Tuesday, January 31, 2006
:"So long as we consume information through words, the public will still have some purchase. I fear a culture where we only hear and see things and it all sweeps past us too fast."The Times reported this on the same day:
"Michael Moore and Diane Bell from West Yorkshire booked a holiday to Tenerife but ended in Tel Aviv. They went to Thailand but did not like it and went to a local travel agent, who misheard them. "I'd never seen Tel Aviv spelt before," Ms Bell said. "I thought it was what people in Thailand called Tenerife."
Son Et Lumiere
Monday, January 30, 2006
How nice if all states abided by the preconditions of democracy, but that would leave a bad taste in the mouth, wouldn't it, for all those who by-passed the Security Council and rained depleted uranium on the population of Iraq so they'd be able to bask in the glow of democracy; not to mention those who lied about WMDs or stole a leaf from an old PhD thesis to tout around as something precious from the Intelligence files.
Hamas to Western eyes is a despicable organisation, and beyond the pale for daring to challenge those who stole their lands and filled them with gun toting fascists who dream of Eretz Israel. They built a wall around Palestinians so that they would be cut off from their livelihood, then bulldozed their houses, razed their farms and stole and destroyed olive trees that had been there for many generations. This is not to mention the daily humiliation, kidnappings, torture, imprisonment and targetting by assassination squads, all par for the course for the Palestinians' daily lives. Israel is, according to its Western allies, the bastion of democracy, and if you're democratic you have the God-given right to behave like that.
This is the sound of the plight of the Palestinians, some stuck-in-the-groove noises that many just turn away from for having heard it already. Hamas, it has been said often enough, was encouraged by Israeli rulers to distract Fatah, and even in itself, Hamas with all its outrage has been a boon to Israel. Even now, when Hamas has gained power, the same chorus is being sung as was heard during the creation of Hamas: "See what we're up against?"
This dramatic picture shows Arafat intimidated
into signing the Cairo Agreement, 1994. Why did he falter?
Read article. [Photo Credit: Bo Mathisen]
There's precious little to separate the parties in the Middle East from the 'terrorists' and the good people. The Zionists came and got into what they called their 'War of Independence', which basically meant the blowing up the King David Hotel, murdering and hanging British soldiers, and massacring Palestinians. That, in our ordinary everyday world would have been called acts of terror, and their perpetrators, terrorists. But I must be careful with inflammatory words like that because some of those terror..er, freedom fighters, went on to become leaders in Israel and no doubt shook the hands of Bush (major and minor) and probably basked in the Wittgensteinian wit of Donald Rumsfeld (Now, there are terrorist terrorists, non terrorist terrorists, and so on...) over a cup of Enron tea. One of these illustrious men even went on an excursion into a neighbouring territory and became instrumental in the cold-blooded murder of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatilla. And even now their tentacles are reaching out to different parts of the world, no doubt making it safe for democracy.
Now, there's another thing about the Palestinians: whilst the right to self-determination is guaranteed by the UN Charter to people of all shades and colour, the Palestinians have to negotiate theirs with these gun-toting dudes who stole their land from under their feet just some fifty years ago.
So Hamas. Hamas has won an election in the bits of land now loosely called Palestine. But who can fault Palestinians for that? They've been bamboozled for many years by crooks and corrupt men who've grown fat on their bounty. They've seen Israel run rings round their so-called leaders who are now still dancing in ever diminishing circles. They've seen how desperate these people have been that they'd accepted anything, bowed to any pressure, so they could keep their posts as fat leaders. The result is that the Palestine map that was already ridiculous under the UN Partition Plan of 1947, is now an expanse of land pockmarked by Jewish settlement areas. And their leaders constantly taunted as terrorists by people who — of course — have never tainted their hands in such labours.
Now what carrots have they been dangling before the Palestinians? First there was Resolution 242, and then, under the Oslo Agreements, the Palestinians were duped further into thinking that they were on their way to statehood while the Israelis took advantage of the inbuilt ambiguities to stall, then shift. Under Oslo, Palestine gave away 78% of their land under the partition, recognised the right of the state of Israel to exist, while they themselves were pushed into new Bantustans.
It is wild fantasy to think that Hamas can be a serious threat to the state of Israel. People who are now in their mock outrage about the advent of Hamas could do better to look into the reason for their being there now. After years of living in refugee camps, denied the right of return, and humiliated and bludgeoned, and then duped by both their adversaries and their own people grown fat and corrupt, it is no surprise that Hamas is where they are now.
Hamas, who they? Try rephrasing the question: why they?
Alas, For Hamas!
Monday, January 16, 2006
* Why is Iran singled out for nuclear weapons prohibition when its enemy and neighbour has several?
* Why is Iran that has never attacked any neighbour (but was attacked by Saddam, who was aided and encouraged by his Western handlers) seen as a threat to its neighbours?
* A country with nuclear weapons has attacked not only several of its neighbours but also the ship USS Liberty, why isn't it seen as a threat to world peace while Iran is?
* President Ahmedinjad of Iran is seen as a dangerous man for saying that its neighbour has no right to exist, but which country among Iran's neighbours is on the verge of pushing Gaza into the sea?
* Why are the world's media persistently hinting that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme when the IAEA itself has found no evidence of that?
* If the US is so against Iran having nuclear weapons why, in February 2000, was a Russian double agent sent by the CIA to Vienna to give the Iranian delegate to the IAEA a blueprint for a nuclear bomb?
* How is Iran to produce nuclear weapons from its nuclear enrichment reactors, requiring thousands of centrifuges, which the IAEA knows that Iran doesn't have?
* Why is Iran threatened with Security Council action when it hasn't been in breach of IAEA agreements?
* Which country was most vocally anouncing its plan to take on Iran next in its fight against terrorism? Which country is now most vocally announcing that Iran is making nuclear weapons?
* In a recent survey of the Arab World by President Bush's undersecretary of state for public democracy Karen Hughes, which of these countries did the Arab World see as the greatest threat to regional peace?
— The United States
Check your answer to this question HERE.
Friday, January 13, 2006
"Parliament should therefore ascertain how far the prime minister did evaluate intelligence regarding the WMD and how he assessed the reliability of the many sources that provided the intelligence. It should ask him what corroborating evidence there was for his specific statement about WMD — and why more use was not made of the UN inspectors on the ground in Iraq to test the validity of the statement. It should inquire just how much he discounted the mass of intelligence that came in from the Iraqi National Congress — a body that had a vested interest in removing Saddam from power. The list of possible questions is huge and no doubt be usefully expanded during any hearings."According to Iraq Bodycount the number of civilains dead since the military intervention in Iraq can be up to 31,348. And this excludes those maimed and injured, or children who are suffering or have died from deprivation, the effects of chemical weapons and radiation. Damage to future generations of Iraqis from use of Depleted Uranium can be devastating, yet seldom touched upon by those kind-hearted, compassionate military/political leaders who’ve chosen to bombard Iraq so that democracy and human rights will sprout from its charred earth.
Mr Blair is among those whose heart, as he claims, bled for Iraq before he opted for bloody invasion. He may now say that the Intelligence reports were wrong, but Rose says that this is no excuse. "It is not sufficient excuse for Mr Blair to say that he acted in good faith and thatbhis decisions were based on the intelligence he had been given. For it is the clear responsibility of people in his position to test intelligence. No intelligence can ever be taken at face value. Indeed it is negligent to do so."
In Britain Parliament has become mute. Labour politicians, bar a handful, are just aspiring Blairbabes or Blairkids. Outside of Parliament, Blair, like Bush, is slowly making dissent difficult. Unbeknown to sleeping parliamentarians, he slipped in a clause in a recent law that forbade demonstrations near the Houses of Parliament, putting his Downing Street residence also within this ambit.
The most effective attacks on this Blairite/Bush view here now comes from not politicians, not the press, but from people like Rory Bremner, John Bird and Fortune who are not activists, but comedians and satirists. Their Christmas Special in 2003, Between Iraq and a Hard Place was a devastating classic. [You can download the full transcript here].
Read, for instance, John Bird's monologue on 'Motality' from one of their shows. It is better than any political speech you hear in Parliament these days:
But here in Baghdad, Tony Blair's speech to the House of Commons last Wednesday, in which he set out the moral case for war against Iraq has made a profound impact especially among children here.
Growing up in Saddam's Iraq, the idea that there was a moral case for anything. Or even that there was such a thing as morality at all, came as something of a revelation. But the children I have spoken to here in Baghdad, grasped Tony Blair's moral case immediately, that it is morally much better to invade Iraq, than to allow thousands of innocent children to die of starvation, caused by United Nations sanctions.
One little girl told me: "Please it's so much better for us to die in the bombing than to linger on getting thinner and thinner and a cruise missile is so quick. One minute you're there, the next you're not, morality is indeed a wonderful thing". I was able to give her more good news. Gordon Brown announced on the same day that an extra £750M would be allocated to the war. Now each cruise missile costs £400,000, so the extra money could buy another 1,500 missiles and still have enough left over for some decent burials. One little boy said: "That's tremendous news. But after the war will there be any morality left over, even if I'm here to see it"?
"Lots" I said. After the war, whether you're still here, or not, you'll never be hungry or thirsty again. Then said the little girl: "Let's have 3 cheers for Mr Blair, and if I ever have a kitten I'm going to call him 'Morality'.
Iraq And A Hard Place
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
He may have said 8 or 4 or ten, but in these inflationary days, who can keep count?
I saw him again in front of Harrods the weekend after his son Dodi and Diana died. He was distributing sweets, and many, many people were around him. I did not ask him if he'd been to Mecca another time; he seemed, er, preoccupied.
The other day I came across Mohamed al-Fayed again, in the Guardian's page. The Guardian's Saturday columnist Alexander Chancellor, an old-fashioned English country gentleman who has been a conservative and Conservative all his life, but a good old-fashioned one that I can live with, had written in his column that Harrods was a tatty old store. Well, one man's tat may be another's tit, but I've always found Harrods fascinating, even if my al-Fayed man has insisted on putting up Pharaonic busts in his own image above the shopping crowd, even if the 'shrine' still sits. I am still fond of the food hall, and its ceiling, though I regretted the day Harrods surrendered its book shop to Warerstone's, who've made it a book shop like all the rest; though I did not rue the day al-Fayed lost the Harrods banking licence, as I believe that no one aspiring to be decent should own a bank.
Alexander Chancellor's remark more than irked the owner of Harrods, so he wrote a letter to the Guardian which the Guardian rightly thought remarkable, and published it, not in its Letters page, but in its G2 section. I read the diatribe once and read it again, and much as I sympathise with Alexander Chancellor, I still marvel at the language. Someone equally impressed has written to the Guardian to ask that al-Fayed be given a fortnightly column, to alternate with Chancellor's. I reproduce the letter below for you to read instead of my regular spiel. Gosh, I wish I could write like that!
"Mohamed Al Fayedß
"Monday January 9, 2006
"My attention has been drawn to an article by your columnist, Alexander Chancellor, that appeared in your edition of December 24 2005, under the heading: 'You pays your money ....'
"Rarely have I seen such a vile example of deliberate poisonous malice, thinly disguised as opinion. The Guardian has a fine reputation for scrupulously sticking to the facts. For never allowing the boundaries to blur between fact and comment.
"Yet Alexander Chancellor deliberately disregarded the facts to write a hateful and venomous attack on my store and me. Chancellor is an odious creep who has become a disease on the face of the Guardian.
"If he wished to make a fool of himself by demonstrating his lack of taste in describing Harrods, the world's most celebrated department store, as 'tacky' and 'depressing', then that was up to him. But when this journalist jackal poured scorn and derision upon the Book of Condolence, the real purpose of his disgraceful attack became all too clear.
"The reason for the Book of Condolence is that, after Diana, Princess of Wales, and my beloved son, Dodi Fayed, were murdered, people who came to Harrods from all over the world asked me to create a place where they could go to remember those two wonderful young people and to record their tributes to them.
"The book lies open at Harrods, every day. In it, visitors record their thoughts and prayers for the loving couple who died together, so tragically, eight years ago. So far, people of all races and creeds have filled 50 books with messages of love and kindness.
"And that is exactly what Alexander Chancellor's attack on Harrods, and myself, was really all about. How dare this morally bankrupt swine sneer at the memory of a loving young couple whose lives were so cruelly snuffed out, and at ordinary decent people who feel so strongly about them?
"The truth is that your columnist, Alexander Chancellor, is an establishment toady who is using his position on the Guardian for his own ends. He is a middle-class racist willing to sink to any depths to please his establishment masters. And he cannot bear the thought of the memory of the love of the Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed, being kept alive.
"Before worming his way into the employ of your newspaper, which came as something of a surprise to most journalists, the poisonous Chancellor was the cringing lackey of Conrad Black, the disgraced owner of the Daily Telegraph.
"As editor of the Guardian, I suspect that you will feel duty bound to defend your columnist and tell me that he is free to write whatever he wishes, so long as it is within the law. But I wonder if it has crossed your mind that there was yet another, darker reason why Chancellor abused the hospitality of your columns to attack me.
"You will remember that I helped bring down the last Tory government. And that the Guardian was alone in supporting me. I regarded it then as my patriotic duty to help get rid of politicians that were rotten to the core. And I did so at no small risk to myself. But I never wavered. And neither did the Guardian. Can you imagine how angry Mr Chancellor, the Tories' champion, must have been? With both me and the Guardian?
"Perhaps you should privately remind your double-dealing, sleazy, columnist that the Guardian is a newspaper, not a platform for his slimy establishment propaganda. And that if Chancellor wishes to deliberately grind his axe, by confusing fact with comment, he might be happier working for another, less scrupulous newspaper.
"Though, having failed at so many jobs, it is difficult to imagine upon whom he might next inflict himself.
"M Al Fayed, chairman"
Disgusted of Harrods
Monday, January 09, 2006
I told him exactly as I said in my blog yesterday: if only this world weren't a place of mirrors and magic, if only we could all know what's happening there and jolt the bulk of us, some, supposedly educated, from our amoral snooze. How could the world be so bamboozled by the propaganda of the crazy Zionists?
Well, the press, as I've suspected, always knew more than they could ever tell, even if they almost always make up for that by a moral cleansing of their battered conscience in a little footnote after the manufactured fact. Take today's Guardian newspaper for instance, when it looks back to the Gaza pullout. "[W]ere we witnessing, through the media coverage of the time, a spontaneously unfolding narrative or a pre-orchestrated piece of theatre?" the writer, Rachel Shabi, asks.
Sobbing evacuees hurling flour at IDF members, bewildered toddlers beside mothers shouting abuse. Women wailing and cussing, what drama. It was all staged. While all this was happening, Sharon was allowing new settlements on the West Bank, while the world's attention was diverted.
All that happened had been pre-arranged.
One reporter who's willing to be quoted by name, Ha'aretz newspaper's David Ratner, says that this had happened before in the settlement of Homesh in the northern West bank. He says:
"They had meetings where the settlers would say, 'Let's keep to the agreement, we don't beat up soldiers, we will lie on the ground holding hands', and the soldiers were saying, 'We will break you apart, in small squads of four soldiers but not using excessive force, and you are not allowed to kick the military.' This is what one of the officers told me."All those rehearsals produced results in Gaza. The world was aghast: such trauma, brutality, passion. Such danger to the IDF! And this paid off in Sharon's grand plan, to fend off cries for evacuation beyond what was necessary for window-dressing. "Remember," a future Sharon will say, "the fire last time?"
As I said yesterday, in this hall of mirrors, it's hard to tell truth form illusion while the poor Palestinians bear the bloody, deadly brunt all the time. But in the Guardian it's the press people who're talking, and they knew it all along. But it's only now that we hear about this, nothing was said during the time, when the whole media played along with the sham — either knowingly or unknowingly — because in the world of the pack there is an unstated norm, and you cross it at the risk of being ridiculed.
Read the article: Making human drama out of a political crisis.
When Sharon does finally die, what will those deft subs at the New York Post be honing their wits on? How about "Farewell Fatso" for a start? Fat hope.
Not long ago, when speaking to a Palestinian septuagenarian about the death of Abba Eban, I heard him mutter quietly that a decent man was dead. He was speaking about someone who had taken away his homeland, mind, made a refugee of him for what was now nearly the rest of his life, and had denied him the return that was now offered freely to people born in Yonkers and Russia and Eastern Europe. Sharon was very much beyond the pale then, a rabid extremist. But even now they're preparing their hosannas of praise for this prominent Middle Eastern butcher: Man of Sacrifice/Peace/Principle [tick one or all, according to taste], Voice of Moderation, etc.
* * *
In August 1953, as commander of 101, set up to terrorise Arab villagers, Sharon ambushed the refugee camp of El-Bureig, south of Gaza, where some 50 refugees were killed. According to UN commander Major-General Vagn Bennike, Sharon's men threw bombs "through the windows of huts in which the refugees were sleeping and, as they fled, they were attacked by small arms and automatic weapons".
In October the same year, he perpetrated another bloody deedin Qibya.
* * *
Sharon's claim to enlightened politics comes form the much-touted withdrawal from Gaza, opposed by those of more 'extreme' views. This, in fact, is how Israeli politics is played on the world stage, a perceived extremist becomes pitched against perceived moderates, and thus is the illusion created. The Land of Palestine is grabbed, then parts of it offered back for 'peace'. In the canned applause department that comes along with it, the givers are applauded, and the Palestinians booed for dragging their feet on acceptance of a small chunk from a larger part they'd lost. See successive maps to see how this really translates, then gauge the 'generosity' of the Isarelis for yourselves. The same trick was pulled by now moderate Sharon, Jews battling against Jews for the small strip of Gaza — oh the hell they have to go through to appease those Palestinian louts — and then what do we get back?
* * *
Sharon made a fundraising tour of the United States on Nov. 14, 1993, accompanied by Yechial Leiter, Jewish Defence League (JDL) leader in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, where 150,000 settlers were placed. Sharon raised millions fo dollars for the Kiryat Arba settlement; he saw the settlers as the "only barrier to a Palestinian state."
* * *
Well, what do the Palestinians get back while the wool is pulled over the eye in East Jerusalem? These are the noises that the hue and cry in Gaza was designed to drown, the drone of bulldozers as old Arab buildings pulled down and the sound of bricklaying as new Jewish settlements are buing built. And stories have suddenly emerged of archaeological sites discovered in East Jerusalem. In other words, so say your farewells now before we annex it away from your sight. Meantime, would you care to look at this much disputed Gaza that is being anded back to the ungrateful Palestinians? Just take a look. The destruction of Palestinian towns and villages in fact went as far back as 1948, to create the myth of a land unpopulated.
* * *
2000 October: Ariel Sharon visits the area of Muslim sanctuaries, a deliberate provocation as it really was intended as a visit to the lost Jewish Temple of Jerusalem, which hardline Jews wanted to recreate on the expense of the Muslim sanctuaries. Violence erupts resulting a wave of violent attacks by Palestinians against Jews in Israel and Palestine. - http://i-cias.com/e.o/jerusalem.htm
* * *
Israeli politics is a massive conjuring trick, with props and mirrors by the Western media that either owned by Zionists or sympathetic to the cause. What the world is seeing is nothing less than a massive fraud, where the victims are held out to be aggressors, and people like Arafat take up arms without a cause. The demolition of houses, the daily onslaught of brutalities against civilians, humiliation and suffering of the civilian population are of no consequence in upholding the right of the Zionist state. And ten there's talk of a pullout and a Palestinian state. Few who hear these grandiose words care to look at the actuality on today's map: from this even in the reduced landhold in 1967, the Palestinian control and probable — ha-ha — state, is down to this. And the world is generally with the Israelis in condemning the Palestinians for looking at their gift horse of a state in the mouth. How could a state and a people exist in dots like these? The answer is simple: the divisions as now envisaged is deliberately so that a Palestinian state will not be viable.
* * *
In the 1970s Gaza's Beach City camp was a shanty town of refugees from the 1948 war. Sharon sent his soldiers without warning to bulldoze hundreds of homes to build one long street, now called Had'd Street (Street of Destruction). Belongings were thrown out, children beaten up, and suspected PLO members sent into exile in the Sinai Desert. According to a report in the London Independent, in 1971 alone Sharon demolished "some 2,000 homes in the Gaza strip, uprooting 16,000 people for the second time in their lives." More numbers: 100s of young Palestinian men deported to Jordan and Lebanon; 600 relatives of suspected guerilla fighters exiled to Sinai; 104 guerillas killed.
* * *
There are accusations of links with the criminal underworld. But Sharon himself, before his brain began to haemorrhage, was facing a $3 million bribery scandal. Some say that he wasn't the only one so tarnished in the politics of Israel. But this didn't stop pots from babbling about the kettle being black. Arafat was said to be corrupt, and had connections with unsavoury figures. In 1981 Sharon himself
dined with his good friend the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, and later, another unsavoury character, Jonas Savimbi in Angola. Unsavouriness was becoming a habit.
* * *
1982: Sharon made his infamous entry into Lebanon, where he allowed his Christian Falangist allies the carte blanche to murder of nearly 2000 people in the Palestinian refugee camp of Sabra and Shatilla. The bloodbath lasted 62 hrs, children were slaughtered, pregnant women disembowelled, and old folks killed and mutilated. An Inquiry chaired by the Presdient of Israel's Supreme Court found that Sharon was partly responsible for the massacre. This was February 1983. Today, in 2006, Appendix B of the report remains a secret.
* * *
Perhaps the New York Post will not be inspired to as much jollity on Sharon's death as they were when Arafat died. But rest assured, the final send-off will be as puke-inducing, and sick.
Sharon The Fat