Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guardians of Power - a review

Guardians of Power: The myth of the liberal media. Authors David Edwards and David Cromwell.


The foreword by John Pilger is impressive enough. Pilger calls it an ‘incisive and erudite guide through the media’s thicket of agendas and vested interests’. He claims that MediaLens [the authors of this book] have set the record straight. That is a big expectation for the book to live up to. Can any book really dissect the media interests in this way? How would you even begin to tackle the litany of misinformation issued by the media each day? The media is also very diverse ranging from the liberal papers to the BBC and also a plethora of right-wing papers and TV stations.

The authors choose to focus on the liberal media including the Guardian and the BBC, because they are apparently much more credible than tabloids that are typically full of half-naked women, advertisements, obvious crude propaganda and brickbats thrown at official enemies. The liberal media also constitute a ‘difficult’ target because they do actually carry dissident views including those of Pilger, Monbiot and others. I was pleasantly surprised by the powerful opening chapter that immediately set about ripping apart the reporting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the western allies through the UN. The chapter uses devastating testimony from Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, both former high ranking UN officials, to destroy the myth propagated in the liberal media, that Saddam had deliberately used the oil-for-food programme to deny his own people medicine and food. The cruelty and mendacity of the UK and US administrations in the starvation of the Iraqi people is exposed and the role of the media in assisting them by hiding the massive crime perpetrated in our name using our tax money is revealed. The crass insensitivity of senior journalists who dismissed polite challenges to their output is a wonder to behold and this book pulls no punches in exposing some familiar names as arrogant, rude and unwilling to engage with enquiries about their output. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these professionals consider themselves above criticism by mere members of the public who have the gall to challenge them.

The analysis of Afghanistan is almost as good as that of Iraq. I liked the way the authors used the coverage of Marjan the ‘one-eyed lion of Kabul’ as a backdrop to throw into sharp relief the non-reporting of the starvation of the village of Bonavash.

While the analyses of the reporting of Iraq and Afghanistan are major strengths of the book, the background of explaining how and why the corporate media behave as they do is also very skilfully handled. Relying on the Chomsky-Herman Propaganda model, the authors illustrate why the media behaved as it did in some of these cases, despite the best intentions of many of the journalists concerned. However, the obvious question for me here is that while the propaganda model does indeed provide some explanation of the filters that operate for corporate media, the authors could have covered areas where the model does not fit the British MSM. I think exploring the limitations of any theory makes it more credible as a best fit model. Despite the title of the book, they could also have made an interesting and wider overview by including a chapter on the non-liberal media. This book certainly deserved it. Many of those non-liberal journalists actively and knowingly indulge regularly in lies and propaganda. They certainly did much more than the liberal journalists to beat the drums of war. This is not only due to filters including cynical editorial policies set by authoritarian owners, but also downright bigotry and dishonesty prevalent in non-liberal media. The media magnates such as Murdoch who exert such a powerful influence on their own editors and opinion columns, are a major part of the contemporary media scene. Moguls are very much kingmakers and no recent Prime Minister has dared to fight an election without their backing. The journalists they employ pride themselves on their racism, superiority and lack of compassion for foreigners. Blair and Murdoch spoke several times on the phone in the days leading up to the war on Iraq in March 2003. That alone speaks volumes for the importance of this malign influence. The corruption and influence of the media moguls is not exposed here. Links between politicians and media moguls shape much of political landscape and the book is the poorer for not taking the opportunity to include this, despite it being an ‘easy’ target. One can justifiably argue that rather than the corporate culture and profit margin being solely responsible for the output, the output is being actually driven by the political preferences of the proprietors. Yes, they do look at the bottom-line, but above all they look to develop their political power, knowing that profit will pretty much follow anyway.

Another disappointment is the way the authors develop the subject of the alternative media, when discussing alternative models of media control that bypass the corporate influence. The suggestion seems to amount to waiting for an alternative media to spring up over the internet. Citing the example of the South Korean ‘Ohmynews’ setup, they unconvincingly claim that such citizens news sources will revolutionise alternative media and bring it to the masses. They do helpfully provide a great many alternative sources of information at the back of the book but none of these is anywhere close to being more than a bubble in the ocean of corporate media reporting. A casual public survey is enough to reveal how ignorant the general public remains about these alternatives despite them all being a click away. Jo Wilding and Dahr Jamail are not familiar names to the general public. It is so much easier to switch on the TV and allow the BBC to dictate the framing of news and pay homage to the ‘great and the good’. Maybe it will take the merging of TV with the internet, to do away with this power over us, but remember that your ISP is also corporate owned. The e-brands of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft still dominate the internet. New dotcoms may spring up overnight but they conquer using the corporate business model. Computer hardware manufacturers, software producers and the ISPs continue to exert a stranglehold over the internet. If the minority sites such as FAIR and others were to become major media outlets, the threat they posed would surely have to be dealt with? If the theory is correct, would the authorities not find a way to shut them down? The power of non-corporate journalism may well have increased, but it remains a speck on the radar of corporate media. The alternatives are currently tolerated because they are only accessed by a tiny portion of the population and presumably the security services find it an easy and efficient way to keep tabs on the activities of dissidents.

Corporate links with the control of the internet cannot be wished away and as long as we continue to consume, we are responsible for keeping the corporate culture in power. Some may talk of ethical buying to transform consumer culture, but ethical buying is still a fad and a bandwagon that the major retailers are exploiting. Fair Trade products may benefit the local producers more, but the retailers also benefit by premium pricing. Ethical buying has an unethical dark side. Perhaps all this is beyond the scope of the book, but it is worth bearing in mind when you hope for the internet revolution to start supplying real media alternatives to the mass public.

The book does a good job of detailing western crimes and the MSM reporting in different places such as East Timor and Central America. The power of advertising and the reporting of climate change are adequately dealt with but these chapters do not have the quality of the opening chapters. The quality of the first half of the book is high enough that you expect a pithy final chapter to wrap things up. However, this reader was disappointed. The final chapter is a mixture of psychology, philosophy and discussion of how compassion cannot be tolerated in the MSM. There is nothing that one can disagree with and the sentiments are sound but it lacks the punchy overview and summary one would expect to find in a very high quality publication. There will obviously be critics who will accuse the authors of preachy hectoring and self-righteousness but those are people who have a vested interest in attacking them. If you cannot argue with the details, you resort to smears and that is what a lot of journalists specialise in.

In summary this is a quality publication, well worth reading because if you are not familiar with the techniques of media deception, the book will shatter the matrix and wake you up to reality in a brutal way. It will explode once and for all, the cosy delusions fostered by years of MSM indoctrination that you were not aware of. If you already had concerns about media fairness and reporting, this book informs those concerns elegantly and also educates by providing the necessary background. I disagree with Pilger when he says this book should be required reading for all students of journalism; it should be required reading for all students and non-students alike.

Monday, July 30, 2007


The WSJ confirms that Hamas seized a veritable treasure trove of intelligence information during their takeover of Gaza:

Hamas to Show an Improved Hand

Organization Aims to Capitalize
On Intelligence Gains From Gaza Takeover
By CAM SIMPSON in Jerusalem and NEIL KING JR. in Washington
July 30, 2007; Page A4

When the Islamist group Hamas conquered the Gaza Strip in June it seized an intelligence-and-military infrastructure created with U.S. help by the security chiefs of the Palestinian territory's former ruler.

According to current and former Israeli intelligence officials, former U.S. intelligence personnel and Palestinian officials, Hamas has increased its inventory of arms since the takeover of Gaza and picked up technical expertise -- such as espionage techniques -- that could assist the group in its fight against Israel or Washington's Palestinian allies, the Fatah movement founded by Yasser Arafat.

Hamas leaders say they acquired thousands of paper files, computer records, videos, photographs and audio recordings containing valuable and potentially embarrassing intelligence information gathered by Fatah. For more than a decade, Fatah operated a vast intelligence network in Gaza established under the tutelage of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Find: Palestinian group Hamas seized rival Fatah's intelligence-and-military infrastructure, which was built with U.S. help.
What's at Stake: Secrets, expertise and technology are now in the hands of a group the U.S. calls a terrorist organization.
The Damage: Though the ultimate impact is difficult to determine, Hamas leaders say they will make some details public and share others with Arab governments.

Hamas leaders are expected as early as tomorrow to go public with some of the documents and the secrets they hold.

The exact nature of the threat posed by the intelligence grab in Gaza -- including any damage to U.S. intelligence operations in the Palestinian territories and the broader Middle East -- is difficult to ascertain. U.S. and Israeli officials generally tried to play down any losses, saying any intelligence damage is likely minimal.

But a number of former U.S. intelligence officials, including some who have worked closely with the Palestinians, said there was ample reason to worry that Hamas has acquired access to important spying technology as well as intelligence information that could be helpful to Hamas in countering Israeli and U.S. efforts against the group.

"People are worried, and reasonably so, about what kind of intelligence losses we may have suffered," said one former U.S. intelligence official with extensive experience in Gaza.

A U.S. government official said he doubted serious secrets were compromised in the Gaza takeover. Other officials said they had no reason to believe that U.S. spying operations elsewhere in the Arab world had been compromised.

Close ties between Hamas and the governments of Iran and Syria also mean that intelligence-and-spying techniques could be shared with the main Middle East rivals of the Bush administration. As the White House prepares to lead an international effort to bolster Fatah's security apparatus in the West Bank, the losses in Gaza stand as an example of how efforts to help Fatah can backfire.

[Yasser Arafat]

The compromised intelligence Hamas says it now has ranges widely. The group alleges it has videos used in a sexual-blackmail operation run by Washington's allies inside Fatah's security apparatus. But the group also says it has uncovered detailed evidence of Fatah-controlled spying operations carried out in Arab and Muslim countries for the benefit of the U.S. and other foreign governments. Hamas also alleges that Fatah intelligence operatives cooperated with Israeli intelligence officials to target Islamist leaders for assassination.

"What we have is good enough for us to completely reveal the practices [of Fatah-controlled security services], both locally and throughout the region," said Khalil al Hayya, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, who has assumed a leading role on the intelligence issue for the Islamist group.

Michael Scheuer, a former top CIA counterterrorism analyst who left the agency in 2004, said the U.S. had provided the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority with "substantial help" in training as well as computers, other equipment and analytical tools. Other former intelligence officials confirmed that the U.S. gave Fatah-controlled services sophisticated intelligence-gathering equipment, including eavesdropping technology, though these officials wouldn't provide more precise details about the technology.

This kind of technology, along with the knowledge it yields, is broadly known in intelligence circles as "Sigint," which is shorthand for "signals intelligence." It can include eavesdropping equipment, devices used for intercepting radio, microwave and telephone communications and telemetry technology that allows the user to pinpoint the location of someone holding a communication device, such as a cellphone.

"The United States invested a lot of effort in setting up this system in Gaza -- construction, equipment, training… filings, the logistics, the transportation. It was a big operation, and it's now in the hands of the other side," said Efraim Halevy, who formerly headed both the Mossad, which is Israel's foreign-intelligence agency, and Israel's National Security Council. Mr. Halevy said, however, that he didn't want to overemphasize the value of Hamas's potential intelligence gains.

Avi Dichter, Israel's public-security minister and the former head of Shin Bet, the domestic intelligence-and-counterterrorism agency, also said he didn't want to overemphasize the potential benefits to Hamas. But he confirmed that the Islamist group seized Sigint technology and expertise during its Gaza sweep. He declined to provide specifics, but said it had been provided by the Americans, the British and the French.

[George Tenet]

Mr. Dichter, who left the Shin Bet when his five-year term as its chief ended in 2005, also said the potential damage goes beyond Hamas's ability to turn the technology against its enemies. Now, he said, the militants could gain an understanding of how such technology is used against them, allowing them to adopt more sophisticated counter measures.

"It's not only the tools. It's also the philosophy that's behind them," he said.

Hamas leaders are being vague about the equipment and technological know-how they captured. Mr. Hayya said some important former Fatah operatives in Gaza, all of whom were granted amnesty after Hamas took over, were now cooperating with the group on intelligence matters.

Easier to assess is the threat posed by the military hardware Hamas picked up after the takeover. The militant group seized an arsenal of arms and munitions captured from U.S.-backed security forces loyal to Fatah and its leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr. Dichter said Hamas gained roughly the same number of weapons during a few days that it would have taken the group nearly a year to amass from smuggling operations.

Hamas says it is using the armaments to build a popular army in Gaza. Israeli intelligence and security officials estimate the Islamist group has some 13,000 armed men in Gaza.

As for Fatah's secrets, Hamas leaders say they grabbed intelligence stashes from three locations: the headquarters in Gaza City of the Preventive Security Force; the Palestinian Authority intelligence headquarters, which were housed in a Gaza City office known as "Il Safina," or "the ship"; and a nearby satellite-intelligence office dubbed, "Il Mashtal," or "the nursery."

As Hamas fighters moved in during their June sweep across Gaza, Fatah officials burned some papers and stripped data from computers. But the Hamas conquest was so quick that significant caches remained for the taking, according to the militant group.

All three sites were long under the sway of Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, who first became an important CIA ally in Gaza in 1996. At the time, then-CIA director George Tenet began working openly with Mr. Dahlan and other Palestinian officials to build up security services aimed at combating the rise of Hamas and like-minded extremist groups that rejected the Oslo peace accords.

Through a spokesman, Mr. Tenet declined to comment on the CIA-Fatah cooperation, his relationship with Mr. Dahlan or Hamas's gains. Mr. Dahlan on Thursday formally resigned his Palestinian Authority post. Mr. Dahlan hasn't commented publicly since resigning and he couldn't be located for comment. Associates in the West Bank said he was abroad.

Mr. Hayya, the senior Hamas leader, said hundreds of the group's Hamas's operatives have been culling through and analyzing the intelligence troves since their seizure, with specialists in security, forensic accounting and administration conducting detailed assessments. Significant portions of these assessments are close to completion, Mr. Hayya said.

Some of the most potentially explosive claims from Hamas center on the alleged activities beyond the Gaza Strip of Palestinian agents loyal to Fatah. Mr. Hayya alleged the CIA utilized Palestinian agents for covert intelligence operations in other Middle Eastern countries. Hamas, he said, now possesses a roadmap detailing the names and actions of "those men whom thought were going to continue to be their hand across the region."

Some former U.S. intelligence officials who worked closely with the Palestinian Authority confirmed that such overseas spying arrangements beyond Gaza existed with the Palestinians in the past and said they likely continued, bolstering the credibility of Hamas's claims.

Whitley Bruner, a longtime CIA officer in the Middle East, recalled that "some of our first really good information on [Osama] bin Laden in Sudan" in the early 1990s "came from Palestinian sources." Before leaving the agency in 1997, Mr. Bruner participated in many of the first cooperative sessions organized by Mr. Tenet between the CIA and the Palestinians.

"It's not unlikely that continued to do things for the U.S. well beyond the territories," Mr. Bruner said. "Palestinians are embedded all over the place, so they have access to things that the U.S. doesn't."

Others are more circumspect. Bruce Reidel, who worked for nearly 30 years as a U.S. Middle East specialist, both as a CIA intelligence officer and as an adviser to Presidents Clinton and Bush, said there is sure to be "quite a treasure trove of materials that would document relationship with the CIA." Mr. Reidel said during his time in government, which ended in 2005, "the Palestinians were always trying to prove that they had unique access and information," but he said he was skeptical of Hamas's claims that such operations ventured far beyond Gaza and the West Bank.

Mr. Hayya alleges that while many officials from Arab and Muslim nations knew Mr. Dahlan was cooperating with U.S. intelligence agencies inside the Palestinian territories, many of those same leaders "are going to be amazed and surprised when they discover had actually worked against them for the Americans." He wouldn't directly answer a question about which nations were allegedly being spied on, but he said Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had the most to be concerned about from potential disclosures.

Jabril Rajoub, a Fatah rival to Mr. Dahlan who was long his West Bank counterpart and most recently served as Mr. Abbas's national security adviser, said he was aware of the alleged outlines of these operations, though he said he was unaware of their details. He called the Gaza-based network a "for-hire" intelligence operation, adding that it was active around the Middle East and provided information to the Americans, the British and others.

Mr. Hayya also said there is a substantial amount of evidence detailing cooperation between Fatah and Israel. There is evidence several militant leaders were targeted as a result of such cooperation, he alleged. This includes circumstantial evidence that he was personally targeted in an Israeli assassination attempt after he was fingered by Fatah intelligence officers as a top security threat.

After taking over Gaza, Mr. Hayya said Hamas recovered notes from a meeting of senior Palestinian Authority intelligence officials in which they discussed Mr. Hayya's value to the Islamist group. On May 20, less than a week after the meeting, an Israeli missile was fired into his home, killing eight people. Mr. Hayya was en route at the time, but says the strike came about five minutes after his 35-year-old cousin, Ibrahim, entered the home. The Hamas leader said he and his cousin look very similar.

"They thought it was me," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Shin Bet declined to comment.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kissinger involved in secret meetings

This is a very interesting article:

“The array of talent in Kissinger’s delegation suggests that the U.S. and Russia are engaged in sensitive, high-level talks on issues ranging from nonproliferation and Missile Defense, to energy exploration and development, to the Iranian ‘enrichment’ program and partitioning of Serbia (Kosovo), to the falling dollar and the massive U.S. current account deficit. The U.S. and Russia are at loggerheads on many of these issues and relations between the two countries has steadily deteriorated.”

“No one really knows what took place at the meetings, but judging by Kissinger’s parting remarks, things did not go smoothly. He said to one reporter, ‘We appreciate the time that President Putin gave us and the frank manner in which he explained his point of view.’ In diplomatic phraseology, ‘frank’ usually means that there were many areas of strong disagreement. Presumably, the main ‘bone of contention’ is Putin’s insistence on a ‘multi-polar’ world in which the sovereign rights of other nations are safeguarded under international law. Putin is ferociously nationalistic and he will not compromise Russia’s independence to be integrated into Kissinger and Co.’s wacky new world order.”
It casts new light on the decision by the UK to expel Russian diplomats. Certainly the decisions to bring forward Brown's meeting with Bush and to accept US missiles at RAF Menwith Hill, suggests that Washington is exerting its influence on its subservient satellites:
Less than 48 hours after the “Russia-USA: A View on the Future” conference had ended, British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband announced that the British government “would expel four diplomats from the Russian Embassy in London in response to Russia’s refusal to extradite Andrei K. Lugovoi.

Read the rest here

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Boris for Mayor

Why is it, that whenever somebody mentions Boris Johnson, the candidate for London Mayor, this springs to mind?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Please protest about this to your MP

Fifty people have now died on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, according to Dr Mona El Farra, VP of the Palestinian Red Crescent and Director of the Middle East Children's Association. Sadly, Dr Mona has also suffered the death of her mother who was in Gaza and whom she was unable to reach due to the crossing closure. Approximately 6000 people remain trapped unable to go back to their families in Gaza. The injustice is appalling yet remains largely ignored by the MSM, who remain uninterested in yet another example of Palestinian suffering. The Egyptian and Israeli authorities are responsible for the situation and must be pressured to allow the crossing to reopen. Not to do so, is simply inhuman and callous.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Warrens become the latest Rodney kings

They probably thought they could get away with doing, whatever the hell they liked. The black couple that stopped to protest at the savage stomping of a black youth were themselves punched and viciously assaulted by police officers for daring to protest or witness their brutality. How many times have the cops got away with this type of behaviour because their victims were nobodies with no influence? However, this time they picked the wrong couple:

New York – A human rights attorney known for handling cases of police brutality became a victim of police abuse last Thursday evening in Brooklyn. Attorney Michael Tarif Warren and his wife Evelyn, who is also an attorney, were driving along Vanderbilt Avenue around 6 p.m., when they witnessed NYPD officers “kicking and stomping” a handcuffed young Black man. The Warrens pulled over to help.

Warren, a high profile attorney who has been practicing law for 28 years, said: “We saw a young kid being chased by a horde of policemen across a McDonald’s parking lot. They tackled him and immediately put handcuffs on him. Then Sgt. Talvy, who appeared to be in charge, began kicking him in the head and ribs and stomping him on the neck.” The other police officers followed suit. “They literally gave this kid a beating which was unconscionable.”

“Not only as people of conscience and moral decency, but as lawyers, we said this is outrageous.” They arrived and stood “more than 10 feet away,” he said. Mr. Warren told Sgt. Talvy they were lawyers and told him to stop and just take the young man to the precinct. In response, he said, “Talvy shouted, I don’t give a f**k who you are. Get the f**k back in your car!”

They returned to their car, and Mr. Warren began to write down the license plate numbers of the police vehicles as they watched them put the bleeding young man in a car. “Then Talvy comes to my car and viciously attacks me, repeatedly punching me through the window. Shouting, ‘Get out of the car!’ He dragged me out of the car, ripping my shirt and pants.

My wife, very upset, asked him why are you doing this? He then punched her in the face.” Both were arrested and taken to the 77th precinct charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Michael Tarif Warren has handled many police misconduct cases in the Black community, including the shocking police murder of graffiti artist Michael Stewart and of Yvonne Smallwood, who was beaten to death by police in the Bronx. He also handled the case exonerating the five young Black teenagers falsely convicted of raping the white bank executive “Central Park Jogger.”

Monday, July 23, 2007


Shock, horror. Juror who listened to MP3 player doing a murder trial is a MUSLIM. No wonder they wear those bloody headscarf things. They obviously don't want to listen to what is going on around them and she was probably being brainwashed by some jihadist recording - (Before I get complaints from those unfamiliar with this blog, the preceding is called sarcasm):
A woman who was thrown off a murder trial jury for allegedly listening to an MP3 player while the accused was giving evidence appeared in court today.

The 20-year-old Muslim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faces a charge of contempt of court. She was arrested several weeks ago after a fellow juror spotted headphone wires poking out from the side of her hijab.

Would the Gruniad have pointed out her faith if she were Zoroastrian?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Trial by leaking lies and smears to the media

The lawyer of Mohammed Haneef who was arrested in Australia is quite rightly complaining about the trial by media. The government continues to leak rumours and lies against Haneef, whilst at the same time complaining about the release of Haneef's interview with police by his legal team:

THE Australian government is conducting a trial by media against accused terrorism supporter Mohamed Haneef because its case against him is so flimsy, the Indian doctor's lawyer says.

Peter Russo said he was shocked by media reports claiming Haneef, 27, was part of a planned terrorist attack in Australia.

The Sunday Herald Sun today reported the Australian Federal Police (AFP) were examining images of a Gold Coast building and its foundations found among photos and documents seized in a raid of Haneef's Southport unit.

Quoting anonymous sources, it said the AFP was looking at documents which referred to destroying structures and had information that Haneef was allegedly one of a group of doctors who had been learning to fly in Queensland.

However AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty this afternoon dismissed the report as "inaccurate" and said the information had not come from the AFP.

". . . We will be taking the extraordinary step of contacting Dr Haneef's lawyer to correct the record," he said.

Mr Russo said it was extraordinary that apparent "leaks" continued to come from sources within the government that had condemned the release of Haneef's police interview by his barrister, Stephen Keim.

"What do the prime minister, the attorney-general and the commissioner of federal police think about this latest form of conducting trial by media?" Mr Russo said.

"Will each of those persons come out and condemn this attempt to leak purported information in the same way they condemned the release of the record of interview."
Haneef is charged with providing support to a terrorist organisation by giving his mobile phone SIM card to a relative who has since been charged over last month's failed UK bomb plot.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock refused to be drawn on the possible source of the claims, as well as media reports he was considering withdrawing Haneef's Criminal Justice Certificate, which would lead to his deportation.

The reports came as a relative of Haneef today declared him a "victim of circumstance" and pledged he would not leave Australia without him.

Imran Siddiqui, a cousin of Haneef's wife, Firdous Arshiya, arrived late last night and today told a forum at Griffith University, in Brisbane's south, Haneef was innocent.

"I've come to take him back - he's innocent, that I know," Mr Siddiqui said.

"We know the truth is that he's not connected to these things.

"It's not wrong on my part to expect that he should be released with all respect and dignity."

He urged authorities to ensure "the truth comes out" so Haneef's reputation could be restored.

"After all this hard work, after being a model citizen, after losing his father at a very early age, going through all this, maintaining his family and then right (when) he's relishing the hard work which he's been doing over the years, someone has to face ... that," he said.

Mr Siddiqui will now seek to visit Haneef at Brisbane's Wolston Correctional Centre, where he is being held in solitary confinement, to bring him news of his family.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Road Block

The road map has hit a serious road block. The policy of dividing the Palestinians and destroying Palestinian institutions [that included Hamas] has worked, but I don't think the planners have thought this one through. Simply splitting Gaza from the West Bank will not have the desired effect that Fatah or their US/zionist sponsors want. Ultimately even people like Colin Powell are saying that deals will have to be done with Hamas, whether the Bush/Olmert/Quartet axis like it or not. Freeing 255 prisoners to 'help' Fatah in its battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Palestinians will not work. It is like a sticking plaster on a gaping axe wound. Anywhere from 9000-11000 Palestinians remain incarcerated by the occupying reshime. Releasing a bit of money and rearranging a few road blocks may allow the MSM to praise Israeli generosity, but will do little to ease the suffering of the vast majority in the West Bank when they are assaulted, evicted and threatened on a daily basis.

The Palestinian public may have little choice but to go along with the pretend election that Fatah envisages soon with 'help' from the Quartet. However this will require either major fraud or some negotiation with Hamas who are in charge in Gaza. If they don't, there will be nobody to organise the poll or the pretence of one. With the borders closed and approximately 6000 people stranded trying to get back into Gaza, the general outlook for Gaza residents remains incredibly bleak. Abbas cannot claim legitimate leadership if the 1.5 million residents of Gaza are ignored and he continues to do nothing to ease their plight. How can he ease their plight without releasing some money to them and asking for travel restrictions to be lifted? How will Blair rebuild Palestinian institutions that have no control over Gaza? How can the so-called peace process make any progress when the Israelis refuse to discuss anything of substance and have no incentive to do so? With Fatah cravenly obedient and sadly lacking anybody of stature to make real demands from the Quartet, the peace discussions led by Condi Rice, amount to nothing more than vacuous press conferences trying to convince reporters that something of substance is happening. Even with the most western friendly and obedient police forces and institutions run and supervised by the western powers, the Fatah leadership will be unable to stop their people from acts of resistance that the Israeli occupation and settlers induce daily from them. That in the zionist book amounts to 'failure to fight terror'. The escape clause for the zionazis is built into the process.

The way I see it, the best option for the Palestinians is to demand equal rights in a single non-jewish state and forget about the two-state solution. It is the only and quickest way to destroy the dream of the zionists, when you cannot defeat the occupiers militarily. Use your intelligence. Demand democracy, demand citizenship and equal rights in a single non-jewish state. If you can't beat them, join them and force them to look after you.

In related news, the zionist bastards have the chutzpah to negotiate a deal with BG Group PLC, to supply gas to them from the Gaza marine gas field. This while continuing to limit fuel, food and medicines going to the strip:
BG wants to develop the Gaza Marine gas field and build pipelines to sell gas to Israel. Under the initial proposals, BG would transport gas by pipeline to Ashkelon Port, without crossing the Gaza Strip. Should the deal fail, BG has said it would consider selling the gas to Egypt instead.

Friday, July 20, 2007


The revolting sight of Levy - Blair's fixer - after the cash- for-honours investigation is conveniently wound up by the CPS. Only £800000 were spent on the investigation. He looks deranged. Any ideas for a suitable caption?


Hebron is a town devastated by closures, settler violence against residents and military occupation:

Testimony of Naimah Ahmad, 55:

I live with my husband and five of my children in a rented place on Ras a-Jura, in H-1. We pay rent of 1,300 Jordanian dinars a years. Two of my daughters study at university. My son Firas, 23, studied mechanical engineering and is presently unemployed. Bashar, 26, is a computer engineer. He started work not long ago. Taysir, 18, is in school. My husband works as a guard in al-Haram a-Ibrahimi [Tomb of the Patriarchs] and earns 900 shekels a month in the framework of the unemployment program. I have a son who is studying and working in the US , and another son, 'Abd a-Razaq, who is married and lives in his own home.

At the end of May 2006, we moved into our current dwelling. Before that, we had rented a place in the Old City of Hebron, in H-2, where we paid rent of 280 dinars a year. The house was close to the entrance to the Avraham Avinu settlement, opposite the Waqf's offices. Prior to the intifada, six families lived in the building. We lived on the fourth floor.

We lived there for twenty-two years. While there, I gave birth to three children, and my other children grew up there. We had problems there because the Israeli army used our roof as a lookout and because of our proximity to the settlers. Despite that, it was OK. The big children and I knew how to manage. Once, the settlers beat 'Abd a-Razaq and afterwards he was imprisoned on charges the settlers made up. When Bashar was sixteen, he was arrested for a dispute he had with a soldier.

When the present intifada began, the situation deteriorated. The settlers' and soldiers' attacks increased. The army imposed more stringent restrictions on the area. Every day, the settlers threw stones at our windows. They destroyed the electricity meters, threw garbage into the entrance to the building, and beat our sons. More than once, they tried to break into our place and assault us. They assaulted us almost every day. Besides, the army imposed a curfew for many weeks and fired at Palestinian houses arbitrarily. Our water tanks were destroyed as a result.

In the summer of 2001, we had to leave the apartment. We could no longer stand the assaults and the hardship. We rented a place in al-Kawaz at a rent of 1,400 dinars a year. We lived there for eight months. Then we moved back to the apartment in the Old City because my husband stopped working and we had almost no money. We saw that, while we were away, settlers had broken into the apartment, stole things, and destroyed everything that was there. I filed a complaint with the Israeli police. We lived there even though the settlers continued to attack us and despite the curfew. Later, the area was declared a closed military area. There was a checkpoint at the entrance to the building, and to pass we needed an identity card. After each attack on Israelis, they took out their vengeance on us and imposed a harsh curfew. To continue at school, my sons and daughters had to go and live with their grandfather in H-1.

Three years ago, my daughter Hanaa, who is now twenty-one, was scheduled to take her final exams at high school. The day of her English exam, soldiers blocked the way and said it was forbidden to pass. I argued with the soldiers for more than an hour, and finally managed to convince them to let her leave the building so she could get to school. She arrived at school about an hour after the test had begun. She failed the exam.

Almost nobody remains in the neighborhood, only two families and us. Most of the neighbors left to go to H-1. We lived in isolation, like in prison. Despite the suffering, our poor financial situation made it impossible for us to move. Later, the settlers took control of the Waqf building [the settlers were subsequently removed, by court order, and the building is now closed]. They torched the places that were vacated in the neighborhood. The situation got worse, and the army increased the restrictions and supervision. I was close to having a mental breakdown. The settlers started to go on the roof of the Waqf building and throw stones at us. We felt more isolated than ever before. We were frightened and felt we were in a dangerous situation, and that things were getting more and more complicated. It was impossible for us to continue living in the apartment.

In late May 2006, despite the pain in doing so, we decided to move. We rented a place in Ras a-Jura, in H-1. It wasn't easy to move. We had to carry furniture on our shoulders through the checkpoint and the iron revolving door. They didn't let anybody help us, and by law, it was forbidden to bring a moving van into the area. We dragged our things and furniture through the market, a distance of about 300 meters. It took us three days to move everything.

Our life here is much easier. Our fears and worries are gone. I feel that my children are safe. I also feel free. Guests who haven't visited us in years come by. In the other place, prior coordination was required for visitors to come to our home. Now it is easy for me to do the shopping, without being searched and delayed. The car comes right up to the entrance of the building. Everything is easier.

The aggression of the settlers and the army is past history [for us]. Safety is the most important thing. I feel as if Allah had mercy on me by moving me from that area, although I miss the old house. I lived there half my life. All our memories are from there. Once, I went there with my daughters. They stood facing the building and cried.

I pray that Allah will let us return, but how is that possible if the settlers are still there? It was impossible to live there. Better to live in a tent than in a house surrounded by the army and settlers.

Na'imah Muhammad Na'im Nu'man Sayyed Ahmad, 52, married mother of seven, is a homemaker and a resident of Hebron . Information from Israeli Human Rights organisation B'Tselem.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ruperts orders

Who was Blair taking orders from? Bush, Murdoch or both?
Tony Blair spoke to the media mogul Rupert Murdoch three times in the 10 days before the outbreak of the Iraq war - once on the eve of the US-led invasion - it was disclosed yesterday.The telephone conversations were among six calls between the two men detailed by the cabinet office in response to a freedom of information request by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury....No details were given of what subjects Mr Blair and the News Corporation chairman discussed in the calls on March 11, 13 and 19 2003, ahead of the launch of US-led military action in Iraq on March 20.

Then again, perhaps I have a suspicious mind. Maybe he just wanted to make sure Rupert's organs were going to support him in spewing his lies whilst ordinary men, women and children were incinerated in the 'Shock and Awe' blitz of Iraq. It does reveal the power of unelected moguls like Murdoch, who can exert unprecedented influence including subverting the public opposition to war.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Attacks on peaceful demonstrators

Update from the ISM.

Bil’in: Friday Demonstration (July 13th) July 14th, 2007 | Posted in Bil'in Village

July 13th, 2007. 100’s of internationals, Israelis and Palestinians marched against the apartheid wall which has annexed over 50% of the village of Bil’in’s land on Friday. As usual the demonstration was met with Repression from the Israeli Occupation Forces. Three injuries were reported, an unidentified French activist suffered from severe tear gas inhalation, Iyad burnat suffered a burnt hand, which was burnt by a tear gas cannister hitting his hand and Mustafa Khatib suffered from tear gas inhalation resulting in him passing out and having to be carried to the back of the demonstrations by medical personnel.

I predict a riot

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Police campaign for Internment

It beggars belief. I predicted the assault on the 28 day detention limit on suspects held by police in the wake of the so called terror efforts in Glasgow and London recently. However, it is not to be an attempt to establish 90 days of detention that Blair was aiming for, but INDEFINITE DETENTION of SUSPECTS WITHOUT TRIAL.

Try telling that to the people who have been released from Guantanamo and have not been charged with anything nor have they been found to be a threat to this country. Those people were tried and convicted in the tiny racist minds of neoconservative politicians before they even set foot on the shores of Cuba. Despite promising 'checks and balances', this is a proposal for a draconian system that only totalitarian governments would ever use. If the terror threat has evolved to the level where the terrorists cannot do anything more than set fire to themselves, then this argument rather shoots itself in the foot.

Internment has failed before and will fail again if brought in. It is an absolute disgrace that the police should campaigning for internment and other extreme right-wing policies. They should be out applying the law as they are required to rather than playing politics. No wonder many communities have no trust in them. Their faith in the judiciary may be touching but they can shove this idea where the sun don't shine as far as I am concerned.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Red Mist at the Red Mosque

Many people are asking, what actually happened at the Lal Masjid AKA The Red Mosque in Islamabad? The mosque is round the corner from the intelligence headquarters in Islamabad and certainly easily monitored. Mosques are not closed centres but are always open to the public, so they are not hard to keep an eye on. Former cricketer and now philanthropic politician, Imran Khan asks:
Why was action not taken immediately? How were militants and arms able to get in under the gaze of the police and intelligence services? And why were other measures, including shutting off electricity at the mosque, not exhausted earlier?
The red mosque mullahs were stupid ignorant twits with dozens of armed hardline students but they were certainly not Al-Qaeda. To me it looks like the pressure was allowed to build and come to a climax, so that Musharaff could prove his loyalty to Washington yet again. Many people in Pakistan are angry at the Mullahs who disgraced Islam yet again but also livid at the way the episode was handled by the Musharaff reshime.

Just before the storming of the mosque, a dozen religious figures were sent in to negotiate with Ghazi and his followers. It seems that they managed to come up with some kind of written agreement. However, when they passed it onto the Pakistani ministers, the agreement that arrived back had been completely changed much to the anger of the negotiators. It seems as if somebody did not want an agreement and wanted to go ahead with an attack. The western media dutifully reported that the negotiations had failed.

The aftermath of the battle was also very suspicious. First of all the several hundred of armed followers previously announced did not materialise. Apart from suicide bombers, the mullah's followers appear not to have used the arsenal of grenade launchers and heavy weapons they were alleged to have.
At her family's small home in a poor district of Islamabad, Asma Mazher, said the students had only 15 AK-47 rifles and home-made petrol bombs and that there were no hostages. "If we had those types of weapons [that the army put on display] we would have used them.
The scene was quickly sanitised with all the blood washed away and areas remained off-limits to the media even when reporters were allowed in to report the aftermath. Mysteriously many students and people were missing but unaccounted for whilst their relatives searched for them in vain. Some claimed that multiple bodies were being buried by the authorities - perhaps in desperation at not being able to find their relatives.
What happened to all the hostages, if all the women and children had not been released already? According to the authorities no women or children died.

The media channels dutifully relayed tonnes of armaments and munitions oiled, polished and neatly lined up, to show how the militants had been armed to the teeth. Yet, to me it seemed all wrong. They looked like army weaponry, carefully polished and maintained - certainly not the weaponry you associate with a rag-tag group of militant fundamentalist students. Evidence of the hardened 'foreign fighters' seems to have vanished too. Ghazi himself had denied that any foreign extremists were present but he had threatened the use of suicide bombing. In washington, politicians had been openly wondering whether it was time to remove Musharaff because he had become extremely unpopular due to his murderous action against lawyers and the chief justice. This seige comes at a very convenient time to help Musharaff stay in favour.

Watch out Pakistan

It seems that the crazed blood-thirsty armchair warriors sitting safely in their multi-million dollar mansions are not finished yet. They want more bloodshed of innocents and more US soldiers sacrificed in the cause. The war of terror may have to be exported to Pakistan, perhaps even without Musharaff's permission. Pakistan has long been suggested as a target, primarily because it is a Muslim country with nukes, but also has lots of islamic parties that can be fitted up as official enemies that are 'linked to the Taliban or Al-Qaeda'. Even when they are not, they tend to develop rather more sympathy with them, because of US actions. This is from The Raw Story:

Neocon Bill Kristol expects Bush to attack Pakistan
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday July 12, 2007

Fox News on Thursday asked Neoconservative Bill Kristol to comment on the interim progress report on Iraq, which is about to be released and is expected to show an even split between benchmarks which show progress and those which do not.

"They're silly benchmarks, a lot of them," said Kristol. "The military situation is better than anyone expected. ... If Bush can just hang on there and beat back the people in Congress who want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of possible success ... I think we're going to win this war."

A Fox host then cited a new report that "al Qaeda ... is running from Iraq, apparently to Pakistan" and asked "did this report come out on purpose so that we will have the right ... to go after Pakistan now?"

Kristol responded, "I think the president's going to have to take military action there over the next few weeks or months. ... Bush has to disrupt that sanctuary."

"I think, frankly, we won't even tell Musharraf," Kirstol continued. "We'll do what we have to do in Western Pakistan and Musharraf can say, 'Hey, they didn't tell me.'"

I think they should send Kristol and his chickenhawk friends to help finish the job in Iraq before they move on.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Nobody does propaganda like the BBC

Auntie Beeb currently features the following article in the middle-east news section:
Israel wary of new Lebanon hostilities
By Martin Patience
BBC News, northern Israel
A year ago at the Israeli-Lebanese border, the clear blue sky was streaked with vapour trails of Hezbollah rockets racing southwards into Israel.

The hills echoed with the boom of Israeli heavy artillery being fired back into Lebanon. A year on, the atmosphere on the border is very different - there is quiet. In the Israeli town of Metula, a few metres from the border, locals sedately go about their business, trawling the aisles of the local supermarket for provisions. Outside, a man lugs cases of Coca-Cola to his battered truck - cold drinks for a group of thirsty farm workers. But reminders of last summer's 34-day war between Israel and the Islamist movement Hezbollah are easy to spot. A few hundred metres away from the supermarket, white UN armoured personnel carriers slowly patrol the Lebanese-side of the border, deployed as part of the ceasefire agreement ending the conflict. On the anniversary of the war, many Israelis are wary that hostilities could resume. "It's not nice to live in the shadow of the Katyusha rockets," says Yaniv Yehuda, a 29-year-old student. "You never know when they will land again - maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon."

For many Israelis, last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah represented the opening shots in a wider war against what they see as Islamic fundamentalism - represented by Islamist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, and Iran. For more than a month last year, more than a million Israelis were forced to live in bomb shelters. Almost 4,000 Hezbollah rockets - packed with hundreds of ball bearings - landed in the north of Israel, killing 43 Israeli civilians.

About 500,000 Israelis packed their bags and left the north of Israel.

'Long nightmare' More than 1,000 rockets hit the town of Kiryat Shmona, home to about 22,000 Israelis. More than half of the town's inhabitants fled during the war. Ami Zinaty, 52, a community leader, and one of his daughters stayed behind. Mr Zinaty was in charge of evacuations from the town. "This is the third time I've had to do it," he says. "I didn't know what to feel, my only concern was to get people to safety." "It doesn't matter how many wars you've been through," he says. "They are always one long nightmare."

But like Mr Zinaty, many Israelis believed that the war demonstrated the resilience of the Jewish people, despite the major failings of the Israeli government and military. Following the war, there were bitter recriminations about the perceived bungling of Israeli political and military leaders. These continue.

In Haifa, Israel's third largest city, Ronan Yonitov, 37, a labourer, says that his 11-year-old daughter still jumps when she hears a bang. "She thinks it's a Katyusha landing," he says. "Now she hates Arabs because of last summer.

Not only does the article focus narrowly on the Israeli perspective, but it also sets out to lie from the very beginning saying that Israeli artillery was fired in response to Katyusha rockets from Hezbollah. In fact the rocket fire did not commence until tens of Lebanese civilians had been killed by Israeli attacks. They evoke sympathy for the people who had to evacuate, to live in bomb shelters and the 43 civilians who died. Of course they will say that we have covered the Lebanese in other articles. In fact they haven't. There is no corresponding article asking the residents of south Lebanon how they felt about being mercilessly targetted by bullets, missiles, cluster bombs and shells. There is no mention of the 1000+ Lebanese civilians slaughtered by the Israeli forces. No mention of the refugees often deliberately targetted whilst sitting in civilian convoys or ambulances. Did they not suffer 'one long nightmare'? What about the thousands of cluster bombs dropped by Israel? No mention that Hezbollah actually killed more soldiers and hit more military targets including an intelligence outpost, than civilians whilst the Israelis killed mostly defenceless civilians. The BBC have already airbrushed these victims from memory. How quickly the historical revision begins these days, whilst under pressure from the zionist lobby.

Definitely not terrorism; no muslims involved

Having explosives and hazardous chemicals with an intent to use them is not necessarily terrorism related if you are white and belong to a racist party such as the BNP. The T-word is conspicuous by its absence, when it is non-muslims involved, particularly when they hate immigrants. In fact this is the second time a jury has failed to reach a verdict on these racist nutters, and the prosecution will not be seeking a retrial. Found in their possession were: A bomb making manual, explosives, crossbows, air rifles and chemicals including nitrate, chlorine, ammonia and various acids.
Cottage, who has failed to win three local elections for the BNP, admitted he planned to make gunpowder to cause thunder flashes to scare off intruders in the event of civil unrest.
The excuses got even more bizarre:
Cottage admitted a separate charge of possessing explosives that could "reasonably" be suspected to be for an unlawful purpose before the trial started. He will be sentenced on July 31. Mr Jackson denied the possession charge. Cottage told the jury he planned to use the chemicals to clean his false teeth, unblock his drains, and protect himself against bird flu. Mr Jackson, who was not a BNP member, claimed he asked Cottage to buy him chemicals online because he wanted to pursue chemistry as a hobby and was too computer-illiterate to order them himself.
Meanwhile, the Muslims continue to cause a panic:

Suspect costs £30,000 per day
'Britain's 15-year terror battle'
Terror suspect remanded
Fury at bill for terror suspect
Terror suspect moves hospital
UK Muslims unite against terror
Oz cops in terror swoop
Terror won't stop Brit fun
Anti-terror rally in Scotland

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cut up and carved up

The occupation is not only about 'checkpoints' and 'security'. How do you salvage a 'viable' Palestinian state from these Bantustans?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Interesting Opinion poll in Al-Quds- a Fatah affiliated newspaper

This asks: If presidential elections were held early, it will elect?

  • Mahmoud Abbas
  • Ismail Haniya
  • Marwan Barghouti
  • Salam Fayyad
  • Mustafa Barghouti
  • No-one

Haniyah is winning by miles.

Funniest story of the day

Thanks to conflict blotter for this. Is the Depleted Uranium producing mutations in the local wildlife?

BASRA, Iraq, July 11, 2007 (AFP) - The Iraqi port city of Basra, already prey to a nasty turf war between rival militia factions, has now been gripped by a new fear — a giant badger stalking the streets by night.

Local farmers have caught and killed several of the beasts, but this has done nothing to dispel rumours of a bear-like monster that eats humans and was allegedly released into the area by British forces to spread panic.

“I was sleeping at night when this strange animal hit me on my head. I have not seen such an animal before. My husband hurried to shoot it but it was as swift as a deer,” said Suad Hassan, a 30-year-old housewife.

“It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey. It runs so quickly.”

“I believe this animal appeared following a raid to the region by the British forces,” said Ali Mohsen, a farmer in his 40s from Karmat Ali, near the air base used by the multinational force.

You know you’re in trouble when your public affairs folks have to issue statements like this one from the British army spokesman in Basra:

“We have not released giant badgers in Basra.”

Time to call in the supergerbils methinks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Quartet Objectives

Divide and rule is a tried and trusted tactic of imperialism. The only remaining barrier to complete surrender by the Palestinians is the Islamic movement of Hamas. This barrier has to be removed whatever it takes. The US and its allies have tried several tactics to discredit Hamas. The first and most obvious trick is to label them as a proxy of Iran. This is not a charge that can be readily disproven and fits in neatly with the current propaganda campaign against the Iranians who have been labelled as sponsors of terrorists and a rogue reshime. The spin meisters of Fatah have also taken this line to heart and often 'insult' Hamas by calling them 'Shia' when in fact they are actually Sunni. The second tactic is to strangle the Gaza Strip where Hamas has its power base, by forcing its residents into dire poverty and near starvation. Even in liberal organs like Haaretz, Israelis openly discuss whether they should continue with their generosity in supplying water to the strip (Ignoring of course the fact that they have robbed the water supply and fertile lands of Palestinians for decades). In practice they are already limiting water by limiting fuel so that water cannot be pumped where it is needed. The residents are also short of medicines and medical care with no option to go to Eygpt or the West Bank for treatment. In short, the effective policy is to blackmail the population into supporting Fatah with the hope that small crumbs of help will come their way, from the scraps Israel has thrown to Abbas as reward for his loyalty in mounting a coup against the elected government. The third tactic is one of ongoing military attacks against Hamas members (routinely described as militants or terrorists even when they are unarmed political activists) leading to assassination or imprisonment for no reason other than for a member of Hamas. This deprives Hamas of politically active and articulate spokesmen who can defend it from the smears routinely used by Israel and Fatah.

The fourth source of pressure, is the use of diplomatic and political isolation by members of the 'Quartet'. Despite organising the release of Alan Johnston, Hamas members who looked forward to being rewarded with recognition by the international community will be disappointed. The appointment of arch-zionist Blair as a quartet envoy is a severe blow to this hope. Blair will not be involved in any peace talks as none are planned by Tel Aviv or Washington, even with the servile Fatah. His role will apparently be to 'help the Palestinians to develop their institutions' . This is to suggest that Palestinians are incapable of self-governance. They simply don't know how a real government is put together. Like petulant children, they must be shown the error of their ways and learn the 'rules' of democracy. Presumably this includes not protesting against their land and houses being taken away/destroyed or their groves and kids being targeted by settlers. Above all it means allowing the Israelis to continue with their carve up of Palestinian territory and enveloping East Jerusalem inside the apartheid wall. The Blair envoyship is of course a diversion from this real root cause of the entire problem: The occupation. Blair ticks all the right boxes for the zionists. He is a charlatan who can 'charmingly' distract the world with press conferences and proposals for 'democratic reform', whilst allowing his zionist friends to solidify the facts of occupation on the ground. The hope is that Hamas will remain in limbo during this time and the people who voted for them, will turn against them in desperation.

All these tactics are meant to eliminate Hamas and to render Palestinian institutions under the control of the 'international community'. Fatah is now and will remain a glove puppet with the hand of the 'international community' stuck up its arse. They are a trojan horse party hiding the agents of zionism. Independent politicians like Mustafa Barghouti will be sidelined and denied a voice, or be accused of siding with Hamas. Those who nurse the vain hope that Blair will be a voice of moderation in the ear of the zionists should read his words to the Labour Friends of Israel:

There is something I think that needs to be said on behalf of Israel today and came through to me clearly in all the discussions I had with Israeli Ministers from different political parties in the Israeli Government. Israel wants peace with its neighbours, Israel wants to live in harmony with those of different religions, of different faiths and different races in the region, Israel simply wants to know that those other countries in the region respect it on its desire to live in peace and are prepared to recognise the most basic and fundamental thing which is it's right to exist.....And I meant what I said today about dedicating myself to advancing the process of peace between Israel and Palestine. It is very difficult. At the moment when I again reflect on what I learnt in Israel a few weeks ago, the truth is people yearn for peace but - I think if we are honest about it - have in recent times given up hope of it happening. And that of sense of people drawing back and feeling that the situation is hopeless is the first thing we have to change because the terrible tragedy of the situation is that, yes there are difficult issues that have to be resolved, the territories the refugees, Jerusalem, everybody knows the issues but in the end everyone also knows that the vast majority of Israelis and the vast majority of Palestinians - given the chance would want to live in peace side by side with each other in a state for the Palestinians in a state of Israel - the one viable, the other confident of its security.

In other words, Israel is the innocent party who only want peace whilst sorrounded by hostile countries. The real issues get a passing mention as being 'difficult', but everybody wants to be happy in and Israel alone is entitled to 'security' (unlike Palestinians who only need 'viability' for their imaginary state)
If we brought about a situation in which Colonel Shalit was released, which of course he should be, where we are then able to have a national unity Government on the Palestinian side that was faithful to the principles set out by the Quartet, that is the United Nations, as well as America, Europe and Russia. If we were able to do that and if we were then able to get other confidence building measures from the Israeli side as well...
Translation from Blairspeak: The Palestinians should give up their sole military captive, and have a government that is subservient to the Quartet 'principles', then we may get a few token measures by Israel to maybe move a few checkpoints here and there, to ease the travel of Palestinians who often have to travel a dozen miles to reach a place only a mile away [ignoring the big fuck off wall that is built mostly on this very territory]. Indeed this is another pretence of the zionist supporters; that they only real problem the palestinians face is the inconvenience of checkpoints. The demolitions, wall, evictions, closures, confiscations, outright theft and harassment by settlers fall into a memory hole. Blair and co. deliberately ignore the larger picture. No wonder the bastard is known as 'a true friend of Israel'.

Monday, July 09, 2007

US soldiers abuse defenceless animal

Occupation soldiers arrest activist

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The invisible 5000

About 5000 people are estimated to be trapped on the borders of Gaza, since Hamas took effective military control of the strip. The egyptions under pressure from the US have banned them from approaching the Rafah crossing. Coming under brutal treatment from Israeli and Eygption forces, the lives of these invisible people are made intolerable . This article in al-Ahram exposes the suffering that the western media is studiously ignoring:
"I have been here for 23 days," said Ashraf Mohamed from Rafah, Gaza. "I have been staying with my son at the Safa Hotel in Arish, but I have been unable to cover the expenses of the hotel for the past two weeks. The hotel owners know this; it's just as well that they have kind hearts and are willing to put us up anyway. I have completely run out of money........"It is significant though unsurprising -- particularly given US threats to cut $200 million in military aid to the Cairo government, linked to demands to improve security on the Egypt-Gaza border -- that security forces have ensured the virtual disappearance of these stranded Palestinians from the public eye.......... "Neither the Egyptians nor the Israelis want to know we exist right now," said Mahmoud, who asked that his full name be withheld. "They formulate their policies, and we bear the burden. When they catch us, security personnel call us names, pick us up in their trucks, and drop us off at Arish, as far away from the border as possible. They know we don't have much money, and that it will be difficult for us to come back to Rafah."............."We, the Palestinians, are paying the price of Israel's goals," said Ibrahim Al-Ghalban, who entered Egypt along with his brother to get his seven-year-old nephew Mohsen adequate attention for blindness in one eye and poor eyesight in the other. Along with scores of others, they are staying at the house of a Palestinian who is resident in Arish. "Not only are we suffering as we share cramped living space in this house, we are also worrying about our families in Gaza, who are under attack. Ongoing Israeli air strikes have killed and injured dozens. Who will treat the injured in Gaza?" Two major raids have taken place over recent days in Gaza, one 27 June and another 30 June. At least 18 people were killed during these Israeli attacks.....Egyptian security forces have worked to ensure that the Palestinians lie as low as possible, no humanitarian assistance for them has been forthcoming. "I cannot go to the hotels and the houses to ask whether people need help," said Egyptian Red Crescent General Director Magda Al-Shirbini. "As far as we are concerned, there are no Palestinians in Rafah or Arish.".............."It appears to us that the Israelis are again using all means at their disposal, trying to make us beg for any solution, even if it is a bad one," Al-Ghalban said. "But no, we will never accept their solutions. We are human beings! And we demand our human right to live, and to live in dignity with control over our own lives, just like everybody else."
Ironically, the reason given to put $200 million of military aid to Egypt on hold, was to pressure Cairo to 'do more to improve human rights, democracy and border security in Sinai.' Apparently, this double-speak means that the human and democratic rights of Palestinian residents of Gaza must be abused as much as possible to keep congress happy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.

Hugh Laurie

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.


What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.

Richard Harkness

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

William James

Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

Emo Phillips

Boundary, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of another.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Vicious and brutal attack on journalist

This is a graphic video [viewer discretion required] showing a cameraman repeatedly shot by Israeli snipers. Some men go to pick him up and then come under fire themselves. The zionazis continue firing at the prone and obviously incapacitated body. The International Federation of Journalists condemned Israel describing it as :
a vicious and brutal example of deliberate targeting of a journalist
Aiden White, general secretary of the journalists' federation said:
This man was carrying a camera, not a gun. He was no threat to Israeli forces. Israel appears to believe it is possible to kill any journalist with impunity so long as they can smear them as propagandists.
Imad Ghanem aged 21 was filming a gunbattle and clearly unarmed with anything but a camera. He was working for the Hamas associated Al-Aqsa channel which may explain why the zionazi considered him a fair game. They also denied it but at the same time they said he could have pulled out a gun at any time so was a legitimate target. The film clearly shows them targetting him as he lies prone on the ground. The film shows Ghanem's legs are smashed to bits by bullets. His legs have now been amputated and he is still fighting for his life in intensive care.

Thanks to Robin for bring the story to my attention.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bagged and Tagged

I rarely write personal stuff on my blog but since the Curmudgeonly one has tagged me for eight random autobiographical facts, I suppose I should make an exception, just this once:

1. I have 100% positive feedback on ebay.

2. I speak several languages although I can write only in one.

3. I have a memory like a ...I forget..something with a very bad memory.

4. I hate the weather in the following order: Windy, Wet, icy-wind, cold, humid and feckin hot.

5. 95% of my real-life friends are women (other than my wife who is not counted).

6. I regularly eat Mexican, Italian and Indian food.

7. I dislike flying and would rather drive or walk.

8. I have recently lost weight without trying.

No thanks to Phil for passing on his pestilence. I nominate Robin, Ellis, Smash, the gerbil collective and KK to continue this silly game.