Τρίτη, 31 Μαρτίου 2009
“Catholic church doesn’t discuss condoms”
Turkey voted Sunday in municipal elections in which local administrators will be elected for five year terms. Here are stories relating to yesterday's elections:
-- Turkey's ruling party AKP wins local elections but loses ground
-- AKP keeps Istanbul,CHP shines with its candidate in Turkish elections
-- Turkey's opposition CHP challenges results in four districts of Istanbul http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11323332.asp?gid=244
-- Surprising results from certain districts in Istanbul http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11320095.asp?gid=244
--AKP loses out in Bosphorus areahttp://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11318525.asp?gid=243
-- Ruling AKP wins in Turkish capital amid opposition claims of blemisheshttp://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11319360.asp?gid=244
-- Izmir another disappointment for Turkey's ruling AKP
-- Opposition in surprise shake up in Antalyahttp://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11317923.asp?gid=243
-- Voters head for beach after ballothttp://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11318530.asp?gid=243
-- Candidate from Turkey's nationalist MHP wins tight race in Adanahttp://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11321311.asp?gid=244
-- Turkey's AKP loses against independent Fakibaba
-- Sivas actualizes the late BBP leader’s dream
--Turkish opposition's female candidate heads Aydin race
-- Pro-Kurdish DTP sweeps Diyarbakir
-- Dashed hopes decays AKP support in Turkey's southeasternhttp://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11323528.asp?gid=243
-- Analysts comment on Turkish local electionshttp://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11323608.asp?gid=244
-- Strong opposition shakes AKP’s dominance http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11319384.asp?gid=243
-- Election results show dimming of light bulb of Turkish ruling party
-- Turkey goes to vote: Now what?
-- Cabinet reshuffle likely after ballot
Δευτέρα, 30 Μαρτίου 2009
Κυριακή, 29 Μαρτίου 2009
By Yossi Sarid
In another moment, this column will break through the censor's barrier and reveal a military secret: Israel is going to war, and zero hour is 9 P.M. tomorrow. And if Al Jazeera and the BBC want to rely on this information and broadcast it to the whole world, I am prepared to accept the consequences of having violated national security. On Wednesday, a military affairs correspondent for the daily Yedioth Ahronoth - yes, he, not a sports reporter - published an exclusive item on the news pages: The commander of the Givati Brigade will be giving pep talks to Israel's national soccer team before the game against Greece. In recent weeks, coaches have been looking for a senior commander who fought in the Gaza Strip. In the wake of recommendations they received from the Israel Defense Forces, national team coach Dror Kashtan and his assistant, Moshe Sinai, contacted Col. Ilan Malka. "Malka intends to speak with the players about the significance of the crucial game and about how the eyes of the nation of Israel are upon them," the reporter said, citing what Malka had told him. "He will demand of the players that they correct the mistakes of the past, just as he demanded of his soldiers that they correct the shortcomings of the Second Lebanon War - because just like in the battles in Gaza, they will not get a second chance. Fight like lions. You are representing something far greater than just a soccer match."
Σάββατο, 28 Μαρτίου 2009
The Court also rejected CACI's effort to shield itself from accountability by invoking the political question doctrine. The Court found "the policy is clear: what happened at Abu Ghraib was wrong." The Court reasoned "While it is true that the events at Abu Ghraib pose an embarrassment to this country, it is the misconduct alleged and not the litigation surrounding that misconduct that creates the embarrassment. This Court finds that the only potential for embarrassment would be if the Court declined to hear these claims on political questions grounds. Consequently, the Court holds that Plaintiffs' claims pose no political question and are therefore justiciable." ("Court Rules Abu Ghraib Torture Victims Can Sue Contractor CACI, According to Legal Team for Former Detainees," Center for Constitutional Rights, Press Release, March 19, 2009)According to CCR, CACI employees "not only participated in physical and mental abuse of the detainees, but also destroyed documents, videos and photographs; prevented the reporting of the torture and abuse to the International Committee of the Red Cross; hid detainees and other prisoners from the International Committee of the Red Cross; and misled non-conspiring military and government officials about the state of affairs at the Iraq prisons."Filed in January 2008 under the Alien Tort Statute, the suit originally included defense contracting giant L-3 Services (the former Titan Corporation) but were "dismissed without prejudice" last year. This means the plaintiff would be allowed to bring a new suit on the same claim.While CACI believes "it is improper for the courts to allow lawsuits against either the government or contractors by aliens detained as enemies during wartime," Washington Technology reported, the court shot down their argument.The insider tech publication averred, "CACI sought immunity against the lawsuits and claimed that the actions of its contract interrogators at Abu Ghraib were beyond judicial review. But court martial and other testimony of the soldiers convicted of abuse linked CACI personnel to the abuse."The giant defense firm claimed in a 2008 book, "Our Good Name," that after five years of numerous investigations no CACI employee or former employee has been charged with misconduct in connection with CACI's interrogation work.True enough as far as it goes, the Bush gang sought to cover their tracks by crafting a legal smokescreen meant to conceal state policies that can only be described as torture in Iraq, Afghanistan, indeed on a planetary scale, and engaged in a systematic cover-up meant to shield high administration officials from the consequences.Despite a pledge to be a "change administration," the Obama national security team has reprised many of the same policies of their predecessors. While the administration has issued orders requiring strict adherence to antitorture statutes, vowed to close the Guantαnamo Bay Detention facility, has dropped the term "enemy combatant" from its lexicon and is considering to kick the phrase "global war on terror" to the curb, the substance of their policies retain many features of the previous regime in Washington.Although a picture of systematic torture of "enemy combatants" has been slowly pried from the state, the ACLU revealed March 20, that the CIA "has a list of roughly 3,000 summaries, transcripts, reconstructions and memoranda relating to 92 interrogation videotapes that were destroyed by the agency. The CIA refused, however, to disclose the list to the public. The agency also refused to publicly disclose a list of witnesses who may have viewed the videotapes or retained custody of the videotapes before their destruction."The Agency disclosed earlier this month that it had destroyed 92 tapes of interrogations, allegedly depicting CIA officers subjecting suspects to extremely harsh interrogations methods. The Obama administration has backed the CIA stonewall. Will they now do the same for a well-connected corporation?Between August 2003 through 2005, CACI provided up to 28 interrogators to the the U.S. military in Iraq. According to The Washington Post, CACI's 2003 Iraq interrogation contract "was awarded in 1998, with the stated purpose of providing inventory control and other routine services to the U.S. Army."Yet in a slight of hand meant to conceal the byzantine nature of that contract, the outsourced agreement between CACI and the Army was administered by the Interior Department! One order issued in August 2003 was worth $19.9 million dollars for interrogation support. In December 2003, CACI landed a $21.8 million order for Army "counter intelligence missions at secure and fixed locations," according to the Post.One of those "secure and fixed locations" was the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.Responding to the Court decision, CACI claims that the lawsuit is "without merit and designed to pursue a political agenda."How upholding the rule of law and the right of injured parties to seek justice in an American court "is based upon an undefined 'conspiracy' involving the Department of Defense and the military," certainly begs the question. While dismissing the Court's reasoning, the corporate news release states:
CACI is a strong and vital partner to the U.S. government in combating terrorist attacks and saving American lives. CACI's technological advances and skilled workforce have played a key role in thwarting terrorism and defending our homeland. The men and women of this company make sacrifices every day to ensure Americans can go about their daily lives without having to worry about the next suicide bomber or aircraft attack on American soil. And they will continue to make these sacrifices for the good of their fellow Americans. ("CACI Responds to Court's Decision in Iraq Lawsuit," CACI International Inc., News Release, March 23, 2009)One might reasonably inquire: how does the application of insidious torture techniques culled from the CIA's infamous KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual or the Pentagon's Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual-1983 compendium, or reverse-engineered Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) tactics "save American lives."Multiple reports by investigative journalists and human rights' advocates have revealed these were precisely the methods employed at Abu Ghraib by CIA, military interrogators and outsourced contractors on detainees, many of whom had been brutalized over a period of years.According to CCR's synopsis of the case, Al Shimari v. CACI et al.: "Among the heinous acts to which the four Plaintiffs were subjected at the hands of the defendant and certain government co-conspirators were: electric shocks; repeated brutal beatings; sleep deprivation; sensory deprivation; forced nudity; stress positions; sexual assault; mock executions; humiliation; hooding; isolated detention; and prolonged hanging from the limbs."Rather than the sadistic acts of "rogue elements" or a few "bad apples," the systematic application of sensory deprivation techniques and other horrific methods designed to psychologically break down prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere are practices that evolved from the CIA's torture playbook.
The more completely the place of confinement eliminates sensory stimuli, the more rapidly and deeply will the interrogatee be affected. Results produced only after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days in a cell which has no light (or weak artificial light which never varies), which is sound-proofed, in which odors are eliminated, etc. An environment still more subject to control, such as water-tank or iron lung, is even more effective. (Central Intelligence Agency, KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrorgation, July 1963, p. 90)The use of stress positions by interrogators to elicit compliance by "resistant subjects" was another technique employed at Abu Ghraib and across the planetary nexus of CIA "black sites." In A Question of Torture, historian Alfred W. McCoy describes the phenomenon as "self-inflicted pain." KUBARK theoreticians aver:
It has been plausibly suggested that, whereas pain inflicted on a person from outside himself may actually focus or intensify his will to resist, his resistance is likelier to be sapped by pain which he seems to inflict upon himself. "In the simple torture situation the contest is one between the individual and his tormentor (.... and he can frequently endure). When the individual is told to stand at attention for long periods, an intervening factor is introduced. The immediate source of pain is not the interrogator but the victim himself. The motivational strength of the individual is likely to exhaust itself in this internal encounter.... As long as the subject remains standing, he is attributing to his captor the power to do something worse to him, but there is actually no showdown of the ability of the interrogator to do so." (KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation, p. 94)In other words, though completely at the tender mercies of his or her captors it is the detainee and not the interrogator, who is responsible for inflicting pain and suffering. As McCoy points out, "Synthesizing the behavioral research done by contract academics, the manual spelled out a revolutionary two-phase form of torture that relied on sensory deprivation and self-inflicted pain for an effect that, for the first time in the two millennia of this cruel science, was more psychological than physical."While CACI may protest that "none of the four Iraqi plaintiffs alleges any interaction with anyone affiliated with CACI," on the contrary, CCR's case summary states that,
All of the plaintiffs are innocent Iraqis who were ultimately released without ever being charged with a crime. They all continue to suffer from physical and mental injuries caused by the torture and other abuse. Suhail Najim Abdullah Al Shimari was detained from 2003 until 2008, during which he was held at Abu Ghraib "hard site" for about two months. While he was there, CACI and its co-conspirators tortured him in various ways. He was subjected to electric shocks, deprived of food, threatened by dogs, and kept naked while forced to engage in physical activities to the point of exhaustion. Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid was detained from 2003 until 2005, during which he was imprisoned at Abu Ghraib "hard site" for about three months. While detained there, CACI and its co-conspirators tortured Mr. Rashid by placing him in stress positions for extended periods of time, humiliating him, depriving him of oxygen, food, and water, shooting him in the head with a taser gun, and by beating him so severely that he suffered from broken limbs and vision loss. Mr. Rashid was forcibly subjected to sexual acts by a female as he was cuffed and shackled to cell bars. He was also forced to witness the rape of a female prisoner. Sa'ad Hamza Hantoosh Al-Zuba'e was imprisoned at Abu Ghraib from 2003 until 2004. CACI and its co-conspirators tortured him while he was detained there by subjecting him to extremely hot and cold water, beating his genitals with a stick, and detaining him in a solitary cell in conditions of sensory deprivation for almost a full year. Salah Hasan Nusaif Jasim Al-Ejaili was imprisoned at the Abu Ghraib "hard site" for approximately four months. While he was there, CACI and its co-conspirators stripped him and kept him naked, threatened him with dogs, deprived him of food, beat him, and kept him in a solitary cell in conditions of sensory deprivation. (Al Shimari v. CACI et al., Center for Constitutional Rights, updated March 19, 2009)The veracity of CACI's rejection of the charges were undercut by investigative journalist Mark Benjamin in 2006. Among the infamous torture photographs released by Salon, one shows CACI interrogator Daniel Johnson placing an Iraqi prisoner in an "unauthorized stress position." Etaf Mheisen, a civilian translator with Titan Corp., was assisting Johnson during the interrogation. Army investigators concluded that there was "probable cause" that a crime had been committed, according to Salon. Corporal Charles Graner, convicted and imprisoned for his role in the scandal told Army investigators,
...that Johnson told him to inflict pain by squeezing pressure points on the same prisoner's face and body and that he "roughed up" the prisoner at Johnson's instigation. Frederick told the investigators that Johnson twice personally interfered with the prisoner's breathing and that he copied him: "I would put my hand over his mouth and pinch his nose," so the prisoner could not breathe. (Mark Benjamin, "No Justice for All," Salon, April 14, 2006)Despite these serious charges, CACI continues to be showered with multi-million dollar contracts by the federal government. Democracy Now! reported in 2008 that the corporation received a $60 million dollar contract "to provide technical assistance" to the U.S. Army and a five-year $12.5 million award to provide "management support" to the Department of Justice.Washington Technology revealed that the firm earned some $1,105,765,855 from defense-related contracts across a wide array of federal agencies. The Arlington, VA firm derived only $231,706,298 in civilian revenue. CorpWatch's Collaborative Research on Corporations (Crocodyl) reports:
CACI, founded in the early 1960s as California Analysis Center Inc., is almost entirely a Beltway Bandit--some 94 percent of its revenue is derived from contracts with the U.S. government. About two-thirds of that revenue comes from the Pentagon, but CACI also enjoys the patronage of the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Commerce, Justice and Transportation. At the end of its last fiscal year, CACI had a contract backlog worth some $6.4 billion. (Phil Mattera, "Company Profile: CACI International Inc.," Crocodyl, September 14, 2008)As retired U.S. Army Major General Antonio Taguba, forced out of the Army after uncovering widespread prisoner abuse in Iraq wrote in Broken Laws, Broken Lives,
After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.Whether the torture enablers were high government officials or corporations who have profited handsomely from America's oxymoronic "war on terror," it is a matter of justice and human decency that those who designed or perpetrated these criminal acts be brought to book. http://uruknet.info/?p=m52951&hd=&size=1&l=e
Mubarak along with Saudi Monarch AbdullahWith the main goal of isolating Iran in the region, Saudi and Egyptian leaders step up efforts to woo Syria against the Islamic Republic. In an early March meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Saudi King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak joined forces to drive a wedge between Syria and Iran, taking matters in their own hands. During the summit, Abdullah attempted to cajole Syrian President Bashar Assad into breaking ties with Tehran by promising financial and political support, said a Saudi royal adviser. "What we said was, 'Come back to the Arab fold, and after that everything you need can come," AFP quoted the Saudi official speaking on condition of anonymity. Mubarak, by contrast, drove a much harder bargain in his talks with the Syrian president. Mubarak reportedly demanded that Assad immediately resign from the Iranian side, warning that there would be no major diplomatic overtures until Syria shows a real change of behavior, said an Egyptian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity. So far, there has been no sign of a breakthrough. On Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem visited Iran and proclaimed that ties between Damascus and Tehran were "excellent." Syria and Iran have been bitterly feuding with Saudi Arabia and Egypt over a string of political issues -- including their silence and lack of action against Israel's recent attack on the Gaza Strip. Relations soured even more after Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, urged fellow Arabs to forge "a unified and a joint vision" to face up to Iran and Syria on March 4.
1. They will not be satisfied with a single nuclear bomb, but would rather build up an arsenal of 10 to 12 bombs and warheads for which they are short of enough enriched uranium at the moment.
2. Tehran is no longer deterred by fear of an American or European attack, Yadlin explained in his briefing Wednesday. Its leaders are standing by to see what rewards are on offer from US president Barack Obama for improving Washington-Tehran and how they may profit in strategic, diplomatic and economic terms. If the American incentives fall short, Tehran can push ahead with its nuclear weapon.
In his briefing, Yadlin avoided pointing out that Obama's projected rewards for Tehran would be at the expense of Israel's strategic standing or even its military might. This awareness has prompted the sharply conflicting US and Israel intelligence evaluations of the point at which Iran's nuclear bomb program stands at present. While the AMAN chief says the capability is there but not yet fulfilled, the Americans speak of a timeline of 1-5 years or more. Until now, both Western and Israeli experts maintained Iran has not yet acquired the technology for mounting nuclear warheads on missiles. Yadlin now reveals Tehran is already there, a conclusion reached after the Iranians sent their first earth satellite, Omid, into space on Jan. 3. The launch meant that Iran can deliver nuclear warheads by ballistic missile to any point on earth.
μετα από παρέμβαση αναδημοσιεύω..>>[..LATHOS STOIXEIA 9:30πμ, Σάββατο 28 Μαρτίου 2009 http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1010608 αυτός στην δεύτερη φωτογραφία δεν είναι ο Πλεύρης αλλά ένας φουκαράς από τον Βόλο γνωστός με το μικρό του όνομα ''Παύλος''.αυτός -ο γνωστός και ως Παυλάρας- είναι αυτός που φαίνεται και στην εκπομπή ''made in greece'' της Διγενή να ζει σε μία καλύβα και να ''απειλεί'' κάτι μπαγλαμάδες δημοσιογράφους που ενώ ξέρανε οτι ο άνθρωπος είχε προβλήματα(...) επιμένανε να του πάρουν και καλά συνέντευξη...]
this post is hidden !! from UK INDYMEDIA ..!! ( http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/03/425304.html ) God knows why ..
By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service
Greek court officials said judges overturned Friday a far-rightist's conviction for inciting racial hatred with a book that denies the Holocaust took place. A five-member panel of appeals court judges voted 4-1 to overturn a lower court's decision that sentenced Costas Plevris to 14 months in prison for his book "The Jews: The whole truth." The Greek News newspaper quoted Plevris as having glorified Hitler and calling for the extermination of the Jews in his 1,400 page book. He declares himself "a Nazi, a fascist, a racist, an anti-democrat, an anti-Semite," according to the Greek-American paper. "Jews are mortal enemies and deserve the firing squad," he was quoted as saying. Court officials said the Athens appeals court ruled that Plevris was entitled to express his views in the book. In the first trial in 2007, Greek Jewish community leaders had testified that Plevris' book has led to an increase in attacks on Jewish monuments.
Phil Gordon, nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Thursday declined to qualify World War I -era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as "genocide" during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.The Senate must confirm all senior administration officials.During the confirmation hearing at the committee, pro-Armenian Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez complained that Gordon, in his articles as an expert, in recent years had written that congressional recognition of the Armenian killings would not be useful because of the backlash it would cause in Turkey. Menendez then asked Gordon his latest position on the Armenian killings.Gordon qualified the deaths as a "terrible tragedy" that should be seen as such by everybody, including Turks. But he declined to use the word "genocide."The term "terrible tragedy" does not satisfy U.S. Armenians, who strongly push for formal U.S. recognition of the killings as genocide.Turkey warns that any U.S. genocide recognition will damage relations in a major and lasting way.Cyprus On Cyprus, Menendez asked Gordon if he qualified Turkey's military presence on the island as an "occupation." Gordon instead used the term "Turkish presence."Menendez then said Obama had used the term "Turkish occupation" during last year's presidential election campaign.Greek News, a New York-based U.S. Greek magazine, said in October last year that Obama, in a statement to Greek Americans, had called the Turkish military presence in northern Cyprus "Turkish occupation."But no such statement was released by Obama's official Web site. Also an Obama position paper on foreign policy matters made no mention of a Turkish occupation. But at the same time the Obama campaign never denied the Greek News story. Gordon said Turkey had a major role to play in its region and that U.S.-Turkish relations should be improved.If Gordon is approved first by the Foreign Relations Committee and later in a Senate floor vote, he will take over the job from Dan Fried, who has been former President George W. Bush's assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs for the past four years.During former President Bill Clinton's term, Gordon was European director at the National Security Council at the White House.Gordon was a senior Europe expert at the Brookings Insti-tution, a major Democratic-leaning think tank here.
οι "μα..." πληρώνονται.. τον κάνανε ήρωα άλλη μία φορά..
Παρασκευή, 27 Μαρτίου 2009
Ο Υπουργός Υγείας κ. Αβραμόπουλος, βασιζόμενος σε βασιλικό διάταγμα του 57, παύει το νεοεκλεγμένο Διοικητικό Συμβούλιο
Πέμπτη, 26 Μαρτίου 2009
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
As the final curtain comes down on the Olmert government, CBS reported a sensational air force bombing of an Iranian weapons convoy in Sudan. If Olmert's critics claim that his main legacy is two wars - one failed (Lebanon) and the other problematic (Gaza) - and the failure to return Gilad Shalit, here is a rebuttal. Despite his deficiencies, the prime minister has throughout his term demonstrated a steely determination in leading military operations into enemy territory. A series of decisions, some of which we only learn of through reports in foreign media, reflect a willingness to take risks in approving distant, secret operations aimed at ensuring Israel's strategic position. First and foremost is the decision to destroy the nuclear facility in Syria. Also of paramount importance was the attack on the cache of Fajr missiles on the first night of the Second Lebanon War and (according to foreign media), the bombing in Sudan, and the liquidation of senior Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyeh and Syrian general Mohammed Suleiman. The timing of the operation - not long after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza - is indicative of the importance which Israel places in its execution. If the powers that be decide that it is worth taking the risk and striking targets some 1,400 kilometers outside of Israel's borders, than it would appear that Israel believed Iran is seeking to supply Gaza with significant armaments. A reasonable assumption would be that Iran sought to provide Hamas with Fajr missiles, whose deployment in Gaza would constitute what the IDF terms as "a weapon that shifts the balance." During the Gaza lull, Hamas smuggled Katyusha rockets with an increased range from 20 kilometers to 40 kilometers. If it successfully managed to obtain Fajrs, Hamas could have placed Tel Aviv within missile range, which is exactly the coup it has sought in an effort to create the impression of a victory over Israel. What does Iran learn from all this? That Israel possesses exceptional intelligence, a willingness to take great risk, and an ability to act successfully against targets far from Israel's borders. Yet Iran knew all this after the previous strikes. If the reports are true, the bombing in Sudan was an important message of deterrence from Israel to Iran, yet the road from Sudan to the destruction of Iran's nuclear program is a long one. As such, a quartet of F-15 fighter jets is insufficient. A large number of planes taking part in wave after wave of bombing sorties against numerous targets - most of them ensconced deep underground - is required.
A Sudanese minister has told Al Jazeera that the US launched two air raids in the country earlier this year.Mabrouk Mubarak Salim, the state minister for highways, said on Thursday that Sudanese, Somalis, Ethiopians, and Eritreans were killed in the attacks in January and February.The attacks targeted a number of vehicles in the desert near the eastern city of Port Sudan, Salim said.Photos released by a Sudanese intelligence source to Al Jazeera show what is said was the aftermath of the attacks.More than 50 people received treatment at a hospital in the town of Kassala after the raids, which were launched from the US fleet in the Red Sea, Salim said.However, Deng Alor, the Sudanese foreign minister, said in Egypt on Wednesday that he had no knowledge of any such air raid."We have no information about such an attack," he said.'Israel involved' The US-based CBS network reported similar attacks on Wednesday, but said its sources had told David Martin, its Pentagon reporter, that Israeli aircraft were involved. CBS said that the jets were targeting weapons convoys heading through Sudan on their way to Egypt, where they would have been taken across the Sinai into the Gaza Strip. "Sudan used to provide Hamas with weapons, but that is not the case any more," Alor said.Salim said that the air raids hit human-traffickers travelling through the desert area and the only weapons in the convoys were small arms being carried by guards.Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, spoke about such attacks on Thursday at a conference near Tel Aviv."Anywhere we can harm the infrastructure of terrorism, in near-by locations as well as far-away locations, we will act," he said.Vince Crawley, the chief public affairs spokesman for United States Africa Command (Africom), said: "The United States military did not engage in any air, missile or combat operations during the time frame in question in Sudan."Nor has the US military engaged in any military operation in the region since the US Africa Command was established in October 2008." Ronen Bergman, an Israeli investigative journalist, told Al Jazeera that his Israeli and US sources backed up the CBS take on events."The last operation executed by the Israeli military forces in the Gaza Strip has caused Hamas to lose quite a lot of its arsenal and, therefore, to request for more and more supplies from Iran," Bergman said."Some of those supplies were intercepted in that alleged raid by the Israeli air force."-
Ten years later
Tuesday marked the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the nation formerly known as Yugoslavia – an act of aggression that prefigured America's post-9/11 rampage and set the stage for our endless "war on terrorism" in many more ways than are at first apparent. To begin with, the Yugoslav war, like the Iraq invasion, was predicated on a lie: that as many as 100,000 Kosovars and others were either killed or "ethnically cleansed" from Kosovo, and that this was the conscious plan of the Yugoslav military and political leadership. The 100,000 figure was casually thrown around in the run-up to the bombing, and "Stop genocide!" was the battle-cry of the War Party – a curious agglomeration of the usual neocons and the liberal-Left. This Bill Kristol-Susan Sontag popular front was greatly aided by the personal intervention of Hillary Clinton, who hectored her husband, then the president of the United States, into launching the U.S. attack. Yet what took place was not genocide but the random brutality of a typical civil war, and the 100,000 figure is very far from the truth. That number didn't hold up for very long, at any rate, and was subsequently revised downward several times: 50,000, 25,000, 10,000. The final body count: less than 8,000, and these included both sides, military as well as civilians. This is not good, but it is hardly genocide. Yet people believe the myth of the Yugoslav "genocide" to this day, just as a great many Americans continue to believe Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A lie has only to be repeated often enough before it enters the popular consciousness as "truth" – that's the first lesson in any good war propagandist's lesson book. Surely the War Party had a crack team of liars working overtime back then to put one over on the American people, beaming nonstop misinformation 24/7, as U.S. warplanes bombed one of the oldest cities in Europe at 20,000 ft. – an act of cowardice that underscored the sheer venality of those who launched the conflict. We went to war without UN sanction at the behest of a domestic lobby with a dubious agenda, one that ran directly counter to the national interests of the U.S. and yet was pursued, to the end, with disastrous consequences for all concerned. Does any of this sound familiar? Neocon grand strategist Bill Kristol declared, in the Weekly Standard, that we ought to "crush Serb skulls." He threatened to leave the "isolationist" Republican Party, which was voting against war funding in Congress. Meanwhile, the Democrats were questioning the patriotism of war critics and demanding that the nation stand united behind a "wartime president." The somewhat hapless Slobodan Milosevic was portrayed as the reincarnation of Hitler, just as Saddam Hussein was later made into this larger-than-life despot whose evil achieved Hitlerian dimensions. History repeats itself: the first time as tragedy, and, in this case, the second time as an even greater tragedy – with prospects of more to come. In the former province of Kosovo, the ethnic cleansing that supposedly occurred – in which Serbs turned out Albanian Kosovars – has been put in reverse gear, and the few remaining Serbian inhabitants cling tenaciously to their enclaves in the north, albeit in greatly reduced numbers. The Serbian population has been almost entirely driven into Serbia proper, after a reign of terror that included church burnings and outright murder. All of this occurred under the noses of the NATO/American forces, who stood by and tacitly encouraged the rape of what many Serbs regard as the birthplace of their nation. On this shameful anniversary, it seems somehow fitting that news is breaking of Richard Holbrooke's promise to alleged Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic that he would be left alone if he withdrew from politics and abandoned all efforts to ensure the survival of the Republika Srpska, in what is now Bosnia. According to Charles W. Ingrao, co-editor of a new study of the Balkan intervention published by Purdue University, a trio of current and retired senior State Department officials have direct knowledge of Holbrooke's pledge. While Milosevic was ritually tried and condemned and the authors of the anti-Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign lorded it over Kosovo, Karadzic was on the run. For over a decade he disguised himself as a health expert and holistic healer, living under a pseudonym and a bushy growth of beard, putting up his shingle in Belgrade and Vienna as Dr. Dragan David Dabi. His arrest in Belgrade raises the issue of the Kosovo war once again.The tenth anniversary of the bombing was hailed by Kosovo "president" and accused war criminal Hacim Thaci as commemorating "a great historic day." Liberals of the Clintonian persuasion and neoconservatives agree. Holbrooke was recently appointed diplomatic czar and envoy extraordinaire for the "Afpak" front, what the Obama team has always termed the "central front" in our eternal war on terrorism. The Purdue study and further revelations unearthed in a Times piece undermine his credibility at a crucial time. It was Holbrooke, you'll recall, who played the key role of the diplomatic arbiter during the Balkan aggression, insisting on the complete prostration of the Serb minorities in Bosnia and Kosovo and authoring the Dayton Accords, in effect the death warrant of the former Yugoslavia and the beginning of the re-balkanization of the region. Just the man for the job of sowing chaos in the tribal regions of Pakistan and environs. Holbrooke wisely refused to put his promise on paper, yet there is apparently plenty of evidence that such a deal was struck – and that the capture of Karadzic and his subsequent trial is taking place precisely because he didn't keep his part of the deal. The Times reports the testimony of an American involved with the peacekeeping effort in the region, who spoke to Holbrooke on the eve of the 2000 Bosnian elections:
"'Holbrooke was angry; he was ranting,' the American recalled. He quoted Mr. Holbrooke as saying: 'That son of a bitch Karadzic. I made a deal with him that if he'd pull out of politics, we wouldn't go after him. He's broken that deal and now we're going to get him.'"Well, they got him, but they can't admit the existence of the deal, just like they can't admit the deal made by George Herbert Walker Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, as the Berlin Wall was falling. Gorbachev agreed to let East Germany go on the condition that NATO would not advance eastward – and Bush I signed on. Today, NATO has advanced to the gates of Moscow and American-made "missile defense" in Poland and the Czech Republic has the Kremlin looking down a gun barrel. When it comes to dealing with the Slavs, no agreement is taken seriously by the Americans, and that includes the INF treaty signed by Reagan and violated by his successors until, today, we have a new arms race in the offing, and the prospect of a new cold war as well. The Kosovo conflict was in many ways but a dress rehearsal for the massive U.S. military interventions of the post-9/11 era. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is merely the Balkan version of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) – an American-financed-and-armed exile group that provides intelligence of dubious provenance and a political front to lend U.S. military action an aura of legitimacy. The chief difference is that, unlike the KLA, the INC was never a real fighting force and never amounted to anything politically, either. When it comes to the Kosovo war, the liberal interventionists who inhabit the foreign policy councils of the Obama administration, such as Holbrooke and Hillary, can crow that their version of imperialism is more pragmatic and effective – and even tout it as a "model" for what is being planned in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's what this new emphasis on "multilateralism" is all about: not a softening of the U.S. approach, but a smarter and more "pragmatic" militarism, one that involves a long-term "nation-building" approach that deploys political and economic weapons as well as bombing campaigns and boots on the ground. The extension of NATO into the wilds of Central Asia and the Caucasus will carry this essentially anti-Russian campaign to a new level. Kosovo, like Iraq, is riven with ethnic and religious warfare that threatens to break out at any moment into full-scale civil war, which could bring in Serbia and prompt action by NATO – and you can guess on which side they'll intervene. This could well be the arena where Obama takes on Putin and gets to pose as a tough guy even as he launches a diplomatic blitz in the Middle East aimed at Iran.On the Russian question, the Obama administration promises to be even more belligerent and aggressive than the Bush administration. During the presidential campaign, Obama came out for admitting Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. John McCain's exhortation, during one presidential debate, that we "watch Ukraine" is advice well worth taking. This is one civilizational war that all factions of the War Party can agree on, and certainly the groundwork has been laid with all the anti-Russian stunts and rhetoric of the past few years. From the Litvinenko affair to the Yushchenko "poisoning," the propaganda war against the Kremlin has taken on a novelistic air – pulp fiction, to be sure, and for that reason very effective. The Kosovo war was essentially the first shot fired in a new cold war against what is invariably described as "resurgent Russia," i.e., a Russia without the oligarchs and Yeltsin, who plundered and weakened the country to the point of complete collapse. Coupled with inevitable allusions to Stalin and overblown charges that the country is backsliding into totalitarianism, the Russophobes have been on the march for the last decade or so, urging in effect a war of civilizations – not against Islam, as in the neoconservative version, but a struggle pitting the West against the Slavic East, supporting wars of "liberation" from Georgia to Chechnya and beyond. Right now, the odds are better than even that we'll allow ourselves to get dragged into yet another such righteous and harebrained crusade. ~
Τετάρτη, 25 Μαρτίου 2009
Franklin Lamb - Mieh Mieh Palestinian Camp, SidonMarch 24, 2009
Yesterday afternoon, Kamal Medhat, 58, known in Lebanon’s Palestinian Camps affectionately as 'Kamal Naji’ a senior member of the Palestinian Fatah movement was killed exiting Mieh Meih Camp by a 25-30 kilogram bomb. The bomb was hidden in a small roadside shed between two checkpoints, one manned by the Lebanese army and the other at the Kifah el Musallah Camp security check point. According to Fateh intelligence sources, a man on a tall building near the Camp entrance watched Medhat's car approach and detonated it as he passed at almost exactly 2 pm. The bombing appears to have been an assassination hit aimed at the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Abass Zaki. Also killed were Akram Daher, Director of the PLO's youth organization in Lebanon, and Medhat’s bodyguards Khaled Daher and Mohammed Shehadeh. Three Palestinians in a second car were seriously injured and are being treated in hospital. Fateh sources claim the real target was Abass Zaki, the PLO Diplomatic Representative to Lebanon. Zaki had left Mieh Mieh, a camp of about 5,000 Refugees, about 7 minutes earlier in a nearly identical window darkened black car to that of his Deputy Kamal Medhat. Medhat has paused in exiting the Camp to further express his condolences at a funeral held for his friend and Chairman of the Mieh Mieh Camp Popular Committee, Raef Naufal who was killed while trying to calm down a two-family feud between the Faraj and Kaouch families two days earlier.The much respected Medhat, who joined Fatah from his village near Gaza when he was sixteen years old, was a fierce loyalist and confident of Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad. He achieved an upward mobile career with the PLO and earned a PhD in International relations and military science in the USSR. Recently Medhat played a key role in tamping down violence and tension among various groups in Ein el Helwe and in fostering dialogue among Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian community. Among his PLO portfolios was former Head of Intelligence in Lebanon. PLO Embassy staff noted that Medhat had recently expressed to colleagues his suspicions that he was being targeted for assassination and that he advised his superiors in Ramallah of his concerns. Their response, if any, was not known to the Embassy staff, but according to Fatah sources close to Zaki, the Mokhabarat Jeish Lebnene (Lebanese army intelligence) has been warning both Medhat and Zaki not to move around the Camps and to restrict their movements outside their secured offices.Zaki, mild mannered, reserved, and a bit formal and distant on first meeting, appears to be increasingly well liked in the Palestinian and Lebanese community. He is available to his people and at virtually every Palestinian event I have attended the past 30 months, Zaki was there—from distributing laptops to Palestinian youngsters on the 26th anniversary of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre last September 16 in Shatila Camp, or various rally’s in support of Gaza. He rarely missed Palestinian holidays or commemorative events at UNESCO Palace or other venues and sometimes joined with Hamas leader Osama Hamdan, in preaching Palestinian unity! Palestinian Unity! Palestinian Unity! Whoever tried to kill him knew that there was a very good chance that Zaka would, in Arab tradition, visit Mieh Mieh yesterday for the funeral of his friend and colleague.
Usual motives--unusual suspects?
There is common agreement in Lebanon’s Palestinian community this morning that the motive for the assassination attempt was to torpedo the growing intra-Palestinian unity inertia agreement in Lebanon and outside and in order undermine Lebanon’s recent stability. Zaki and his colleagues have been working hard for Fatah-Hamas unity in Lebanon. Fatah’s Zaki blamed Israel for the killing and warned it would have serious repercussions in Lebanon and the Palestinian camps. "Those behind the killing are working in one way or another for Israel," he told the media, visibly shakened. Osama Hamdan, the popular representative of Hamas in Lebanon, condemned the killing, saying it was aimed at creating discord in Palestinian camps. Hezbollah said the attack bore "the fingerprints of the Zionists and was aimed at sowing discord."
No shortage of theories…..No one has claimed responsibility and no one likely will. The most frequently mentioned suspects this morning include Israel, Syria, Egypt and the US.One suspect mentioned is a "third party Palestinian faction" led by Mohammad Dahlan in Ramallah working on behalf of Israel and the US and wanting to prevent Palestinian unity to confront Israel. Some have mentioned an Egyptian involvement arguing that Mubarak does not want the Cairo talks to succeed because he fears Hamas with have the upper hand in becoming the new Palestinian leadership. A Lebanese army source noted that the 30 kilo bombed used (one body was thrown 200 metres from one of the two destroyed vehicles and Medhats cars was literally blown up the hill into an olive grove) was similar to the m.o. used in the Tripoli attacks on the Army in 2007. Fatah el Islam is the primary suspect in that attack. The fact of the two day Beirut hosted Arab Interior Ministers Meeting which ended yesterday at the Phoenicia Hotel and which was focusing on "Combating Internal Terrorism" may have been the recipient of a message from Al Qaeda or another group has been speculated upon. "Kassem" a very knowledgeable Fatah official in Shatila Camp and longtime friend of this observer, reported a fairly common deep suspicion that Syria was somehow behind the killing."Kassem", it must be said, is no admirer of the Syrian Assad regime. At the beginning of the Syrian instigated Camp Wars in the mid-1980’s, when the Amal militia cut electricity, "Kassem" was hauling an electrical generator from Shatila Camp to AkkA Hospital on Kuwait Embassy road and was stopped by a Syrian Army patrol and accused of supporting Yassir Arafat from whom the Syrian were trying to wrest control of the PLO. Tortured repeatedly, and imprisoned for four years, "Kassem" sees Syrian involvement yesterday at Mieh Mieh:"Maybe they used Fatah el Islam in Meih Meih of Jung el Sham or others. But they don’t need those fools. Syria has the same intelligence capability as before their army left in 2005. For sure they have never stopped trying to split and control the PLO for their own benefit and not for ours. Think of all the internal Palestinian problems in Lebanon over the past 30 years—Abu Musa’s revolt in 1982, Fatah Intifada, the war in Bedawi and Tripoli in 1983, Ahmed Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Fatah el Islam, and the Salafist gangs in Ein el Helwe now spreading to other camps. Also, the As Saiqa "PLO group" was and is today nothing but a Syrian Army Unit. You know that Palestinians have always laughed at Saiqa who does not have 10 Palestinian supporters but they have a seat on the Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee! Why? Because of Syrian pressure. That is Haram!"
Becoming a little angry, "Kassem" continues, "Franklin, do you really believe Syria is ever going to give up on trying controlling the Palestinian Card? Or on controlling Lebanon? You Americans are so gullible! Haram!"At this point, "Kassems" beautiful, politically astute teenage daughter "Zeina" mercifully intervenes: "I am not so convinced it was the Syrians Bapa (father). The Israelis still have plenty of agents in the camps. We all know that for sure. Remember the recent Israeli spies caught? I thought that one man was one for a long time. There are even Israeli spies inside Hezbollah like their trusted vehicle supplier man in Nabetiyeh arrested a couple of weeks ago. I think it’s not the Syrians but the Israelis. We may never know Bapa", she instructs her devoted dad, a loving single parent since her mother died from Cancer several years ago."Kassem" gets the last word as we depart, "I am telling you that Syria did this crime to curry favor with the Americans and Israel!"Like just about everything that happens in Lebanon these days , yesterdays assassination is analyzed locally through the prism of who stands to gain by this crime in the fast approaching June 7th election. The Pro US-Saudi March 14 'majority team’ or the pro-Syrian-Iran March 8th Opposition lead by Hezbollah.Meanwhile the Lebanese authorities promise an immediate, thorough investigation to find those responsible for the murders at Mieh Mieh. The good people of Lebanon, as is their fate, will patiently wait for the Investigation Report. As they still wait for the Reports of the Lebanese investigations into the most recent 46 political assassinations in Lebanon over the past decade, more than half of those killed being body guards of the intended victims
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Hassan QashqaviIran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman condemns a recent bomb attack which killed a senior Palestinian official in Lebanon, blaming it on Israel. Kamal Medhat, the deputy head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and his companions were killed on Monday when a 20 kilogram roadside bomb went off in front of a refugee camp near the southern Lebanese coastal city of Sidon. Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi on Tuesday put the blame on Israel over the 'terrorist attack', saying Tel Aviv has been trying to divide the Palestinian groups. Qashqavi said "Israel has been targeting Palestinian groups" while they were doing their best to unite and focus on their cause, urging the Palestinian groups to stick to unity and to remain vigilant in face of such incidents. The Monday attack was also condemned by both Hezbollah and Palestinian groups who blamed Israel for the bombing. A top Palestinian official was killed at the Mieh Mieh refugee camp near the southern Lebanese coastal city of Sidon on March 23, 2009. In a statement, the Lebanese Hezbollah slammed the attack, calling for those behind the assassination to be tried and punished. Hezbollah said the attack bore "the fingerprints of the Zionists and was aimed at sowing discord." Palestinian Authority representative in Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, also blamed the incident on Israel and warned that the assassination would have serious repercussions in Lebanon and in Palestinian camps. "Those behind the killing are working in one way or another for Israel," said Zaki, who had left the camp in another vehicle just minutes before the blast. "We are trying to calm the situation inside the camps."