Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Latest Comments

past-president of various...
"Clearly, we have been li...
25/12/11 11:41
Kenneth MacQueen

Few international busines...
20/07/11 12:50
C.Savva & Associates Ltd

An issue worth looking de...
Great review. The chosenn...
18/07/11 10:07

12/07/11 09:31
Khalid Masood

Chomsky Receives Highest ...
"Steve" says above "This ...
05/07/11 03:02
Wootie B.

The BNP and bridging the ...
Fair enough, Nick Griffin...
04/07/11 13:49
Leigh Harwood

The BNP and bridging the ...
The manner in which Nick ...
26/04/11 23:40
Leigh Harwood

Take the train.
When I first got my drive...
26/04/11 15:13


empire burlesque





Scott Lively and Bryan Fischer: Sinking to New Lows
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

After reading Elijah Friedeman’s promising, but somewhat confusing article “Hey, let's stop the gay-bashing” on the American Family Association website – home of Bryan Fischer, arguably T-H-E most disgusting, hate-mongering homophobe masquerading as a “Christian” – I decided to take some time off. Would Friedeman’s article have any effect on AFA and Fischer?

Friedeman argued that “Homosexuality isn't the biggest moral problem facing our nation. Homosexual marriage isn't the biggest threat to traditional marriage. And homosexual activists aren't the biggest threat to freedom. This may be tantamount to heresy to some people, but it's true.” He ended his article with “for some reason, a lot of Christians want to attack homosexuality exclusively. Not only is this harmful to Christianity, it's outright wrong and runs contrary to what Jesus taught.”

But in between he made this bizarre statement: “I'm sure every homosexual will soon realize the error of his ways, because of the bombastic, invective anti-gay rhetoric coming from some Christians. But while that compassionately virulent language is working to change the hearts and minds of every homosexual…” One can only hope Mr. Friedman was being sarcastic.





The Fed's Policy of Creating Inflation: A Massive Wealth Transfer
by Rodrigue Tremblay Ph.D.

"If once [the people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions."

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd US President

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd US President

[Corruption in high places would follow as] "all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), American 16th US President (1861-65)

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), French economist

"Inflation made here in the United States is very, very low."

Ben Bernanke, Fed Chairman, Thursday, February 10, 2011

Let us begin with some macroeconomic indicators of reference.

In October 2010, the world value of total production (all Gross Domestic Products or GDPs) was estimated to be $61.96 trillion U.S. dollars at current nominal prices. The U.S.GDP was estimated at $16.11 trillion or 26 % of world GDP.

The two largest financial markets in terms of trading values are the global foreign exchange market (all currency markets) that has an average daily turnover in global foreign exchange transactions of about $4 trillion per day, and the privately-traded and mostly unregulated world derivatives market (all the derivatives markets) whose total world outstanding contracts has been estimated by the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland to have a notional or face value of about $791 trillion in 2010.

In terms of real wealth, however, the two most important financial markets are the world bond market and the world stock market. In 2009, for example, the global bond market had an outstanding value of $US 91 trillion, with the U.S. bond market, at a value of $US 35.5 trillion, being the largest domestic bond market. –In mid-2010, the global equity market capitalization on regulated exchanges was estimated at $US 54.9 trillion, with the U.S. stock market having a value of some $US 19.8 trillion.

With such a large amount of financial assets, it is understandable that shifts in prices and interest rates have important effects on each market. If long-term interest rates go up, the nominal value of bonds goes down, and conversely, when interest rates decline, bond prices go up. As for stocks, many factors, such as company earnings, future profit prospects and inflation expectations, as well as political and taxation considerations, can influence their value. However, in general, they tend to fare better when short-term interest rates are low rather than high.

Sometimes, these two important financial markets move up together, especially in an environment of general disinflation, when interest rates tend to decline. They also tend to decline in tandem when real interest rates are on the rise, both bond prices and stock prices are then falling.





All free speech systems are works in progress: Prof. Craig LaMay - Interview by Kourosh Ziabari
by Kourosh Ziabari

Craig LaMay is an associate professor of journalism at the Northwestern University. H is a former editorial director of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and editor of Media Studies Journal; and a former newspaper reporter. LaMay's articles and commentaries have appeared on New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Communication and the Law and a number of other media outlets.

LaMay has published several books on journalism and mass media of which we can name Journalism and the Problem of Privacy (2003), Commercial Transformation of the Nonprofit Sector, with Burton Weisbrod (1998) and Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television and the First Amendment with Newton Minow (1995).

Prof. LaMay joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss the constraints of journalism in the United States, freedom of speech in the EU, the performance of local magazines as opposed to the national news outlets and the gradual disappearance of traditional media with the emergence of new internet-based technologies.

What follows is the complete text of my interview with Prof. Craig LaMay of the Northwestern University.

Kourosh Ziabari: Dear Craig; there's a belief with regards to the mass media in the Western countries in general, and the United States in particular, which is undisputedly accepted by the international community: the widely-accepted belief is that the Western media are unrestrictedly free to publish whatever they want, to publish the viewpoints of the opponents of the government, the political dissidents and anti-governmental activists, without being harassed. Is it true that the mass media in the West are absolutely free to publish whatever they want? Isn't there any implicit pressure on the media to publish the news and analysis in a way which is favorable to the interests of the government?


Craig LaMay: That belief is overstated.  In the United States, for example, it has always been the law that restraints on publication, gag orders, are facially unconstitutional, and where they occur they get an immediate judicial review.  Nonetheless, it is also the law that some materials are subject to what we call prior restraints, or injunctions against publication.  Those materials fall into three broad categories: obscenity (which is subject to community standards, and thus what is 'obscene' in Alabama might not be so in New York); incitements to violence, but only when violence is likely and imminent, not when speech is mere advocacy, even advocacy that the government be overthrown by force; and risks to national security.  The last of these is the most contentious for journalists, since even benign governments are apt to see national security threats where there are none.





Egypt : Social Movements ,The CIA And Mossad
by James Petras Ph.D.

The Limits of Social Movements

The mass movements which forced the removal of Mubarak reveal both the strength and weaknesses of spontaneous uprisings. On the one hand, the social movements demonstrated their capacity to mobilize hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in a successful sustained struggle culminating in the overthrow of the dictator in a way that pre-existent opposition parties and personalities were unable or unwilling to do.

On the other hand, lacking any national political leadership, the movements were not able to take political power and realize their demands, allowing the Mubarak military high command to seize power and define the "post-Mubarak" process, ensuring the continuation of Egypt's subordination to the US, the protection of the illicit wealth of the Mubarak clan ($70 billion), and the military elite's numerous corporations and the protection of the upper class. The millions mobilized by the social movements to overthrow the dictatorship were effectively excluded by the new self-styled "revolutionary" military junta in defining the political institutions and policies, let along the socio-economic reforms needed to address their basic needs of the population (40% live on less than $2 USD a day, youth unemployment runs over 30%). Egypt, as in the case of the student and popular social movements against the dictatorships of South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia, demonstrate that the lack of a national political organization allows neo-liberal and conservative "opposition" personalities and parties to replace the regime .They proceed to set up an electoral regime which continues to serve imperial interests and to depend on and defend the existing state apparatus .In some cases they replace old crony capitalists with new ones. It is no accident that the mass media praise the 'spontaneous' nature of the struggles (not the socio-economic demands) and put a favorable spin on the role of military (slighting its 30 years as a bulwark of the dictatorship). The masses are praised for their "heroism", the youth for their "idealism", but are never proposed as central political actors in the new regime. Once the dictatorship fell, the military and the opposition electoralists "celebrated" the success of the revolution and moved swiftly to demobilize and dismantle the spontaneous movement, in order to make way for negotiations between the liberal electoral politicians, Washington and the ruling military elite.





When "Good" Dictators Go Bad
by Normon Solomon
A standard zigzag of political rhetoric went for a jaunt along Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday (Feb. 15) with a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at George Washington University. “Iran is awful because it is a government that routinely violates the rights of its people,” she declared. During the last few weeks, much has changed in the politics of the Middle East -- but not much has changed in the politics of Washington, where policymakers turn phrases on a dime.

The currency is doublespeak, antithetical to a single standard of human rights.

And so, the secretary of state condemns awful Iran, invoking “our sense of human dignity, the rights that flow from it and the principles that ground it.” But don’t hold your breath for any such condemnation of, say, Saudi Arabia -- surely an “awful” government that “routinely violates the rights of its people.”

It wasn’t long ago that Hosni Mubarak’s regime -- with all its repression and torture -- enjoyed high esteem and lavish praise in Washington. For Egyptians, the repression and torture went on; for the bipartisan savants running U.S. foreign policy, the suppression was good geopolitics.

As recently as Jan. 27, when Joe Biden appeared on the “PBS NewsHour,” the official U.S. line about the despot of Egypt was enough to make Orwell’s coffin spin. Was it time for Mubarak to go? “No,” Biden replied. “I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that -- to be more responsive to some . . . of the needs of the people out there.”





Restoring Economic Sovereignty: The Push for State-owned Banks
by Ellen Hodgson Brown

"It is time to declare economic sovereignty from the multinational banks that are responsible for much of our current economic crisis.  Every year we ship over a billion dollars in Oregon taxpayer dollars to out-of-state and multinational banks in the form of deposits, only to see that money invested elsewhere. It's time to put our money to work for Oregonians."

-- Bill Bradbury, former Oregon Senate President and Secretary of State, quoted  in The Nation

Responding to an unfilled need for credit for local government, local businesses and consumers, three states in the last month have introduced bills for state-owned banks -- Oregon, Washington and Maryland – joining Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts and Hawaii to bring the total number to seven.

While Wall Street is reporting record profits, local banks are floundering, credit for small businesses and consumers remains tight, and local governments are teetering on bankruptcy.  There is even talk of allowing state governments to file for bankruptcy, something current legislation forbids.  The federal government and Federal Reserve have managed to find trillions of dollars to prop up the Wall Street banks that precipitated the credit crisis, but they have not extended this largesse to the taxpayers and local governments that have been forced to pick up the tab. 

In January, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Fed had ruled out a central bank bailout for state and local governments.  The collective state budget deficit for 2011 is projected at $140 billion, a mere 1% of the $12.3 trillion the Fed managed to come up with in liquidity, short-term loans, and other financial arrangements to bail out Wall Street.  But Chairman Bernanke said the Fed is limited by statute to buying municipal government debt with maturities of six months or less that is directly backed by tax or other assured revenue, a form of debt that makes up less than 2% of the overall muni market.  State and municipal governments, it seems, are on their own.

Faced with federal inaction and growing local budget crises, an increasing number of states are exploring the possibility of setting up their own state-owned banks, following the model of North Dakota, the only state that seems to have escaped the credit crisis unscathed.  The 92-year-old Bank of North Dakota (BND), currently the only state-owned U.S. bank, has helped North Dakota avoid the looming budgetary disasters of other states.  In 2009, North Dakota sported the largest budget surplus it had ever had.  The BND helps fund not only local government but local banks and businesses, by providing matching funds for loans to commercial banks to support small business lending. 

In the last month, three states have introduced bills for state-owned banks, following the North Dakota model.  On January 11, a bill to establish a state-owned bank was introduced in the Oregon State legislature; on January 13, a similar bill was introduced in Washington State (discussed in an earlier article here); and on February 4, a bill was introduced in the Maryland legislature for a feasibility study looking into the possibilities.  They join Illinois,Virginia,Hawaii, and Massachusetts, which introduced similar bills in 2010.





Palestinian September 2011 Deadline Doomed
by Nicola Nasser
The international Quartet of the US, EU, UN and Russia on Middle East peace and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) seem set on an agenda that perceives September 2011 as an historical political watershed deadline. Among the partners to the Quartet – sponsored Palestinian – Israeli “peace process,” practically deadlocked since the collapse of the US, Palestinian and Israeli trilateral summit in Camp David in 2000, only the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu seems adamant to set a completely different agenda that renders any endeavor by the Quartet to revive the process a non – starter, thus dooming the September deadline beforehand as another missed opportunity for peace making.

Denying they are containment measures aimed at political survival to avert potential Palestinian simulation in the aftermath of the regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia, the PLO is bracing for what it declares as indeed “the” watershed deadline in September 2011 that would make or break its decision to resume as a partner to the “peace process.” The PLO is reshuffling its negotiations department as well as the cabinet of the self-ruled Palestinian Authority (PA) and has called for presidential, legislative and local elections by next September to empower itself with electoral legitimacy ahead of that deadline, encouraged by what the Quartet perceives as a “really important moment of opportunity,” in the words of the Quartet’s representative the former UK prime minister Tony Blair, which is an “opportunity” created by the Arab popular uprisings that so far have swept to the dustbin of history the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes, both considered for decades major pillars of the Middle East “peace process.”





The Shift In State Of The Atmosphere
by Andrew Glikson Ph.D. -  Earth and Paleoclimate science Australian National University
What is needed are urgent measures including deep cuts in carbon emissions and down- draw of atmospheric CO2, fast-track transformation to non-polluting energy utilities (solar, solar-thermal, wind, tide, geothermal, hot rocks), global reforestation and re-vegetation campaigns, including application of biochar (pyrolysis of biomass).

The release to the atmosphere and oceans of hundreds of billions of tons of carbon from fossil biospheres, at the rate of >2 ppm CO2 per year, is unprecedented in geological history of Earth, excepting events such as asteroid impacts which excavated and vaporized carbon-rich sediments, interfering with the carbon and oxygen cycles, which led to mass extinction of species.

The emission since 1750 of over 320 billion tons of carbon (GtC) from buried early biospheres, adding more than one half of the original carbon inventory of the atmosphere (~590 GtC), as well as the depletion of vegetation, are triggering a fundamental shift in the state of the atmosphere, tracking toward conditions which exceed interglacial temperatures over the last 400,000 years and are analogous to conditions of the mid-Pliocene ~2.8 billion years ago [1] (Figure 1), the last decade 2000-2010 being the warmest since instrumental measurements commenced (Figure 2).

As stated by Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute [2], we're simply talking about the very life support system of this planet”.

Lost all too often in the climate debate is an appreciation of the delicate balance between the physical and chemical state of the atmosphere–ocean–land- cryosphere system and the evolving biosphere, which controls the emergence, survival and demise of species, including humans. By contrast to Venus’ thick blanket of CO2 and SO2 atmosphere, which exerts extreme pressure (90 bars) at the Venusian surface, and unlike Mars’ thin (0.01 bar) CO2 atmosphere, the presence in the Earth’s atmosphere of trace concentrations of well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHG) (CO2, CH4, NxO, O3), has modulated surface temperatures during most of the Holocene within the range of -89 and +57.7 degrees Celsius and a mean of 14°C, allowing the presence of liquid water and thereby of life. By contrast to the long-lived GHG, water vapour has a short atmospheric residence time (9 days) and low concentrations over arid climate zones and the polar regions.

Forming  a  thin  breathable  veneer  only  slightly  more  than  1000th  Earth’s diameter, and evolving both gradually as well as through major perturbations with time, the atmosphere acts as a “lungs” of the biosphere, allowing an exchange of carbon gases and oxygen with plants and animals, which in turn affect the atmosphere, for example through release of methane and photosynthetic oxygen.

As   shown   by   numerous   proxy-based   paleo-climate   studies,   when   the concentration of CO2  in the atmosphere rises above a critical threshold, the climate shifts to a different state. Any significant increase in the level of carbon gases triggers powerful feedbacks, including ice melt/warm water interaction, decline of ice reflection (albedo) and increase in infrared absorption by exposed water. Further release of CO2 from the oceans and from drying and burning vegetation shifts global climate zones toward the poles, warms the oceans and induces ocean acidification [3, 10].

The   essential   physics   of   the   infrared   absorption/emission   resonance   of greenhouse  molecules,  indicated  by  observations  in  nature  and  laboratory studies, is expressed by the relations between atmospheric CO2 and mean global temperature projections (Figure 3). Increased evaporation in warming oceans results in enhanced, often abrupt, precipitation events and floods, as indicated by current trends since about 1980 (Figure 4).

During most of Earth’s history the oxygen-poor composition of the atmosphere resulted in a major role of reduced carbon species in the air and the oceans, including methane and carbon monoxide, allowing mainly algae and bacteria to exist. It is commonly held that, from about 0.7 billion years ago, in the wake of the Marinoan glaciation (so-called ‘Snowball Earth’), oxygenation of low- temperature water allowed development of new oxygen-binding proteins and thereby of multicellular animals, followed by development of a rich variety of organisms — the “Cambrian explosion”.[4].

The present state of the biosphere, allowing survival of large mammals and of humans on the continents, developed during global cooling of the upper Eocene and in particular once when CO2  levels declined below about 500 ppm some 34 million years ago (end Eocene) [5, 7]. From this stage, interrupted by warm periods in the Oligocene (~25 million years ago) and mid-Miocene (~15 million years ago), the Antarctic ice sheet exerted a major effect on the global climate regime. About 2.8 million years ago (mid-Pliocene) the Greenland ice sheet and the Arctic Sea ice began to form, with further decline in global temperatures expressed through glacial–interglacial cycles controlled by orbital forcing (Milankovic cycles), with atmospheric CO2 levels oscillating between 180 and 280 ppm CO2  (Fig. 1), conditions which allowed the emergence of humans in Africa and their migration all over the world [6].

Recent paleoclimate studies, using multiple proxies (soil carbonate δ13C, alkenones, boron/calcium, stomata leaf pores), indicate that the current CO2 level of 391 ppm and the CO2-equivalent level of ~460 ppm (which includes the methane factor), commit warming above pre-industrial levels to global increase in greenhouse forcing equivalent to temperature rise in the range of 3 to 4°C [2] (Fig. 1) and near-10°C in polar regions, tracking toward ice-free Earth conditions.

Small human clans responded to extreme climate changes during the Pleistocene (cold fronts, storms, draughts, sea level changes) through migration within and out of Africa. Homo sapiens emerged during the glacial period preceding the 124

000 year-old Emian interglacial, when temperatures were about 1°C above late Holocene  levels  (Fig.  1)  and  sea  levels  higher  by  6–8  metres  [3]. The development of agriculture, and thereby of human civilisation, had to wait until the climate stabilised about 8000 years ago, when large-scale irrigation along the great river valleys (the Nile, Euphrates, Hindus and Yellow River) became possible thanks to the multi-seasonal regulation of river flow allowed by fluctuations in the source mountains snow cover.

Since the 18th century, global temperature rose by and average of ~0.8°C. Another ~0.5°C is masked by industrial-emitted aerosols (mainly SO2). The polar regions, acting as the ‘thermostats’ of the Earth, are the source of the cold air current vortices and the cold ocean currents, such as the Humboldt and California current, which affect the ENSO cycle and keep the Earth’s overall temperature in balance, much as the blood stream regulates the body’s temperature and the supply of oxygen.

At +4°C rise, advanced to total melting of the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets would lead to over 10 metres-scale sea level rise. Further rise of CO2-equivalent above 500 ppm and mean global temperatures above 4°C (Figure 3) could lead toward greenhouse Earth conditions such as existed during the early Eocene [5, 7].

Feedback effects associated with a rise of atmospheric CO2  include desiccation and burning of vegetation, releasing more CO2. The onset of methane release from polar bogs and sediments is of major concern. Ice/melt water interaction proceeds as melt water melts more ice; ice loss results in albedo loss and the exposed water absorb infrared heat, leading to an amplified feedback loop. Because CO2 is cumulative, with atmospheric residence time on the scale of centuries to millennia, stabilisation of the climate through only small incremental reduction in emissions may not be sufficient to avoid runaway climate change and possible tipping points.

Climate change can be geologically defined as a global oxygenation event which affects fossil carbon deposits as well as the present biosphere. At 2 ppm CO2 per year rise the pace of carbon oxidation exceeds the fastest recorded geological rate of 0.4 ppm/year at the Paleocene–Eocene boundary at 55 Ma, when about 2000 GtC were released to the atmosphere, triggering an extinction of species [5, 7].

Sea level rise constitutes the critical parameter which reflects thesum-total of other elements of climate change. Since the early 20th century, the rate of sea level rise increased from about 1 mm/year to about 3.5 mm/year (1993–2009 mean rate 3.2+/-0.4 mm/year) due to thermal expansion and ice melt, i.e. a nearly four-fold increase since the onset of the industrial age.

The Earth poles are warming at rates 3 to 4 times faster than low latitudes (NASA/GISS, 2010) [8] (Figure 2). The most detailed satellite information available shows that ice sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica are shrinking and in some places are already in runaway melt mode (Pritchard, 2009) [9]. Laser readings from a NASA satellite indicate changes in the height of the ice sheets, especially at their edges, where warmer water eats away from below. In some parts of Antarctica ice sheets have been losing 30 feet a year in thickness since 2003.

At present the climate is in a lag period, with increasing atmospheric energy expressed       by   heat   waves,   hurricanes   and   floods,   which   increased   by approximately a factor of 2 since 1980 (Figure 4), and by a shift of mid-latitude high-pressure zones toward the poles. With ensuing desertification of temperate zones, i.e. southern Europe, southern and southwest Australia, southern Africa, the desiccated forests become prey to firestorms. .

At 460 ppm CO2-equivalent the climate is tracking close to the upper stability limit of the Antarctic ice sheet, defined at approximately 500 ppm [3, 5, 7]. Humans cannot argue with the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, nor with the sensitivity of the oceans and marine life to changes in pH [10]. What is needed are urgent measures including deep cuts in carbon emissions and down- draw  of  atmospheric  CO2,  fast-track  transformation  to  non-polluting  energy utilities (solar, solar-thermal, wind, tide, geothermal, hot rocks), global reforestation and re-vegetation campaigns, including application of biochar (pyrolysis of biomass).

The alternative does not bear contemplation.

7 February, 2011


[1]   M Pagani et al., 2010, ‘High Earth-system climate sensitivity determined from

Pliocene carbon dioxide concentrations’ Nature Geoscience,3, p 27–30.

[2]   HJ Schellnhuber, 2009, Tipping elements in the Earth System. Proceedings National Academy Science, 106, p. 20561-20563.http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE58R3UI20090928

[3]   J Hansen et al, 2008, ‘Target CO2: Where Should humanity aim?’ Open

Atmospheric Science Journal, V2, p. 217–231.

[4]   SJ Gould, 1989. Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History.

W.W. Norton & Company.ISBN 0393027058

[5]   JC Zachos et al, 2008, ’An early Cainozoic perspective on greenhouse warming and carbon-cycle dynamics’ Nature451, p. 279–283.

[6]   PB deMenocal, 2004, ‘African climate change and faunal evolution during the

Pliocene-Pleistocene’ Earth and Planetary Science Letters 220, 1/2, p. 3–24.

[7]   JC Zachos et al. 2001. Trends, rhythms, and aberrations in global climate 65 Ma to present. Science 292, p. 686-693.

[8]   NASA-GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP)


[9]   HD Pritchard et al., 2009, ‘Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the

Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets’ Nature 461, p. 971–975.

[10]  JEN Veron, 2008, Mass extinctions and ocean acidification: biological constraints on geological dilemmas. Coral Reefs 27, p. 459–472

DOI 10.1007/s00338-008-0381-8






Palestine Looks Abroad for Rational Understanding
by Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.

"What one misses in Arab and Palestinian culture is a moral and intellectual standard by which truth and falsehood can be distinguished and according to which intellectuals act regardless of profit or patronage."

"We Palestinians must still reconcile ourselves with our history, and with the perhaps futile sacrifices of the past century. And we must restore Palestine to its place not simply as a small piece of territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River but an idea that for years galvanized the Arab world into thinking about and fighting for social justice, democracy, and a different kind of future than the one that has been imposed on it by force and by an absence of Arab will." (Edward W. Said, Peace and its Discontents, 1996)

Palestine is one but Palestinians are "scattered like seeds" describes the distinguish professor of comparative cultures and civilizations - Dr. Shaw Dallal, the portrait of Palestinian lives ruined by the global politics of the few. When people are dispersed by force of political violence, they encounter insurmountable challenges and seem to build–up the momentum for unity of ideas and ideals and strive with strength of faith for a just cause and survival under tormenting conditions as persist in Palestine for over 60 years after the establishment of the State of Israel. The Jewish homeland in Palestine is outcome of the British- American complacency to avoid accountability for the centuries of conscious persecutions of the Jews in Europe. There was a culture of anti-Jewish religious metaphor across the European world that spilled over to America while Europeans migrated to the new world. Ironically, Arabs are the only people and civilization that enjoys a history of extending human dignity and equal treatment to Jewish people in their homes and hearts. Today, Arabs are the victims of Israeli intransigence and cruelty in Palestine. They live under barbed culture as did the Jews under the Nazis. Perhaps, Jewish emigrants from Eastern Europe could not think to free themselves from the past except to sustain the Nazi culture of human atrocities and reshape Palestine with barbed wires walls and check points to reinvent the insanity of Nazism. What a strange co-incident of human history? Nobody wants to learn from the lesson of history. Would this course of human ignorance favor the Jewish people and the State of Israel? Would Jews be more secure by depriving the Palestinians of their inborn right to freedom- an independent State of Palestine? When darkness prevails, people and nation seem to lose the sense of direction. For ages, the capitalist Europeans-American fought ideological wars against communist Russia and China. Today, they eagerly and desperately trying to bridge the historical gulfs often seem unbridgeable. American economic survival depends on the I.O.U notes of trillion of dollars from the Chinese. History is not fixed nor is the destiny of people. Jews should know better as they have gone through various critical junctures in their life cycle- it is the enlightened foresight that can envisage the future for the Arab-Israeli co-existence, not the warfare of the past.





As the Dominoes Flow toward Israel
by William A. Cook, Ph.D.

While the people of the mid-east rise in protest against their respective American supported dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, with the American-Israeli attempts to control Lebanon on the brink of chaos and collapse, and the "peace negotiations" between the Palestinians and the Israelis torpedoed by both Netanyahu and Abbas, the confusion at the State Department could be eased if it spent some time reviewing the United States' prior efforts to control the people of the mid-east, especially in Iran. It's one thing for the Secretary of State and the President to reiterate America's purported policy on human rights and another to acknowledge the hypocrisy of it.

After all, our policy appears clear, "We have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and free of corruption; and the freedom to live as you choose. These are human rights, and we support them everywhere," Mr. Gibbs said, speaking on behalf of the President. America supports human rights everywhere, with words … as our dutiful TV channels give Gibbs, Crowley, Clinton and Obama extensive time to demonstrate … but there are no words directed at the Palestinian people's rights.

How strange to watch our CNN talking heads, especially the Israeli trained Wolf Blitzer, former editor of AIPAC's in house "Near East Report," stuttering before the cameras as he recalled the fall of the Shah of Iran, America's staunch ally for 25 years, as a direct result of similar riots by Iranian civilians, and the resulting loss of America's control in Iran. He failed to mention that our friend had subjugated the Iranian people beneath the boots of his SAVAK mercenaries that protected his elegant life style while the people suffered under his despotic regime. Then as now our Presidents spoke of America's support of human rights neglecting to mention the CIA's overthrow of the elected nationalist (1951) Mohammed Mossadegh as Prime Minister.





Gilad Atzmon Discusses American Foreign Policy on Press TV
by Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון‎, born June 9, 1963) is a jazz musician, author and anti-Zionist activist who was born in Israel and currently lives in London.
"Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist - which I am not - or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism... which I have."
He was born a secular Israeli Jew in Tel Aviv, and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His service in the Israeli military convinced him Israel had become a militarized state controlled by religious extremists. In 1994, Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London, where he studied philosophy. Atzmon is an anti-Zionist who critiques Jewish identity issues and supports the Palestinian Right of Return as well as the establishment of a single state in Israel/Palestine. He is a signatory to the "Palestinians are the Priority Petition" which states “full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua non for activists to adopt.
The American foreign policy is at cross-roads. For decades, Washington has advertised equality and human rights in international circles. But, at times, the U.S. has contradicted its own alleged values, philosophy and democratic approach.
Some argue that America's self-interest supersedes the spread of democracy worldwide. However, there are those who say Washington's approach serves neither the national interest of Americans, nor does it promote equality and democracy.
So, the question arises: who then benefits from current American policies?
Press TV's U.S. Desk discussed the issue with Gilad Atzmon who is a political activist, musician and author in London.
Atzmon argues that American policy is a 'total mess' because the American administration has gambled on authoritarian regimes who have been sympathetic and obedient to Washington.

All the while, this support contradicts Washington's claims of spreading democracy in the world.  Atzmon writes: "The American government is very confused at the moment.  They don't know whether to support Hosni Mubarak or the people. The same goes for Tunisia last week. America was also supporting the Shah. And there is a big question why America is getting it wrong all the time.”





Egypt and Tunisia – The 'arc of crisis' being radicalized!
by Zahir Ebrahim

One can perhaps use the article "Unlayering the Middle East War Agenda: Making Sense of Absurdities" to make some sense of Egypt and Tunisia in some overarching context that is outside of their national boundaries. These countries are, after all, both along the 'arc of crisis', in the 'global zone of percolating violence' (Ibid.) – and it is percolating all right!

While it is too early to call Egypt and Tunisia both, but like the Green Revolution which fizzled in Iran because the Iranians astutely understood that it was a CIA sponsored colored revolution brought on by their own fifth columnists, and acted accordingly, Egypt's and Tunisia's sudden flare-up sounds to me exactly like PNA's revolt against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, elected prime minister and dictator-in-chief of Pakistan – and a thorn in the side of the United States for his independent thinking – paid for by the bucket full of overnight dollars from the PL 480 fund.

"PL-480 funds had also been released by the US. Over-night some JI workers were seen with pockets full of money and spending lavishly ... The US not only aided but also directed most of the PNA activities." wrote Brig. Tirmazi, as the man on the watch for Pakistan's ISI, in his confessional autobiography Profiles of Intelligence (1996, read excerpt).

Those who don't know their history are condemned to fall to the butcher's knife already being sharpened by our own uncle toms, house negroes, and many a fifth columnist savant variously pitching 'secular humanism' vs. Islam through street revolution. These revolutions have no fundamentals to them except mob-power, and therefore, like the French Revolution, are almost always orchestrated with big money and big mobilizations to serve quite a different agenda. That latter revolution created the tyrannical Napoleon, while destroying all existent aristocracy of France, the bearers of French/Christian culture and traditions for centuries, to be replaced by mobs (some liberation from the aristocracy's tyranny!).

The Iranian revolution, contrary to the Shia partisans' penchant for anything Khomeini, only created a new enemy for America with "Islamic" mob power and hostage taking, both of which have defined American-Iranian relations ever since for the public's consumption. Diabolically cultivated in France and protected by NATO intelligence, the late Ayatollah Khomeini was clearly played for a patsy with the Iranian public's disenfranchisement card – a travesty deliberately carried out by the vile King Reza Shah Pahlavi's intelligence apparatus SAVAK, his masters knowing exactly what their implanted stooge, brought to power by their CIA, was brewing by oppressing the common peoples so brutally. While all this was going on in Iran, the future leader of the people's rebellion was being carefully protected by the West, in the West, and brought to power the moment their own tyrant was kicked out by street power.

The Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, respected leader of Iranians, and of Shia Muslims around the world, could have been assassinated by Western intelligence at anytime they wanted while he was in exile – but NATO and French intelligence were instead likely guarding him in the chateau in France lest SAVAK did him in! Can anyone make sense of this mind-fck: replacing their own installed tyrant who is empire-friendly, with a street revolution that is empire-inimical? It is like red-teaming blue-teaming an exercise where only the observers know what the real game is, but either team thinks their battle is real.

This theme repeats over and over again with variations. Sometimes, the preferred military dictator brought about with a coup, is replaced by a hand-picked malleable corrupt bastard under the facade of elections, leaving a wake of public discontent in either case, and then musical chairs begin again as the society is led by its nose towards more orchestrated chaos and insecurity.





Middle East at Strategic Crossroads, U.S. as Well
by Nicola Nasser

The Arab world is the beating heart of the overwhelmingly Muslim Middle East, and the Arab masses are angrily moving for a change in the status quo, practically dictated by the military, economic or political hegemony of the United States, which in turn is whipped by the regional power of the Israeli U.S. strategic ally. But any change in the regional status quo would place the Middle East at a strategic crossroads that is not expected to be viewed tolerantly by the U.S. – Israeli alliance, a fact which expectedly would warn of a fierce struggle to come. Despite the U.S. rhetorical defense of the "universal rights" in the region, it is still premature to conclude that this hegemonic alliance will allow the Arab move for change to run its course, judging by the historic experiences of the last century as well as by the containment tactics the United States is now adopting to defuse whatever strategic changes might be created by the revolting Arab masses.

The U.S. war on terror has preoccupied U.S. decision makers and embroiled regional rulers in their preoccupation to overlook the tinderbox of the double digit unemployment rate among Arab youth, double and in some cases triple the world average, according to the most conservative estimates, which under the U.S. – supported authoritarian regimes has been a ticking time bomb for too long. Now, the "demographic tsunami to the south of the Mediterranean," as described by Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, has overtaken the west, but in particular the U.S. – Israeli alliance, by surprise, sending shock waves across the Middle East, shaking the pillars of what this alliance has taken for granted as a guaranteed geopolitical stability reinforced by the Israeli 34 – year old military occupation of the Palestinian territories, the Syrian Golan Hights and parts of southern Lebanon and the U.S. invasion then the ongoing occupation of Iraq. But "the Arab world's Berlin moment" has come and the U.S. – supported "authoritarian wall has fallen," professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics, Fawaz Gerges, told Reuters.

Unlike in Tunisia, the U.S. regional strategy cannot afford a strategic change of regime in a pivotal regional country like Egypt. U.S. senior officials' appeals for President Hosni Mubarak to respect the "universal rights" of the Egyptian people and their right in "peaceful" protests, for reforms that should be "immediately" undertaken by the ruling regime, and their calls for "restraint" and non-violence by both the regime and protesters are all smoke-screening the fact that the United States is siding with what President Barak Obama hailed as "an ally of ours on a lot of critical issues" and his spokesman, Robert Gibbs, described as "a strong ally" - - which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wishfully described his government as "stable" on Wednesday, despite the roaring demands on the streets for its change - - at least because "a more representative government drawn from the diversity of Egypt's political opposition will be much more inclined to criticize American and Israeli policies," according to Bruce Riedel, a former long-time CIA officer and a senior fellow of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, on January 29.

The U.S. posturing as neutral, "not taking sides," could appease and mislead American public opinion, but to Arab and especially to Egyptian public opinion even neutrality is viewed as hostile and condemned in the region as a double standard when compared with the U.S. siding with similar moves for change elsewhere in the world, let alone that this neutrality contradicts the western highly valued democratic values at home.

On Friday night, Obama called for "a meaningful dialogue between the (Egyptian) government and its citizens," who insist on staying on the streets until the regime, and not only its government, is changed and Mubarak leaves. On January 28, Vice President Joe Biden told PBS NewsHour that Mubarak should not step down. When asked whether time had come for Mubarak to go, he said: "No. I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move – to be more responsive to some .. of the needs of the people out there." Nothing would be more clear – cut, but nothing would be more counterproductive to both Egyptian and American interests on the background of footages on the screens of satellite TV stations showing protesters condemning Mubarak as a "U.S. agent" or showing live bullets or "made in U.S.A." tear gas canisters, reported by ABC News, which were used against them.

It seems the en masse Arab popular protests in Egypt that no party in the opposition could claim to be the leader are confusing the senior officials of the Obama administration who "have no idea of exactly who these street protesters are, whether the protesters are simply a mob force incapable of organized political action and rule, or if more sinister groups hover in the shadows, waiting to grab power and turn Egypt into an anti-Western, anti-Israeli bastion." in the words of the U.S. commentator Lesli e H. Gelb, the former New York Times columnist and senior government official.

The U.S. confusion is illustrated by the stark contradiction between the realities on the ground in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen and, for instance, what the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Filtman, told Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy: "What happened in Tunisia strikes me as uniquely Tunisian. That the events that took place here over the past few weeks derive from particularly Tunisian grievances, from Tunisian circumstances by the Tunisian people." How farthest cut off from reality a senior U.S. official could be! "The White House will have to be forgiven for not knowing whether to ride the tiger or help put him back in a cage," Gelb wrote.





Can the Palestinian Authority survive? 'Our leaders are negotiating the terms of our imprisonment'

by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

With the 18-year-long Middle East peace process finally pronounced dead, is the Palestinian Authority finished too?

That is the question being asked by Palestinians in the wake of a week of damaging revelations that Palestinian negotiators secretly made major concessions to Israel in talks on Jerusalem, refugees and borders.

The PA -- the Palestinians' government-in-the-making, led by Mahmoud Abbas -- was already in crisis before the disclosure of official Palestinian documents by Al Jazeera television last week.

Now, said George Giacaman, the head of the Ramallah-based research centre Muwatin, which advocates greater Palestinian democracy, the PA's "back is to the wall".





Revolutionary Change in Egypt: Internal or Made in USA? - by Stephen Lendman
US imperial policy includes regime change, affecting foes as well as no longer useful friends. Past targets included former Philippines leader Ferdinand Marcos, Iran's Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi), and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, among others. According to some reports, Mubarak is next - aging, damaged and expendable.

George Friedman runs Stratfor, a private global intelligence service. On January 29, he issued a special Egypt report, saying:

On January 29, "Egypt's internal security forces (including Central Security Forces anti-riot paramilitaries) were glaringly absent" after confronting protesters forcefully for several days. Army personnel replaced them. Demonstrators welcomed them.

"There is more (going on) than meets the eye." While media reports focus on reform, democracy and human rights, "revolutions, including this one, are made up of many more actors than (Facebook and Twitter) liberal voices...." Some are, in fact, suspect, using social network sites for other than purported reasons.

Like Iran's 1979 revolution, "the ideology and composition of protesters can wind up having very little to do with the" behind the scenes political forces gaining power. Egypt's military may be preparing to seize it. Former air force chief/civil aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq is new prime minister, tasked with forming a new government, and intelligence head Omar Suleiman is Egypt's first ever vice president under Mubarak, effectively second in command.

Moreover, Defense Minister Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi "returned to Cairo after a week of intense discussions with senior US officials." He heads the Republican Guard, responsible for defending major government and strategic institutions, the symbols of entrenched power. Also back is Lt. General Sami Annan. Both men with others "are likely managing the political process behind the scenes."

As a result, expect more political changes, military commanders apparently willing to give Mubarak time to leave gracefully, but not much as unrest won't subside until he's gone.

Egypt's military is key as "guarantor of regime stability." It's never "relinquished its rights to the state" no matter who's president, made easier with popular support, unlike the hated police. But it's not a monolithic force, nor can it shake its history of mid-level commanders like Gamal Abdel Nasser seizing power. In 1981, Islamists and junior officers assassinated Anwar Sadat, elevating Mubarak to the presidency.





One More Year of Inhumanity Coming to a Close. What Happens Next?

by Pablo Ouziel

This year the list of atrocities committed under the guise of representative democracy is extensive, as anyone concerned in analyzing the actions of governments in the West can ascertain. If it was our wish, we could bombard the airwaves with images of suffering people from around the world, and swiftly link their pain to the corrupt institutions of government we have accepted as legitimate. With similar ease, we could trace the wealth accumulated by a small minority of ruthless economic elites, to their governmental bonds. But I see little need in contributing to this exercise considering the amount of relevant information already available. Instead, I find it more useful to speculate about what happens next. I am fairly confident that is what those bearing the brunt of our inhumanity must wonder. Will we end the bombs? Will we stop the banks? Will we transform our democracies?
What a meaningless term democracy has become when uttered under the context of our 21st century Western reality. Do we really think the democracy we live embodies the dream our ancestors thought they were fighting for? I do not think it does. I think instead, that Western democracy, the democracy of imperial expansion embodies the violence and misery it claims to diffuse. The tragic thing is, that many Western citizens one speaks to, make similar observations, yet, the wheel continues to turn and its movement destroys many innocents. How can the wheel stop, when the citizenry goes along for the ride? When there is little will to change direction?
Let us take for example the self-proclaimed left-wing progressives of the United States. Imbued by arrogance and complacency, two years ago, they went along with the message of hope communicated by the now president of the United States. Their strategic plan was to vote Mr. Obama into office, and then convince him to act on their wishes for a better world. Their argument being, that he represented the lesser of the two evils. In retrospect, one can see that he was not the lesser of the two evils; he was a different evil representing the same class interests, with different rhetoric and face. Nevertheless, the progressive embrace of yet another criminal into the office of the United States has served to fuel and legitimize once again, the Nation’s expansionary venture of military violence and legalized capitalist crime.
With the year coming to a close, one can only assume that either these so called progressives made a strategic blunder, or they had no will for real change. I am inclined to believe that the choice was made to continue with the charade because there is no will for a paradigmatic change. But these are big words, and for this reason, many will discard what I have to say. So in order to at least begin the process of describing the kinds of actions, which I think are needed for a paradigm change to take place, below I will present a few suggestions a wilful citizenry can undertake in the coming year, in order to stop the inhumanity that today has become the norm.

Global General Strike
If there was indeed a true sense of solidarity and responsibility, those around the world who claim to fight for the betterment of the human experience on earth, could begin 2011, with an attempt to coordinate a Global General strike. A strike for peace and equality, in which workers refuse to work until everyone on earth is guaranteed equal social rights to shelter, food, and medicine. In the century of globalized capital, only a globalized citizens movement can effectively ward-off the ruthless attacks coming from the capitalist class. One does not need to be a Marxist in order to understand this, reading the day’s headlines of any mainstream newspaper clearly reveals the ruthless game being played by those running our capitalist economies.   
Removing Our Money from the Banks
Another action that could proof useful in 2011 would be for those interested in real change to undergo a coordinated action of removing their money from banks. During the current global financial crisis it has become blatantly clear to what extent our money in the bank is serving to finance our own material and moral impoverishment. Why would we be interested in continuing to finance our own demise?
Refusal to Pay Taxes
The next action, which I would suggest, would be a globally coordinated effort to encourage citizens to stop paying the proportion of their taxes used for financing military ventures. Contrary to what we are led to believe, there is no such thing as a benevolent army, soldiers are trained to kill, and that is what they are doing around the world on a daily basis. Let us stop it if we really want change.  
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 3 of 470


Top 123