progressive movement, because it shows that the basic presuppositions of a large part of their potential audience are different than their own presuppositions. This potential audience is so backward politically that it has failed to perceive the chain of events, so clear to us, that led from the lies of Bush and his cronies to the war in Iraq.

April 16, 2007

US aggression is nothing new!

Some conspiracy theorists are fond of the idea that US aggression against the rest of the world was the product of a so-called "Secret Government" that came into being after the Second World War. Some of these people are simply naive and misinformed. The rest, neither naive nor misinformed, are in fact highly worldly and knowledgeable. They know very well that (a) the criminal atrocities of the United States began long before the last world war, and that (b) the scale of those crimes has been several orders of magnitude larger than the relatively minor crimes that these individuals choose to enumerate.

So, why do they do it? Why do they try to minimize the spatial and temporal dimensions of American criminality? The answer should be obvious: (a) as long as their audience has the impression that the crimes began at a relatively recent period, it can easily be kept under the illusion that the United States was “good” prior to that time, and that the recent deviation can be corrected within the system; and (b) as long as people do not know the actual scale of the crimes and their systemic nature, they can be kept under the illusion that the crimes were the work of a few “bad apples.” To cite a recent news item, the revelation about the murder of some hundreds of Korean refugees by American soldiers during the Korean War serves to reinforce the false impression that this was somehow an aberration peculiar to a particular situation in a particular war. It was not. Even in that war, it was not peculiar to that situation. America’s wanton bombardment of Korea killed hundreds of thousands of Koreans who had nothing to do with the war. And the criminality began long, long, before the Korean War…

Simon Bolivar, the liberator of several South American countries, was one of the early targets of American aggression. Nearly two hundreds years ago, he had to detain two US frigates who were carrying a shipment of arms to the Spanish! Yes, the US was trying to keep South America subject to Spanish colonialism! Bolivar complains: “What brothers are these that fail to recognize our independence even after Europe has done so?” At about the same time, he wrote in a letter that “The United States of North America seems destined by providence to plague [Latin] America with misery in the name of liberty.” Nearly two hundreds years have passed, yet those words could have been written yesterday!

The quiet disappearance of bees

Surely it must be more than just a coincidence to see two news stories on the same day about the disappearance of honey bees in Canada and bumblebees in Britain:

Theory: Cellphone radiation killing honeybees?

Scientists fear flight of Britain's bumblebees

The investigation of the reason or reasons for the disappearance of these species is still at the purely speculative stage. What I do know is that each summer I see fewer and fewer of many different kinds of insects than the year before. I hope there are a lot of other people who are as alarmed by this as I am.

April 11, 2007

April 05, 2007

The "innocent sailors" were spies!

"We gathered intelligence"

That's why Tony "Bliar" Blair was in such a tizzy to get them out, and it is also why the spies themselves were confessing to everything -- so they could get out. Their official mission (anti-smuggling) was just a cover and an instrument for their real mission (gathering information from fishermen and others about Iranian activities in the area).

Update: British spies being tortured in Iran.

Whose lawlessness?

The following was my reply to an editorial in a major newspaper that bemoaned the supposed weakness of the UN in dealing with the recent standoff between Iran and the UK:

Dear Editor,

Re "Weak UN stand fails Iran captives" (Editorial, April 3)

In the lawless world we live in, it is interesting that mainstream Western newsmedia only notice the lawless behaviour of the underdogs.

George W. Bush invaded Iraq because Saddam had threatened to kill his father, and now your newspaper offers that invasion an imprimatur of legality.

Israel invaded and for all practical purposes destroyed Lebanon, and yet the Western newsmedia did not appear to find anything illegal in that. After all, two Israel soldiers had been kidnapped. According to our newsmedia, that was justification enough.

Caught between the lawless and criminal behaviour of Western and Western-supported governments and the blindness of the Western newsmedia, it would be strange and immoral if threatened countries did not take the law into their own hands.

April 04, 2007

President Ahmadinejad exchanges jokes with UK sailors

President Ahmadinejad exchanges jokes with the freed British sailors

I wonder if the five Iranian hostages held by the US in Iraq will also be in a mood for exchanging jokes when (and if) they are released. Somehow, I doubt it...

April 03, 2007

What gives us the right to treat (other) animals this way?

Undercover film footage taken by the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals shows laying hens with feathers rubbed off from constant rubbing against their cages

Update: An activist reader has emailed me a list of links and webpages about humane animal husbandry and related subjects. I have taken a brief look at some of the pages, and they seem to be quite informative and consciousness-raising. However, I take no responsibility for what you may see on some of these websites. Please note the brief descriptions of the sites as guidance, and use your own judgement. The descriptions were also provided by the said reader.

AWESOME videos for all ages.

Hard to watch the truth - adults only

Organic Consumers Union - Get newsletter

Please join and use your voice !

Find local farms to support- a must read site.


buy local PLEASE

Humane farming for animal well being
Strict standards and caring people.


Critical activism for the worst of farm animal abuse

Helping animals have a human voice

Doing some of the most important work on the planet

The Ones Unafraid !!! Support them please
Wonderful undercover work ! See the videos.

Amazing people doing amazing work

Great Site- Great Org

Lots of Links

Husbandry Institute focusus on creating consumer demand and fostering distribution of and access to sustainable meat. Their Ask for Change! campaign consists of a wallet-sized card with two simple questions you can ask your waiter, and on the other side, some tougher questions you can ask your butcher or other meat buyer who ought to know the answers. The cards, together with the fact sheet, provide information about the ramifications of each question, and why they are important.

March 30, 2007

Re-setting the rules of the game

The “United Nations” sure knows which side its bread is buttered on. It has been so very prompt in demanding the release of the British soldiers who are being held (in luxury) in Iran. Last year, though, the same “United Nations” was so very careful not to condemn Israel’s destruction of Lebanon, even though thousands of people were being killed, and hundreds of thousands of other people were wantonly being made homeless. When it finally, and very politely, begged Israel to please leave Lebanon, it did it in the most courteous possible terms, observing all possible protocols, including, most especially, the required mantra about the blame that falls on both sides.

This time, though, there is no mention of the blame that falls on both sides. Are the British soldiers guilty of any crime? That does not seem to concern the United Nations. Are Britain’s military operations in the Persian Gulf legitimate? Ditto. Does the American scare tactic of sending naval carriers with hundreds of cruise missiles, including nuclear ones, into the Persian Gulf accord with any kind of international law, especially when we are really talking about a minor dispute between two other nations? Ditto again.

Britain and the United States must understand that the days of empires are over. The sun has set over both of their empires, and the sooner they accept that fact, the fewer people will get killed because of their imperial adventures. If the “United Nations” is unwilling and unable, and essentially lacking the courage, to make this point, it has become the Iranian government’s reluctant duty to substitute itself for the United Nations, and to speak as the representative of a future humanity when logic and good will, not the irrationality of superior force, will guide world affairs.

March 29, 2007

Think about it...

The Western newsmedia's version of reality:

Iran claims it needs the uranium enrichment for electricity generating purposes, while the West fears the program could be used for making nuclear arms.

But could this be the real reality:

The West claims it fears Iran's uranium enrichment program could be used for making nuclear arms, while Iran needs the program for electricity generating purposes.

Why don't the newsmedia ever say "the West claims such-and-such," but it is always "Iran claims such-and-such"?

Update: The above quote is far from an isolated case. Also, the language is used in everything that has to do with Iran, and not just the nuclear issue. For instance:

Britain and Iran are at a standoff over the 15 seized sailors and marines. Britain said they were in Iraqi waters when detained, but Iran has contended the Britons entered its waters illegally.

March 26, 2007

Wages of Democracy?

Just over a year ago, I asked the question: What will it take to dump Dubya?. His approval ratings had dropped below the mid-30s range, and it puzzled me that 34% percent of the American people still supported him, despite his crimes and failures. I asked myself "What more does he have to do, or rather fail to do, to convince the other 34% that they had made a mistake in electing him?"

During the intervening year, his approval rating climbed by a few points, but it is back down to the 30% range again, and there is no reason to believe that it will ever increase again. The overwhelming sense of failure that has overtaken his presidency and the American people as a whole is palpable and inescapable, and nothing seems to be able to change that. It used to be that apparent "successes" in the "war on terror" would raise his profile a bit -- not by much, but by a little anyway. Not any longer. The "confessions" of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the supposed mastermind of 9/11 and just about every other terrorist attack in history, helped Dubya not at all.

So the question I have to ask again, but in a slightly different sense, is "What will it take to dump Dubya?" Should not there be a lower limit in a political leader's approval rating below which he will not be allowed to go? In other words, should there not be an automatic mechanism for removing a political leader that is triggered when his approval rating falls below a set limit? Or at least should there not be a mechanism for a recall referendum that is triggered by such an eventuality? For instance, perhaps there should be a referendum on keeping the leader when his/her approval rating falls below 40% or so.

As I said, Dubya's approval rating does not seem to have any upward potential, to use a business-type term. At the current rate of descent, it will probably fall below 25% by the end of his second term. What kind of legitimacy could a political leader have who is rejected by three quarters of the population? Is this lack of legitimacy, this sham legitimacy, just another price the American people have to pay for their "freedoms"?

March 23, 2007

Jimmy Carter has been vindicated

U.N. rights envoy likens Israeli actions to apartheid

"[Jewish] settlers, largely unrestrained by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), subject many Palestinians to a reign of terror -- particularly in Hebron."

March 19, 2007

One of the few representative governments left in the world

"Iran has balls. Few other states do, even while their populations crave stronger policies vis-à-vis Washington."

--quoted from Graham Fuller, former CIA analyst and vice-chairman of the National Intelligence Council in Washington

South Africa has "balls" too!

March 18, 2007

Israel, and its slave the United States, want Palestinians to give up the right to defend themselves!

Has any nation in the history of the world ever been asked to give up the right to resist aggression? Has any individual, except for slaves, ever been asked to give up the right to resist attacks and seek freedom from oppression?

It is a unique historical phenomenon that Palestinians are being asked to give up precisely those rights. Israel is refusing to deal with the new Palestinian unity government. Why? Because, to quote Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres, "If this is a government that does not renounce terror, why should it be helped?” And what does Peres mean by “terror”? He is referring to the Palestinian unity government’s declaration that resistance in all its forms, especially non-violent resistance, to the occupation and continuing Israeli aggression is a legitimate right.

Who would in their right mind say this is not a legitimate right? Would you? Apparently the United States government, aka Israel’s slave, would say that. It is the only government in the world that, following the Israeli government’s lead, has dismissed the Palestinian unity government. According to Nancy Beck, the US State Department spokesperson, “The national unity government's platform reference to the right of resistance is disturbing and contradicts the quartet principle of renunciation of violence.” Since when has a renunciation of violence included the renunciation of the right of self-defence? I repeat, can a free person renounce the right to resist aggression and violence?

Update: Quote from Olmert: "We can't have contact with members of a government that justifies resistance, or in other words, terror." Resistance to oppression is "terror" -- but what else is new.

March 17, 2007

Israel in full control of US Congress agenda on Iran

The CNN sat on this news item for nearly 48 hours, and finally reported it on March 15. The rest of the media had already reported it two days earlier. Also interesting is the fact that although the CNN cited the Associated Press (AP) as the source, the item has disappeared from the AP’s website, or at least my efforts to find it on that website were fruitless. So, this is also a post about the way inconvenient news are marginalized and/or suppressed by the newsmedia and news agencies. The following is an excerpt from the news item:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic leaders are stripping from a military spending bill for the war in Iraq a requirement that President Bush gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and other leaders agreed to remove the requirement concerning Iran after conservative Democrats as well as other lawmakers worried about its possible impact on Israel, officials said Monday…

The Iran-related proposal stemmed from a desire to make sure Bush did not launch an attack without going to Congress for approval, but drew opposition from numerous members of the rank and file in a series of closed-door sessions last week.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nevada, said in an interview that there is widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting hostility about the Jewish state.

"It would take away perhaps the most important negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to Iran," she said of the now-abandoned provision.

"I didn't think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table if you're trying to get people to modify their behavior and normalize it in a civilized way," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York.

Several officials said there was widespread opposition to the proposal at a closed-door meeting last week of conservative and moderate Democrats, who said they feared tying the hands of the administration when dealing with an unpredictable and potentially hostile regime in Tehran…

"It is simply not consistent for anyone to demand aggressive action against the menace posed by the Iranian regime while at the same time acquiescing in a retreat from Iraq that would leave our worst enemies dramatically emboldened and Israel's best friend, the United States, dangerously weakened," Cheney said.

March 15, 2007

9/11 plotter: "I designed the Nazi gas chambers"

Okay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed hasn't actually confessed to designing the Nazi gas chambers -- but only because he wasn't born yet. Considering the persuastion methods used at the CIA's secret jails, though, I wouldn't be surprised if he has in fact made such a "confession" anyway.

They keep feeding us "confessions" that have been extracted through torture, and the public keeps eating it all up. After all, if the information came from government sources, it must be true, right?... But what else is new.

Update: The CIA abused his children to force him to "confess"

March 12, 2007

El Diablo

Guatemala's native priests have vowed to use ritual cleansing ceremnies to purify ancient burial grounds (shown above) that are to be visited by Bush today. The news has been reported by hundreds of news organs. The reason I decided to post about it was the fact that fewer than 1 out of every 25 of those news organs (none in North America) bothered to mention the reason for the Mayan people's anger. Much of the rest of the newsmedia have trivialized or marginalized this news item, for instance by assigning it to the "Offbeat" section (as in USA Today). The previous efforts of the powerful to suppress the historical truth have obviously failed in Guatemala, as they have and will elsewhere.

According to Reuters:

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Mayan leaders will spiritually "cleanse" ancient ruins in Guatemala after a visit by U.S. President George W. Bush, unpopular here because of foreign policies going back to Central America's civil wars.

The leaders said they would hold a spiritual ceremony to restore "peace and harmony" at the Mayan ruins of Iximche after Bush tours the site on Monday.

"No, Mr. Bush, you cannot trample and degrade the memory of our ancestors," said indigenous leader Rodolfo Pocop during a press conference. "This is not your ranch in Texas." ...

The CIA helped overthrow a democratically elected socialist government in Guatemala in 1954 and U.S.-backed troops destroyed entire Mayan villages in a counter-insurgency campaign at the peak of Guatemala's 1960-96 civil war.

U.S. involvement in the war, which left nearly a quarter of a million people dead or missing, makes Bush's presence in Guatemala offensive to the nation's ethnic Mayan people, youth leader Jorge Morales Toj said. ...

Bush will visit farm cooperatives and schools in the Chimaltenango district to the west of the capital, an area where forensic scientist have uncovered numerous mass graves from wartime massacres. ...

February 28, 2007

Quotations from President Ahmadinejad of Iran

The complete lack of availability of reliable information to the English-speaking general public about President Ahmadinejad of Iran, and the abundance of lies perpetrated by the Western governments and their subservient newsmedia, have prompted me to collect some excerpts from his speeches, open letters, and interviews (along with a link to the complete texts). He is very articulate, and the best way to understand his views is to read the views themselves, undistorted by the Western media.

January 23, 2007

Someone please find this idiot a girlfriend

It is becoming ever clearer that Peter MacKay, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, doesn't understand what the word affairs in his title refers to. He continues to roam the world in search of a suitable match. The latest candidate is Israel's Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.

You can look, Pete, but you can't touch!

Pete is quoted as saying that, in the past year, he and Livni had become “regular friends,” holding almost daily conversations. Seriously, what the heck would Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs hold daily conversations with Israel's Foreign Minister about?

January 12, 2007

Polar bears waiting for sea ice to form

What will people do?
After the garden is gone
What will people say?
After the garden ...

Where will people go?

After the garden is gone
What will people know?

After the garden

After the garden is gone
After the garden is gone

---Neil Young

December 25, 2006

An Astonishing Book

Reading the newsmedia’s daily dose of lies, their errors of omission and commission, has become an almost intolerable exercise for me. Jimmy Carter’s latest book is a refreshing change. The content of Jimmy Carter's book about Palestine has surprised me on so many levels that I don't know where to begin. Probably the biggest surprise has been that he doesn't write like a politician. He fearlessly tells the truth, and, with his background, he is in a position to know exactly what the truth is. His sole interest seems to be to tell the truth, rather than to protect any interests, which is again quite astonishing, especially in an ex-politician. Wasn’t politics supposed to be an institution whose function was to protect the interests of one socioeconomic class or another?

He tells the whole truth, and unhesitatingly points out lies and hypocrisies. To give a couple of brief examples: He explains that Israel’s supposed withdrawal from Gaza was no withdrawal at all, because Gaza remained completely under Israeli control. And he minces no words in describing Israel’s “security fence” as an “imprisonment wall.”

Predictably, various groups and individuals have accused Carter of being wrong or one-sided in his views. The reason they are so furious about the book is in fact the exact opposite of the expressed reasons. They hate the book exactly because it is not wrong or one-sided. In that sense, it is quite unlike nearly the entire content of the propaganda fed to us by the “newsmedia” and politicians. Reading what Jimmy Carter reveals will make you angry. For a change, though, what makes you angry will be the things that a politician is revealing, and not the things that he/she is hiding.

Update: President Carter's LA Times article

December 14, 2006

Imperialism as Taboo: The Missing Link between the Holocaust and 9/11

Turning certain subject into taboos is society’s way of dealing with deeply uncomfortable truths; in other words, it is society’s way of living with big lies.

Imperialism, that is, the politico-economic exploitation of the poor countries by and for the benefit of the rich ones, is one example. In the Third World, imperialism is not a taboo subject. Nearly everyone in the poor countries is aware of it, whether they call it by that name or think of it in some other way. For instance, it is often expressed as a deep sense of revulsion against the US government. In the US, this sentiment is dismissed as ‘anti-Americanism.’ Americans, as well as citizens of the other rich countries, have no wish to know how the wealth of their countries has been acquired. They prefer to sweep the whole mess under the carpet, and label any opposition to imperialism as ‘clash of civilizations,’ ‘extremism,’ or worse.

A more recent taboo arose out of the 9/11 events. Beginning on that very day, various authority figures, as well as the subservient Western newsmedia, have drummed into our brains that we were not supposed to talk about the causes of those attacks. More specifically, we were not supposed to talk about the exact mechanism by which a small group of individuals were led to contemplate and carry out this act. We were not supposed to think about the events that led to it or the reasoning that went into it. Instead, we were supposed to think of it as ‘an attack on our freedoms.’

The same thing can be said about the Jewish Holocaust. Beginning with the establishment of the State of Israel, discussion of the Holocaust turned into a taboo subject. Anyone who raised any questions about the official Holocaust doctrine was immediately branded an ‘anti-Semite,’ an ‘ultra-rightist,’ or worse. People were not supposed to talk about the chain of reasoning that led from the Holocaust to the establishment of the State of Israel.

The same Western powers who, in the 1930s, had turned away ships carrying Jewish refugees from their own shores, the same Western powers whose opinion of Jewish immigration was summarized as “None is too many,” had suddenly transformed themselves into the Jewish people’s best friends. We were not, however, supposed to wonder about their change of heart. It was a taboo to ask: Did the Western powers establish Israel simply as a destabilizing influence in the Middle East, so as to facilitate the continuation and deepening of imperialist exploitation in that region? It was a taboo to ask: Did the Western powers exploit the Holocaust to further their own agenda in the Middle East? It was a taboo to ask: Were the Jewish people doubly victimized, first by the Nazis, and then by the Western powers?

November 26, 2006

A personal note

This blog has been a little inactive in the last couple of months. I think its regular readers understand the main reason for the lack of activity. As I have said before, Israel’s destruction of Lebanon has, in a way, left me emotionally and intellectually paralyzed. I would have never imagined, in my wildest nightmares, that the “international community” would allow such a crime to take place, let alone to leave it unpunished. And yet, the crime took place and the world has done nothing to punish the perpetrators. I feel I need some time to re-evaluate exactly what kind of a world it is that I live in. It is definitely not a world that is ruled by law or ethics.

Israeli girls writing messages on bombs destined for Lebanon

November 20, 2006

Fun with the APEC Summit

Bachelet: "Boy you are fat!"

Harper: "The pot calling the kettle..."

Dubya: "They are giving my little Steve a hard time again!"

October 09, 2006

A Testing Test

Considering the fact that the North Korean nuclear test has been condemned by everyone, from Thailand to Pakistan (!), Washington’s reaction has been very curious. The US has labeled it “provocative,” and has made the routine call for UN Security Council action. At another level, though, the US reaction has been predictable. The nuclear test is simply both good and bad for the US Administration’s interests.

With the US government focused on consolidating its geopolitical interests in the Middle East through a military attack on Iran, the North Korean test could not have come at a worse time. If an attack on Iran was difficult to justify before, both to the domestic US audience and to the world at large, it is that much more difficult to justify now.

There has been some talk in the last couple of weeks about a possible “October surprise” to boost the Republican Party’s dismal situation prior to the November elections. One possible “surprise” that was suggested was an attack on Iran, completely out of the blue and with no prior hint that an attack was actually coming (which is the way Israel always does these things, by the way). Prior to the Korean nuclear test, the scenario seemed credible, as it could feasibly improve the GOP’s position. An attack on Iran seems out of the question now, as it would simply be greeted with shock, both within the US and everywhere else (except in Israel).

In terms of US domestic politics, the test was potentially both helpful and harmful to GOP interests. It was helpful because, contrary to facts and logic, the Republicans are seen as the security party. In that sense, many Americans seem to live in a Western movie, with Republican white hats relentlessly pursuing the outlaws. It goes without saying that a tough sheriff would never even think of negotiating with or, God forbid, “appeasing” the black hats.

To the saner portion of the US population, though, the nuclear test would be more proof, if any more proof were needed, of the catastrophic and criminal failure of US foreign policy.

September 17, 2006

Quoth he ... Never mind!!

You know who the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus was. I know who the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus was. We all know who the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus was. None of us had heard of him until last week, but the "news" media have put an end to that.

But nobody in the “news” media seems to know who the late Ayatollah Khomeini was!!!

The newsmedia have told us, ad nauseum, that Pope Benedict XVI, when making his insulting remarks about Islam, was “merely” quoting -- guess who -- the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus.

But no-one in the mainstream newsmedia -- yes, no-one -- has yet bothered to discuss the triple misrepresentation of President Ahmadinejad’s remarks about Israel. Triple misrepresentation because:

1 – What President Ahmadinejad actually said was that Israel "should be eliminated from the pages of history.” He did not say “Israel should be wiped off the map.”

2 – The Western newsmedia never bothered to report that President Ahmadinejad was merely quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

3 - And, of course, the Western newsmedia never bothered to mention that the distorted translation of President Ahmadinejad’s remarks was the work of the New York Times reporter Nazli Fathi.

The Western newsmedia have even gone to the trouble of publishing the full text of the Pope's horribly boring lecture (it is available at hundreds of sites online). Not one Western news organ, however, has yet published the full text of President Ahmadinejad's speech, whose mistranslation was discussed here, and which was infinitely more interesting and readable.

The Western newsmedia have once again revealed the hypocrisy of their pretensions of liberalism. None of President Ahmadinejad's speeches contain a single offensive word against any other religion or race, while the Pope's speech was clearly offensive for the adherents of another religion. And yet the Western media have made it their mission to defend the Pope...

You may have noticed that I did not say the Pope intended to offend anyone. In other words, I am not saying the actual content of his speech was offensive. In the same way that the Western newsmedia have refused to discuss the actual content of President Ahmadinejad's speeches, I won't bother to discuss the actual content of the Pope's lecture.

Update: President Ahmadinejad, who has long suffered from the Western media's distortions of his words, defends the Pope:

Iran plays down row over Pope (This news item appeared this morning in the online edition of Edinburgh News, later to disappear and be replaced by another news item! The Press moves in mysterious ways.)

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today said he respects Pope Benedict XVI, in a move seen to be downplaying the pontiff's remarks on Islam and holy war...

Ahmadinejad said: "Regarding the issue of the Pope's comments, we respect the Pope and all of those who are interested in peace and justice."

Vatican: Ahmadinejad defends Pope

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly defended on Monday Pope Benedict XVI over his quotation of Medieval commentary linking Islam to violence. Addressing a joint press conference with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Ahmadinejad said "we respect the Pope and everyone must be interested in peace." Speaking one day after Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei accused the pontiff of being part of a "US-Zionist crusade" against Islam, Iran's president said the pontiff's words were taken out of context...

"There is no doubt that there are those who release incorrect information," Ahmadinejad was also quoted as saying, hinting that Benedict's words were "modified."

August 30, 2006

Israel's Occupation

An Israeli recently arrives at London's Heathrow airport. As he fills out a form, the customs officer asks him: "Occupation?"

The Israeli promptly replies: "No, just visiting!"

More Lebanese jokes about their situation and their imperial neighbour:

Three Hezbollah fighters run out of Beirut's southern suburbs after Israeli raids, flashing the victory sign. Actually, no. They were really pointing out that there were only two buildings left standing.

Why did rents go up in Ain el-Rummaneh district overlooking the southern suburbs? Because it has a sea view now!

Why are coquettish elderly Lebanese women very happy about the war? Because it took them back 30 years.

Why will Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah chief, win the Nobel Prize for education? Because he is the only man who sent one million people to school in just two days.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sitting in his office wondering how to invade Lebanon when his telephone rang. Beirut's most famous imaginary character announces to him in a heavily accented voice: "This is Abul Abed and I am calling to tell you that we are officially declaring war on you." "How big is your army?" replies Olmert. "Right now," said Abul Abed, "there is myself, my cousin Mustafa, my next-door neighbor Abu Khaled, and the whole team from the teahouse. That makes eight!" Olmert paused. "I must tell you Abul Abed, that I have 1 million men in my army waiting to move on my command." Abul Abed paused, then said: "Mr. Olmert, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!" "And what equipment would that be Abul Abed?", Olmert asked. "Well sir, we have two Mercedes 180s, and a truck." "I must tell you Abul Abed that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to 2 million!" "Mr. Olmert, we have to call off this war," said Abul Abed. "I'm sorry to hear that," said Olmert. "Why the sudden change of heart?" "Well," said Abul Abed, "we've come to realize that there is no way we can feed 2 million prisoners!"

Olmert sent a commando operation deep into Lebanon. Mission: Capture Lebanese diva Fairuz. He insists on finding the only bridge he did not destroy: An imaginary bridge evoked for decades in a romantic Fairuz aria. "On the bridge 'Lawziyeh' under the shade of the leaves," goes the song.

Early one day, a man rushes desperately to the dentist. "Please take out my bridge, or the Israelis will bomb it!"

After Saudi Arabia decided to donate half a billion dollars to rebuild Lebanon, Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, ordered the capture of six Israeli soldiers at the border.

Amid a mass evacuation of foreign nationals from Lebanon, Palestinian refugees who have been stranded in Lebanon for nearly 60 years are ecstatic: The Palestinian Authority has decided to evacuate its nationals as well.


August 25, 2006

Why They Fight

A couple of night ago I saw the documentary Why We Fight on CBC. To understand American militarism, you need to understand the reasons for it. You need to understand the "Why." Every other documentary I have watched on the subject, including Michael Moore's "Farenheit 911," has mainly tackled the "How." "Why We Fight" gives far more far-reaching answers to the first question than one expects from a fairly mainstream documentary, which is essentially what it is.

It is built around President Eisenhower's words of warning, as he was leaving office, about the "military-industrial complex" . We all think we have heard his message. This movie proves that we have not been allowed to notice the important second part of Ike's warning:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

The movie is an exposition and indictment of the dialogue of alienation that characterizes not only American militarism, but also American politics, and American society itself.

August 22, 2006

The Brain on Pennsylvania Avenue

The latest quote from the Brain:

"Sometimes I'm happy, you know. But war is not a time of joy."

August 21, 2006

Fact-finding mission to Lebanon

Three Canadian Members of Parliament are currently on a fact-finding mission in Lebanon. Below is from a report on their findings published in today's Toronto Star. It is written by Andrew Mills, who has been doing a first-class job of reporting Israel's war on Lebanon:

AITAROUN, LEBANON—The Canadian government must begin direct talks with militant groups such as Hezbollah to effectively bring a peaceful end to conflicts like the one that has ravaged Lebanon this summer, Toronto Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj says.

Standing at the spot where an Israeli air strike killed several members of a Montreal family last month, Wrzesnewskyj said Israel's summer offensive against Lebanon was nothing less than "state terrorism."

"Over 1,200 dead and counting. Over 40,000 apartments and houses flattened. A country's infrastructure dismembered. You look around here," said Wrzesnewskyj. "I believe what's happened is absolutely criminal."

It was one of the strongest statements a Liberal MP has made against Israel since July 12, when it launched air, land and sea attacks after guerrillas from the militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a cross-border raid.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper initially called the ensuing Israeli onslaught a "measured response" to the raid, but as the civilian death toll mounted, he later toned down his comments saying such judgments had become more difficult as the war escalated.

But for the three Canadian opposition MPs who yesterday toured the wasteland of south Lebanon on a fact-finding mission, Israel's attacks here have been anything but measured.

"Those who were injured and killed on the Israeli side of the border feel equally devastated, but the extent of the damage is far greater here. And to say that Israel's response was a measured response is just so far out of whack from reality," said NDP MP Peggy Nash.

Wrzesnewskyj said even if Canada had attempted to play a role, the country's anti-terrorism legislation prevents it from having any contact with groups listed as terrorist organizations under the criminal code.

"We can't shackle ourselves by saying, `We're not going to talk,'" he said. "We must talk."

All three MPs here speculated that Conservatives' unwillingness to send a representative is reflective of their support for Israel's government.

The MPs travelled through areas where Israeli forces have destroyed homes, businesses and hundreds of civilian lives and ended in this border village where diggers have spent days scraping through debris in a delicate effort to remove the bodies of the al-Akhras family.

The Montreal couple, their four young children and other family members, were caught in their ancestral village when the fighting broke out. The home they had sheltered in took a direct hit on July 16.

Wrzesnewskyj called for a full international investigation of attacks on civilians.

"This sort of state impunity has to end," he said. "It's almost having to save a people from themselves. What do you think (Israel's) breeding here? Extremism."

August 13, 2006

Why we love Fidel

Why do we love Fidel?
Because we love the idea of “Fidel”
Because we think there has to be some other way
That there must be more to life and to living than this
That life and living must have some meaning too

We loathe the things that they force down our throats day and night
We love freedom:
Freedom from the chains of television and commercials
Freedom from the chains of futility
Freedom from humiliation

Yet, we know Fidel’s time is past
We know the idea of “Fidel,” too, will some day succumb to the unipolar world that is getting narrower every day
Still, we keep hoping
Still, we see signs that the idea of “Fidel” may be permeating into other places too
Fidel who, once the Soviet Union fell, was left isolated and friendless, is finding new friends and allies

But the unipolar world, too, is hard at work
Its slogan is “You are either with us or with the terrorists”
Its slogan is “democracy,” but only if democracy doesn’t harm its own interests
It supports all autocratic governments, but considers Fidel a dictator
A dictator who has given free education and healthcare to his country’s people
And many other things besides
So we must either be with Bush or with Fidel

But even if some day Fidel had to leave, he will go with honor
He will hold his head high
The same way that his nation – his comrades – hold their heads high
Because he never yielded
He was never like autocratic rulers who sell everything that they have and that they are, all in return for worldly power and status

Fidel will become immortal
Because there will never be another Fidel
In the same way that there will never be another Gandhi, another Mossadegh, or another Allende
And, yes, another Khomeini or another Arafat

And yet…
Such words don’t give us fancy clothes
They don’t give us credit cards, loans, debt, and alienation
They don’t give us the “American Dream”

So, long live CNN and the “free” press, the boundaries of whose freedom are set by multinational corporations!
Long live the hundreds of meaningless brand names, trade marks and logos!
Long live luxury cars and even more luxurious houses, which most of us only see in our dreams!
Long live the material world!

Source: Beyond Words

Happy 80th, and many more! Please get well!

August 09, 2006

"The sovereignty of Cuba must be respected"

To sign the statement below, already signed by over 16,000 individuals and over 200 organizations, go here

"As a result of the communication of Fidel Castro on his state of health and the provisional delegation of his responsibilities, high ranking U.S officials have formulated more explicit statements about the immediate future of Cuba. The Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said that 'the moment has arrived for a true transition towards a true democracy' and the White House spokesman Tony Snow said that his government is 'ready and eager to provide humanitarian, economic and other aid to the people of Cuba', as was recently reiterated by President Bush.

"Already the 'Commission for Assistance to a free Cuba', presided over by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, pointed out in a report issued in June 'the urgency of working today to ensure that the Castro regime's succession strategy does not succeed' and President Bush indicated that this document 'demonstrates that we are actively working for change in Cuba, not simply waiting for change'. The Department of State has emphasized that the plan includes measures that will remain secret 'for reasons of national security' and to assure its 'effective implementation'.

"It is not difficult to imagine the character of such measures and the 'announced assistance' if one considers the militarization of the foreign policy of the present American administration and its performance in Iraq.

"In front of this increasing threat against the integrity of a nation, and the peace and the security of Latin America and the world, we the signatories listed below demand that the government of the United States respect the sovereignty of Cuba. We must prevent a new aggression at all cost."

August 06, 2006

The truth is coming out from behind the cloud of Israeli lies

Israel, confronted with the world’s revulsion at its bombings of civilian targets, has claimed that Hezbollah fighters and munitions are dispersed and hidden among Shia civilian populations. According to Israel, Hezbollah is to blame for the civilian deaths.

Israel’s bombing of Lebanon’s Christian areas has finally put the lie to that claim, as there are no Hezbollah targets in Christian areas.

Israel has a long tradition of deliberately targeting civilian populations in order to erode an enemy nation’s morale. It is now engaged in punishing all sectors of the Lebanese population for having joined hands to repel their common enemy.

August 01, 2006

"Arab street rallies behind Hezbollah"

The absurd intensity of Israel's attack on Lebanon was probably due to the fact that the war on Lebanon was meant to be a stepping stone towards the Zionist entity's wider plans in the region. The war was not just about Lebanon. It was meant to pit Lebanese Sunnis against Lebanese Shias, and, by extension, the Sunni nations against the lone Shia nation, that is, Iran, thereby facilitating Israel's planned attack on Iran. To Israel's chagrin, things have not quite worked out that way.

Letter about Lebanon by Sid Ryan, President of CUPE, to Prime Minister Harper

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Room 313S Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister:

I call on you to immediately denounce the state of Israel with the same voice with which you denounce Hezbollah and Hamas. As president of the largest union in Ontario, representing over 200,000 workers in the public service, I ask that you stop supporting the heinous war crimes that Israel is committing against the people of Lebanon and Gaza.

The intentional bombing of infrastructure and civilian targets – which has already taken the lives of hundreds of men, women and this weekend another 37 young children, is criminal and violates all codes of international conflict and international law.

You have been complacent, and by extension have made the worldview of Canadians complacent, in taking the lives of innocent people and leaving the survivors without the bare necessities of life.

You have turned your back on Canada’s proud history as an honest broker of peace around the world. The proud history and tradition of Canada’s role as an international peacekeeper, begun by the Honourable Lester B. Pearson, has been made a laughing stock in the world.

Your unfettered support for the United States’ soft foreign policy on Israel has violated Canadian tradition and embarrassed many patriotic Canadians. Your “measured response” statement, delivered the day before eight Canadians were killed, has embarrassed many. Your lack of response and criticism to those deaths has embarrassed Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Your blaming of the victims when Israel bombed a UN station is unconscionable. Canada lost a brave peacekeeper, a soldier who was upholding Canada’s marvelous tradition of peacekeeping, your silence in the face of his death is unacceptable – all other countries who lost citizens had the moral values and conviction to condemn Israel for this intentional hit on a peaceful observer station.

Your blind support for George Bush and his policies and your rejection of Canada’s traditional role in the world has left Canadians confused and angry.

You must call for an immediate cease-fire and a stop to the bombings by all parties. I urge you to take a strong leadership role, to reconsider the position you have taken, to be an active force in bringing peace to the Middle East, in saving the lives of hundreds more innocents, and in bringing Canada’s sense of fairness, social justice and peace to this critical situation.


Patrick (Sid) Ryan
President, CUPE Ontario


July 31, 2006

Thanks to Israel's savagery, the scales begin to fall from everyone's eyes

BEIRUT, July 31 (Reuters) - France said on Monday that Iran was crucial to the stability of the Middle East and it was important to maintain contacts with Tehran as part of efforts to resolve the crisis in Lebanon.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy described Iran as a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilising role.

. . .

Asked earlier in Beirut whether he would meet his Iranian counterpart, Douste-Blazy said: "It's normal that politicians who want a political agreement can meet each other."

. . .

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilisation of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilisation of the region," Douste-Blazy told a news conference in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran -- a great country, a great people and a great civilisation which is respected and which plays a stabilising role in the region," he told a news conference.

July 29, 2006

The Great Feat of the IAF and IDF

It is very difficult to become an object of simultaneous hatred and contempt of the whole world, but Israel's armed forces have managed to do just that. My sincerest congratulations to all Zionists!

July 28, 2006

The reason for Israel's targeting of the UN outpost in Lebanon

Israel's baffling attack on the UN outpost in Lebanon is a little less baffling after reading these two letters in today's Toronto Star:

The situation with the deliberate bombing on the UN outpost made me more than a little angry. There is no way possible that it was an accident. For one, Israel employs satellite-guided laser 500 lb. bombs. The co-ordinates for targets come down from the U.S. military satellite system. So any bomb that hits a specific target had those co-ordinates programmed in.

The media fail to mention that on June 8, 1967 the USS Liberty was attacked by aircraft and boats from the Israeli military. The Liberty was flying three U.S. flags — one a large flag. When the attack was finished, 34 U.S. sailors lay dead and 174 were wounded. Israel claimed it was a mistake, but the ship was an electronic ship listening to the chatter and picked up the fact that Israel was the aggressor nation.

So the bombing of the UN outpost fits into a nice history and Israel gets away with it.

Jim Trautman, Orton, Ont.

The UN observers in Lebanon were observing war crimes. So they had to be eliminated. Neither Israel nor Israel's biggest cheerleader, Canada's Prime Minister Harper, wanted them there. This is the other letter:

Are Stephen Harper and the Israeli ambassador to Canada trying to deflect serious concerns about the bombing of the unarmed UN observers in Lebanon by questioning why they were in a war zone? That is their job, Prime Minister, to be witnesses for the UN during a conflict. That is why they have a bunker, built to withstand 155mm artillery shells but not a heavier guided missile. That is the role of the UN mission there. Shame on you for questioning their integrity.

Capt. David Platt (ret'd), Toronto

Gerard Kennedy is the one!

The Toronto Star asked nine candidates for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada two questions regarding the situation in Lebanon:

What would you have done differently than Prime Minister Stephen Harper?

If you were prime minister, what would you do now?

In my opinion, Gerard Kennedy's answers put him far ahead of the rest of the pack as a progressive:

Gerard Kennedy, former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister, said he would have reacted more quickly, both diplomatically and in getting Canadians out of Lebanon, adding, "Certainly, I don't think the Canadian government acted as quickly as other governments did.

"I believe that Canada should have been calling for a ceasefire, and we should have been doing that some time ago. We should be talking to all the responsible parties in the region ... It will be the cause of some regret that Canada did not exercise its good offices in this and people are dying on both sides of the border. It's not that we are a friend of Israel or a friend of Lebanon — we're a friend of peace."

Kennedy, too, is open to providing Canadian peacekeepers.

"If (Harper) has dismissed Canada's peacekeeping role, I think that's a mistake. And that's where I would differ with him. I think at some juncture there will be room for peacekeeping in this and Canada should stand ready, not just to respond, but to be part of the group, within the UN initiative. I don't think it should be left solely to the United States' initiative ... In some way, Prime Minister Harper has let down the parties in the Middle East and Canada by not exercising himself in this way (as a negotiator)."

I am neither a delegate nor a member of the Liberal Party. Had I been one, Gerard Kennedy would have been the clear choice for me.

Gerard Kennedy's leadership site

July 26, 2006

When will NATO bombing of Tel Aviv commence?

"When Serbia responded to an armed insurrection by the Kosovo Liberation Army with a military campaign that created Europe's worst humanitarian crisis in decades, no objective observer could deny that, notwithstanding Serbia's legitimate state interests, its response to the insurrection was entirely disproportionate to the threat. Not only did NATO have no problem condemning Serbia's aggression against Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population, but it bombed Belgrade to stop the military aggression."

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July 23, 2006

A pictorial answer to one lie about Iran

You have been told that Iranian women are oppressed, that they cower in silence under a tyrannical and misogynist political system.

Well... I, for one, would definitely think twice before I try to oppress Iranian women who play rugby football:

The pictures are from a series of national tournaments in various sports currently being held in Iran. True, the women are dressed in an extremely modest manner, showing no "skin" whatsoever. In my opinion, only voyeurs and misogynists object to modest dress in women.

Humanity is very far from achieving equality for women, or for men for that matter. At the same time, the American propaganda about the situation of women in Iran is no more than the usual bunch of lies that are meant purely to serve American interests. Iranian women are no more or less oppressed than women in any other part of the world.

For good measure, here are a couple of pictures from an Iranian fashion show:

July 22, 2006

A friend in need...

As part of Israel's psychological warfare operations, its planes have dropped leaflets over Beirut with a crude drawing of Sheikh Nasrallah depicted as a cobra dancing to the tune of the leaders of Iran, Syria and Hamas.

The tactic would have been hilarious in a less tragic situation. With the major Arab governments having formally abandoned Lebanon to Israel's clutches, Lebanon's only remaining friends consist of... you guessed it: Iran, Syria and Hamas.

The people of Lebanon know who their enemies and their friends are. Israel's brutal invasion has only served to unite the people of Lebanon around Hezbollah.

A member of Argentina's Arab community shows a tattoo of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during a protest rally in Buenos Aires against the Israeli attacks on Lebanon