Quote of the day


The assault on Gaza does not first and foremost demand moral condemnation – it demands a few historical reminders. Both the justification given for it and the chosen targets are a replay of the same basic assumptions that have proven wrong time after time. Yet Israel still pulls them out of its hat again and again, in one war after another. – Tom Segev

The tightening grasp on media by the Israeli government


Now that the Gazan offensive is in full swing and the killing and murder are at a fever pitch, look for the Israeli government to bring out their apologists who will be able to convince you and me that things are not what they seem and it’s the Palestinians’ fault.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Saturday instructed the Foreign Ministry to take emergency measures to adapt Israel’s international public relations to the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip.

Livni instructed ministry officials currently on vacation in Israel to return immediately to their posts abroad, and to immediately mount public relations campaigns in their station countries, focusing on local media and public officials.

The Foreign Ministry is also looking to recruit speakers of foreign languages, in particular Arabic, Italian, Spanish, and German, in order to expand Israel’s public relations campaign with the representatives of foreign media outlets currently in Israel.

If you think there will be relief from Israeli spin on the Internet think again.  Israelis have always been afraid of unfettered access to information and so they’ve managed to wrap that loose end up as well.

The Anti-Defamation League announced Sunday its recent expansion into the world of YouTube, the on-line video-sharing site.

The US-based advocacy group has officially partnered with the digital media powerhouse in an effort to combat hate speech and other forms of abuse.

YouTube’s community guidelines define hate speech as “content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group” – a religious or ethnic minority, for example – without discussing the question of intent.

It is not clear what role, if any, the ADL will have in reshaping YouTube policy in this regard. As of now, the ADL appears merely to be supplementing YouTube’s current abuse-protection measures.

The media blitz of the Israeli machine is now in full swing and every excuse will be made for the aggressive and brutal attacks against Gaza’s population, especially when the ground invasion begins.  Grab as many sources of information as you can, while you still can.  It could very well be that an incident like this will be the catalyst for censoring news and keeping people in the dark.



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The bestiality of the Israeli government


MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSpalevictimTit for tat?  (On the left an Israeli building hit by Palestinians “rockets”; on the right a Palestinian building hit by Israeli fire.)  The Israeli government launched an attack during the Christmas season which was designed to insure there would be no peace on earth, or goodwill towards Palestinians.  Using the false pretense that the Palestinian firing of rockets was unprovoked and therefore an Israeli response was necessary, the bombardment of the Gaza strip is no less than genocide against a defenseless civilian population.

What else can  you expect from a government whose leaders had publicly made such statements as Gazans should not be allowed to “live normal lives (Ehud Olmert) or that  punishment should be inflicted “irrespective of the cost to the Palestinians” (Avi Dichter) or that Israel should “decide on a neighborhood in Gaza and level it” (Meir Sheetrit) the intent of this latest act of murder is to inflict the maximum amount of casualties possible.  Some bloggers have even gone on to suggest that the lifting of the embargo by the Israelis was designed to offer them a window to kill the most number of civilians gathered to collect foodstuffs denied them by the Israelis for so long, but whatever the motive, the means were the use of the best military weaponry the state of Israel can finagle from America in their extermination of Palestinians.

Israel decided on a collective punishment policy after the Hamas electoral victory in ’07, and part of that punishment was in the form of the blockade which denied the Gaza Strip even the barest of essentials, electricity and food.  They did so while thumbing their noses at an international community which sought to chronicle Israel’s abuses.  The flagrant and exaggerated expulsion of Richard Falk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories is just one example among many where the Israelis have ignored the “rule of law” and internationally recognized conventions while continuing to oppress the Palestinian civilian population.

As always, the Israelis blame their victim for Israeli transgressions, saying that recent rocket attacks at the end of the ceasefire are responsible for this latest Israeli slaughter.  And while large numbers of rocket attacks are thrown at the public in order to justify Israeli aggression, lost in the argument is that these Palestinian “rockets” are ineffective, inaccurate (only one Israeli casualty  since Palestinians started firing the rockets after the ceasefire) and essentially home-made munitions. What the Israelis have done however to get around the disproportionate nature of their aggression is to return to collectivism of the Palestinian population, equating all within the borders of Gaza as terrorist and therefore subject to elimination, no questions asked.

This latest Israeli atrocity occurs in plain sight before the world stage and yet Hamas and by extension the Palestinians are responsible.  In the light of such global response the likelihood Israel will stop such unparalleled genocide is nil.  Countless deaths will be exacted before the Israelis stop this latest slaughter and resume their obfuscation of Palestinian statehood and peace in the Middle East.  By accepting their line of reasoning, the US is also a willing and active participant in this bloodshed.  One can now see the reason behind the Bush Administration’s abandonment of international law in its treatment of people captured during the phony WOT; accepting the link between themselves and their ally Israel means the only way to escape international illegality is to propose it doesn’t accept the terms of what’s legal and illegal.  Therefore it’s necessary to call such actions as the Israeli attack on Gaza bestial, inhumane, psychopathic, sociopathic, murderous, because in a nation where laws are no longer adhered to, legal and illegal have no meaning.  That seems to be acceptable to the Israeli government and the rest of the world.

UPDATE I

Not even Israelis seem to take the firing of rockets by Palestinians seriously. Take the tone of this article (Latest Gaza Rockets Injure More Arab Children than Jews) which appears in an Israeli newspaper.  It refers to the rockets used by the Palestinians as ‘locally produced rockets’, meaning internal, meaning made in Gaza, meaning at the very most, crude, (We’ve spoken of the ineffective nature of such munitions.)  yet in the Israeli scheme of looking at things they justify the killing of scores of people; a culture of death brought to us by the party of death.

UPDATE II

Not that there’s anything new about this, but assertions by the Israelis that their attack was in response to alleged ceasefire breakdowns, or violations on the part of Hamas to the expired ceasefire are not true, according to this piece from Haaretz.

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces “Cast Lead” operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas…..

The expression in the above link to “misleading of the public” is ironic and a common feature of the Israeli government.



Interesting headline


Bush’s $1 Trillion war on terror: even costlier than expected

I don’t know why that should come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed this Administration’s handling of the WOT.  If anything I think the figure is more than that!!  From the very first days after September 11,2001 the Bush Administration has been playing fast and loose with the facts and figures they used to convince the American people of the need to fight this war.  From the civilain Pentagon’s wish to keep American forces to a bare minimum, even in the face of senior military officers who told them it wouldn’t work, to the administration of Iraq first with the CPA and its adjuncts to the existing Iraqi government, the public was always given a rosier picture than the Administration knew it could deliver in order to gain the support of the American people.

Shortly before the Iraq war began, White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey earned a rebuke from within the Administration when he said the war could cost as much as $200 billion. “It’s not knowable what a war or conflict like that would cost,” Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld said. “You don’t know if it’s going to last two days or two weeks or two months. It certainly isn’t going to last two years.”

That was Rumsfeld then, but the reality is much more different. Now, it’s finally reaching back to bite us in the rear.

A trio of recent reports – none by the Bush Administration – suggests that sometime early in the Obama presidency, spending on the wars started since 9/11 will pass the trillion-dollar mark. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s four times more than America spent fighting World War I, and more than 10 times the cost of 1991’s Persian Gulf War (90 percent of which was paid for by U.S. allies). The war on terror looks set to surpass the cost the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, to be topped only by World War II‘s price tag of $3.5 trillion.

*snip*

According to the CSBA study, the Administration has fudged the war’s true costs in two ways: Borrowing money to fund the wars is one way of conducting it on the cheap, at least in the short term. But just as pernicious has been the Administration’s novel way of budgeting for them. Previous wars were funded through the annual appropriations process, with emergency spending – which gets far less congressional scrutiny – only used for the initial stages of a conflict. But the Bush Administration relied on such supplemental appropriations to fund the wars until 2008, seven years after invading Afghanistan and five years after storming Iraq.

This boondoggle coupled with the economic bailout means one’s great grandchildren will be paying for the misadventures of George Bush….and that will be his legacy!

More on drugs and the war on terror


Check out this video that claims since the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, drug smuggling between the two countries has increased, and we’re not just talking about smuggling viagra.

America declared a war on drugs more than thirty years ago, and from the looks of things it hasn’t succeeded in that effort, while its war on terror seems to provide the necessary ingredients for both to remain thorns in the US’ side, which it appears is just what authorities want.  How else can you explain the expansion of drug dealing in countries with heavy American military presence?

Viagra and the war on terror


The CIA has been accused of introducing drugs into societies before, but this story is an interesting twist to that association.

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

“Take one of these. You’ll love it,” the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for more pills.

For some U.S. operatives in Afghanistan, Western drugs such as Viagra were just part of a long list of enticements available for use in special cases. Two veteran officers familiar with such practices said Viagra was offered rarely, and only to older tribal officials for whom the drug would hold special appeal. While such sexual performance drugs are generally unavailable in the remote areas where the agency’s teams operated, they have been sold in some Kabul street markets since at least 2003 and were known by reputation elsewhere.

I wonder whether Ecstasy is included in the “Western” drugs given to Afghans and whether trade between such traditional drugs from the west are bartered for the cash crop of Afghanistan, opium?  In any event we have  another example of CIA involvement in “pharmaceuticals”….something to note before it gets lost in the memory hole of the past.