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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The opening of Gaza’s border crossings: The devil is in the details

A truck loaded with goods drives after entering the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing on August 28, 2014 in Rafah in the southern Gaza. (Photo: AFP-Said Khatib)
Published Monday, September 1, 2014
The ceasefire negotiations that took place in Cairo have not yielded any substantial results for the Palestinians living in Gaza. Up until now, they have not felt any positive changes except that fishermen are able to sail up to six nautical miles, and farmers are starting to return to their now destroyed lands.

As the people of Gaza have their eyes fixed on the six crossings linking the Strip to the occupied territories (some of them had been previously closed), awaiting merchandise and aid to come through, they place great importance on the reopening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
Within the framework of the agreement reached in Cairo, the “Palestinian-Egyptian crossing,” as Egypt likes to call it, was excluded from the negotiations which only focused on crossings linking the Strip to the occupied territories. Meanwhile, local security sources have reported a steady increase in the amount of goods entering Gaza through the crossings with Israel.
Contrary to the 2012 agreement, which allowed the Rafah crossing to be opened without the presence of the Palestinian Authority, Cairo has insisted this time that it will not open the crossing completely and will not allow it to function normally until it receives an official notification by the Palestinian Authority ensuring that it will be present on the crossing and along the borders with Egypt.
Palestinian factions taking part in these negotiations have not rejected this condition; they agreed that all crossings with the occupation are to be put under the control of the consensus government. In the meantime, the Ministry of the Interior of the former Gaza government said the crossing “has been functioning under emergency rules since the second half of the war” and that only individuals fitting certain criteria are allowed to cross into Egypt, including people holding foreign passports, the wounded and those holding residency permits, adding that “only 300 to 350 people are allowed to exit per day.”
Hamas political bureau member Moussa Abu Marzouk assured that his faction does not oppose allowing the consensus government to oversee the implementation of the agreement reached in Cairo “including the issues of the port and airport.”
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Abu Marzouk welcomed the return of the presidential guards who were the old employees at the crossing, but refused the dismissal of current employees or “considering them illegitimate.”
Meanwhile, details about the functioning of the crossings with Israel and the type of materials allowed to pass through them have yet to be fully decided on, especially since building materials, crucial for the reconstruction process, have not been allowed in.
Even at the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing located in northern Gaza which is devoted for the passage of individuals, there have been no signs about specific measures that would permit people to cross into the West Bank.
However, some crossings may not be operational, including the Carny crossing in eastern Gaza, which Israel shut down in 2011 and transferred most of its equipment to the Karm Abu Salem crossing. The latter became “a focus point,” since it is well-equipped for commerce.
In addition, the Shujayeh (Nahal Oz) crossing in the east of the Strip was closed down then completely removed in 2010, although it had ground tanks to transport oil derivatives (fuel, diesel and gas), while the Sofa crossing in southern Gaza was turned into a barren desert. It had been used before the siege to transport construction materials and continued to be used early on during the siege to transport merchandise, but it was later shut down completely.
Karm Abu Salem crossing has a maximum capacity to receive 450 trucks a day while the Gaza Strip needs a total of 1,000 trucks every day of the year without any interruptions. Today, the crossing is not working in full capacity, allowing only about 320 trucks to pass through each day. It is opened five to six days a week, except on Israeli holidays, depending on security conditions.

According to the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, the crossing closed down for 130 days in 2014, which means it was not operational for 35 per cent of the year.
Abu Marzouk said the agreement stipulated that the five crossings with Israel are to be opened and that the “volume of goods going through them will increase to at least the same volume entering the West Bank, while Palestinians are to choose the goods they need.”
“The agreement explicitly stipulated that the occupation does not get to control Palestinian needs and that it is our right to bring in basic and heavy materials needed for Gaza’s factories.”
Meanwhile, Al-Akhbar learnt that the Palestinian delegation did not go through the details about the five crossings, whether opened or closed. It postponed the topic until the resumption of the Cairo negotiations in a few days in order to clarify the details before reaching a final agreement within a month, as scheduled.
Other sources confirmed that former Vice Prime Minister Ziad Zaza accompanied the delegation in his capacity as an economic expert to discuss this issue, and to present his vision about the way to deal with economic matters in the framework of the agreement.

Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Zaza revealed that the current agreement is not very different from the one signed in Cairo back in 2012 “regarding the opening of the crossings and facilitating the passage of people and goods,” but he did not elaborate on the details concerning the implementation mechanism.
For his part, Abu Marzouk stressed that the agreement explicitly stipulates lifting the siege completely and opening all crossings. “We are waiting for the details,” he said.
It seems that the delegation gave a top priority to the issue of the sea passage that the Palestinian side has been insisting on it even before the end of the war, in order to disengage with both Israel and Egypt. This endeavor is still in progress and all actions were taken under this ceiling. This is why the negotiations have not yet gone deep into the details about the crossings.
Before the war, the unemployment rate in Gaza was estimated at 45 per cent (over 200,000 people) with over 700,000 citizens losing their daily source of income, which represents over a third of Gaza’s residents according to statistics by the Chamber of Commerce.
Sources in the chamber told Al-Akhbar they expect the unemployment rate to rise to 55 percent, due to the widespread destruction and the slow work at the crossings.
Maher al-Tabba’a, a Palestinian economic expert, urged awareness of the goods that the occupation continues to ban.
“Previously some (goods) were seized and destroyed under the pretext that they did not meet Israeli criteria, causing huge losses for Palestinian merchants,” he said.
In an interview with Al-Akhbar, Tabba’a called on Palestinian negotiators to insist on “abolishing the list of materials barred from entering Gaza under the pretext that they are of dual use, and covers over 100 types of goods.”
He said the Netherlands already funded a scanner to be sent to the Karm Abu Salem crossing to accelerate the work flow and to allow goods to pass through in containers. He also called to allow heavy and construction materials into the Strip at once, in addition to electronics that need a lot of time to get necessary authorization.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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israel, A nation of hate

Undeniably, Jews in Europe were dehumanised, repressed and then gassed in the millions -an experience Zionists purport to have shaped the psyche of Jews.
Yet this horrible experience was wasted as most Jews learned very little from it.
The nation that sprouted out of hatred towards Jews was founded on the premise of doing wrong to other people.
To Palestinians, Israel has become a mirror image of what Jews were subjected to in old Europe.
German crowds cheering the slaughter of Jews have been replaced by Israelis cheering the murder of Palestinians by a Jewish army.
Or Yehuda City Council posted a banner calling on Israeli soldiers to “Pound their (Palestinian) mothers and come home safely to yours.”
In Tel Aviv, Israeli Jews celebrated the death of Palestinian children chanting in a pro-war demonstration: “There’s no school tomorrow, there are no children left in Gaza.”
In an article titled “When Genocide Is Permissible”, Israeli journalist Yochanan Gordon argued that genocide was permissible for political leaders to achieve “responsible goals”.
In other words, Gordon proposes “the final solution” for Gaza instead of the current Israeli policy of “mowing the lawn”.
This is the real Israel not shown by Western media.
It is a culture that has consistently rejected co-existence with non-Jews, even outside the occupied territories.
Earlier this month, the Jewish organisation Lehava called for a public demonstration in Jaffa to protest a wedding between a Jewish woman and a Palestinian Israeli citizen.
Hundreds of Jews surrounded the wedding hall chanting “death to the Arabs”.
The union between two Israeli citizens was described by Michael Ben-Ari, former Israeli legislator, as “worse than what Hitler did”.
The bride’s father declared: “My problem with him (the groom) is that he is an Arab.”
It should be noted that Israeli cultural racism is not ephemeral or symptomatic of recent debates reflecting high emotional tensions during war times.
A new book Scenes From School Life, written by Israelis Idan Yaron and Yoram Harpaz, is based on three-year “anthropological observations” of students in a secular high school – “the most average school we could find,” said Harpaz.
A 10th grade female student in the study expressed revulsion towards “these Ishmaelites”, referring to the original Palestinians who are supposedly Israeli citizens.
“For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand… I’m ready to kill someone with my hands,” she said.
The Israeli researchers quoted another student who learned from his synagogue on Shabbat that: “Aravim zeh erev rav (Arabs are a rabble) and Amalek, and there is a commandment to kill them all.”
The professors observed that a Jewish student in the ninth grade objected to her classmates’ opinion, stating: “The desire for revenge will only foment a cycle of blood… certainly they (Palestinians) don’t all deserve to die.”
As a result, the pupil was tormented and accused of being an “Arab lover and leftist”.
During the break, students taunted her chanting: “Fie, fie, fie, the Arabs will die.”
Racism in Israel is not an exception, but the social norm.
This was validated in a recent poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, which showed that 95 per cent of Israeli Jews were fully behind their army’s genocidal campaign in Gaza.
Zionists supported by apocalyptic Christians must stop using their European-imported, psychosomatic insecurity to justify oppression of other humans

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ISIS is America’s New Terror Brand: Endless Propaganda Fuels “War on Terror”

Global Research, September 01, 2014

In the wake of World War I, erstwhile propagandist and political scientist Harold Lasswell famously defined propaganda as “the management of collective attitudes” and the “control over opinion” through “the manipulation of significant symbols.”[1] The extent to which this tradition is enthusiastically upheld in the West and the United States in particular is remarkable.
The American public is consistently propagandized by its government and corporate news media on the most vital of contemporary issues and events.
Deception on such a scale would be of little consequence if the US were not the most powerful economic and military force on earth.Spread_Caliphate
[Image Credit: Vice News]
A case in point is the hysteria Western news media are attempting to create concerning the threat posed by the mercenary-terrorist army now being promoted as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or “ISIS.”
As was the case with the US intelligence asset and bogey publicized as “Al Qaeda,” and Al Qaeda’s Syrian adjunct, “Al Nusra,” such entities are—apparently by design—inadequately investigated and defined by major news media. Absent meaningful historical context they usefully serve as another raison d’ểtre for America’s terminal “War on Terror.”
A seemingly obvious feature of such terrorist forces left unexamined by corporate media is that they are observably comprised of the same or comparable personnel unleashed elsewhere throughout the Middle East as part of a strategy proposed during the George W. Bush administration in 2007.[2]
With the above observations in mind, ISIS is well-financed, militarily proficient, and equipped with modern vehicles and weaponry. It also exhibits an uncanny degree of media savvy in terms of propagating its message in professional-looking videos and on platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. “Western intelligence services,” the New York Times reports, claim to be “worried about their extraordinary command of seemingly less lethal weapons: state-of-the-art videos, ground images shot from drones, and multilingual Twitter messages.”[3]
Along these lines, ISIS even received a largely sympathetic portrayal in a five-part series produced and aired by the Rupert Murdoch-backed Vice News.[4] Indeed, Vice News’ “The Spread of the Caliphate” is reminiscent of the public relations-style reportage produced via the “embedding” of corporate news media personnel with US and allied forces during the 2003 conquest of Iraq.
The overt support of ISIS, combined with the fact that it is battling the same Syrian government the Obama administration overtly sought to wage war against just one year ago, strongly suggest the organization’s sponsorship by Western intelligence and military interests.
ISIS’s curious features are readily apparent to non-Western news outlets and citizenries. For example, Iran’s PressTV recently asked its readership, “Why does the ISIL have such easy access to Twitter, Youtube and other social media to propagate its ideologies?” The answer choices are, “1) Because the ISIL has very capable technicians who can best use social media, or 2) Because the US and Britain have provided the ISIL with unrestricted social media platform[s].” Note that the first choice is the overarching assumption of Western media outlets. Yet perhaps unsurprisingly, 90 percent of PressTV readers selected choice two.[5]
No such queries are so much as alluded to by major corporate media, all of which are united in the notion that ISIS is an essentially indigenous phenomenon. Yet as coverage of the events of September 11, 2001 and subsequent state-sponsored terrorism indicates, such media are essentially a component of the national security state, their reports and broadcast scripts all but overtly written by intelligence and military organizations.
In the wake of 9/11 US news media seldom asked about the origins of Al Qaeda—particularly how it was a product of US intelligence agencies. With the history of Al Qaeda omitted, the Bush administration was permitted to wage war on Afghanistan almost immediately following those staged attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Yet as is much the case with today’s manufactured ISIS phenomenon, that history was readily available, and its careful public examination might have implicated the United States intelligence community in the 9/11 attacks. “During the Cold War, but also in its aftermath,” Michel Chossudovsky observes,
the CIA—using Pakistan’s military intelligence apparatus as a “go between”—played a key role in training the Mujhadeen. In turn, the CIA-sponsored guerrilla training was integrated with the teachings of Islam. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have consistently supported the “Militant Islamic Base”, including Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, as part of their foreign policy agenda. The links between Osama bin Laden and the Clinton administration in Bosnia and Kosovo are well documented by congressional records.[6]
As the United States and world approach the thirteenth anniversary of the most momentous false flag in modern history, the American public would be well-served to remind itself that ISIS is the new Al Qaeda—in other words, the new pretext that will in all likelihood be used by to take police state measures at home and military aggression abroad to new, perhaps unprecedented, levels.
With the above in mind, it is telling that one of the US government’s greatest fears isn’t ISIS at all. “The FBI’s most recent threat assessment for domestic terrorism makes no reference to Islamist terror threats,” the Washington Free Beacon reports, “despite last year’s Boston Marathon bombing and the 2009 Fort Hood shooting—both carried out by radical Muslim Americans.”
Instead, the nation’s foremost law enforcement agency is preoccupied with what it deems “domestic extremism” exhibited by its own subjects.[7] A primary manifestation of such “extremism” is possessing the curiosity to discern and seek out truths and information amidst the barrage of manipulated symbols the government and corporate-controlled media use to undermine a potentially informed public.
[1] Harold Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War, Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1927/1971.
[2] Seymour Hersh, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s New Policy Benefitting Our Enemies in the War on Terrorism?” New Yorker, March 5, 2007; Tony Cartalucci, “Extremists Ravaging Syria Created by US in 2007,” Land Destroyer Report, May 11, 2012.
[3] Scott Shane and Ben Hubbard, “ISIS Displaying a Deft Command of Varied Media,” New York Times, August 30, 2014.
[4] Joe Bercovici, “Thanks to Rupert Murdoch, Vice is Worth $1.4 Billion. Could it be in Play Soon?” Forbes, August 19, 2014; Medyan Dairieh, “The Spread of the Caliphate: The Islamic State,” Vice News, August 13, 2014.
[5] PressTV Poll,, retrieved on August 30, 2014.
[6] Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism” Second Edition, Montreal CA: Global Research, 2005, 4.
[7] Bill Gertz, “FBI National Domestic Threat Assessment Omits Islamist Terrorism,” Washington Free Beacon, August 29, 2014.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

For a media charter that shuns sectarian incitement

The flag used by ISIS. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)
Published Monday, September 1, 2014
The Lebanese justice minister suddenly found out about a group of young people who burned the flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He seemed unaware that the spontaneous act, which jolted him out of bed, took place weeks ago and not "yesterday." The incident happened as the Lebanese who still had some respect for their state and belief in its institutions were reacting to the shameful tragedy of Ersal. However, Ashraf Rifi's relationship with time is neither linear nor chronological. It is philosophical and metaphysical. Like all these so called noblemen who do not retire, he is a man of principles.

As his excellency is not busy these days, he decided to have some fun and entertain his fellow citizens or incite them, to be more precise. "Arrest those vandals and desecrators and take them to court," one might imagine him screaming, like any devout patriot, whose faith and sentiments were wounded.
Like his confusion over the date and aim of the protest in Sassine Square, General Tartuffe also forgot that God's words are in the heart and mind, in our intentions and conscience, and in words and deeds, not on a piece of cloth representing a terrorist organization threatening to swallow the Levant. That is, unless there is an effort and will to eradicate it like the plague. The general's “blunder,” however, is a strategic detail, only understood by the neighborhood commanders [in reference to the militants in Tripoli].
احتجاجات أمام وزارة العدل على طلب الوزير أشرف ريفي ملاحقة محرقي راية «داعش» في الأشرفية قبل 3 أسابيع (هيثم الموسوي)
The important thing was that he initiated a debate in metaphysics: is the burning of a rag a crime in Rifi's law, just because it contained words referring to religion and faith? This is pagan logic and not faith. But what is more important is that the protest took place in Achrafieh, meaning that these young people were “Nazarene.” What a travesty, “Nazarenes” burning Islamic symbols.
This is how a man of the state stirred the sectarian cesspool, just like his comrade in the enlightened futuristic moderate movement did on Sunday. "You are closer to me than Wilayat al-Faqih [in reference to the Shia custodianship]," the distinguished Arab liberal Fouad Siniora told the audience of a conference a few steps from Sassine Square. For those who are unaware of the new intellectual standards of the ISIS era, this is called political moderation.
Before General Rifi indulges in an another obscure case, this time related to burning crosses (even sectarian incitement is based on parity), he should be thanked for unsettling the stagnant intellectual atmosphere. Child prodigy Nadim Gemayel denounced the burning, which does not befit "the character of the people of Achrafieh." The champion of freedom Ibrahim Kanaan decided to put on the cloak of Danton announcing: I will defend the "heroes" of Sassine Square.
In short, the political bazaar functions at the expense of national unity and civil peace, with a malicious attempt to link terrorists with a certain section of the Lebanese people. The Lebanese are helpless, aren't they? The murderers of the Wahhabi era were not late in entering the game and turning the question of the hostages into a confessional issue. Why not, as long as the idiotic political life in Lebanon allows it? Didn't you listen to the spokesperson of the "new Lebanon" Monsieur Mustafa Houjairy announcing that releasing "the Christian hostages was delayed" because of the burnt flag in Sassine. Did you see? Either the visionary general was right or it was completely coordinated between brothers in arms.

The thorny question remains, where was the Lebanese media in all of this? How could it do its work in a minefield, without becoming an organ for a cheap agitator or a mailbox for a criminal organization? On August 3, when Al-Jadeed television channel interrupted the broadcast of a press conference by three MPs promoting sedition, we clapped with all our strength. We said the media should – and is obliged to – choose what it wants to present and how it wants to present it. Hopefully, this courageous and responsible position will become the rule in all thoughtful and serious media in Lebanon at this difficult time. Isn't it possible to choose the events that should be broadcast and the form in which they are presented, in a critical manner, and from a distance when necessary?
Unfortunately, the major role of the media today is playing the game of alarmism, whether out of professional integrity or for reasons of politics and populist incitement. It exaggerates incidents, positions, and statements, promoting fear, terror, isolation, and intolerance. Against its will – if we exclude platforms whose sole purpose seems to be promoting sedition, violence, intolerance, and degeneration, it is transformed into an objective ally of the black locusts menacing our region.
There are violent images and videos we do not want to see. Not broadcasting them will not change anything in the citizens’ awareness and right to know and access information. Promotional or seditious messages by terrorists should be thrown in the trash or given minimum attention, without fanfare, elaboration, or leading with them, with the necessary antibiotics. Talk shows are full of political favoritism, collusion with politicians, and suspicious behaviour, instead of debate, which brings disgrace to all journalists. There are also field investigations we could do without, since they contribute to the sectarian atmosphere, tensions, fear, and ISIS propaganda.
The farce of Abu Ibrahim was a small obstacle whose lessons should be solemnly learnt. This time, we are facing a new type of existential threat. It will determine our existence and freedoms for generations to come. It is time – instead of the folkloric united broadcasts – to commit ourselves and each other with a minimum of standards, which could protect stability and everyone in this country. It is time to establish an ethical and professionally binding charter, rejecting all types of sectarian incitement and indicating how to deal with terrorism and terrorists. Those who do not abide by it should be treated as an extension of the degenerate project working to drown us in a long and lasting night.
Pierre Abi Saab is the vice-editor of Al-Akhbar, follow Pierre on Twitter: @PierreABISAAB
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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The USA’s NATO pushing Europe closer to a nuclear war

published by Tom Sullivan on Sun, 2014-08-31
The imperialist powers are intensifying their confrontation with Russia in the run-up to today’s European Union (EU) meeting and next week’s NATO summit in Wales. The escalation, which is being driven by Washington and Berlin, is increasing the danger of a military conflict between NATO and Russia that could result in a nuclear war.
The 28 NATO ambassadors came together briefly on Friday for an emergency meeting in Brussels. “We condemn in the strongest terms the fact that Russia is continuing to ignore its international obligations,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “We are pushing Russia to halt its illegal military action, end its support for armed separatists, and undertake immediate and verifiable steps to deescalate this serious crisis,” he declared.
In fact, the entire meeting confirmed that NATO’s policy is not “deescalation,” but escalation, and that in the Ukraine conflict, it is not Putin who is the aggressor, but the Western powers.
Rasmussen, along with the government heads of all of the NATO countries, conveniently overlooks the fact that Berlin and Washington triggered the crisis by organizing a coup in close collaboration with fascist forces against the pro-Russian Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych. Now they are working closely with the puppet regime they installed, led by the billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko, to brutally crush a separatist insurgency in Russian-speaking parts of eastern Ukraine as the first step in militarily encircling Russia and reducing it to a neo-colonial status.
Ukraine’s NATO ambassador and chief of the NATO-Ukraine commission, Igor Dolgov, used Friday’s meeting to demand weapons to prosecute the war in eastern Ukraine. “What we need is more aid, including military,” he said.
Rasmussen went a step further, suggesting that Ukrainian membership in NATO was a possibility. “Allow me to recall the decision reached by NATO in 2008, according to which Ukraine will become a member,” he stated, and added cynically, “Every country has the right to make decisions independently and without external influence.”
Just prior to the meeting, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for Ukraine to move toward NATO membership. At a cabinet meeting, he announced that his government planned to end the country’s non-aligned status and begin the process of applying for entry into NATO. He added that membership in the European Union was also a goal.
The moves toward Ukrainian membership in NATO underscore the fact that next week’s NATO summit is aimed at preparing for a possible war against Russia. Rasmussen told the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung this week that the summit would strengthen NATO’s provisions for collective defense, authorize a further build-up of NATO troops in Eastern Europe, and mandate an increase in the minimum level of member states’ defense budgets.
“In the future, you will see a greater NATO presence in the east,” he said. “Every potential aggressor must know that if they even think of attacking a NATO member, they will have to contend with soldiers not only from the affected country, but with NATO troops.”
Ukrainian membership in NATO would put a direct conflict with Russia on the order of the day. According to Article Five of the NATO charter, collective defense is triggered when a member state is attacked by another country.
Rasmussen on Friday repeated the alliance’s claims that thousands of Russian soldiers had intervened in Ukraine. The previous day, Brigadier General Nico Tak, head of the crisis operation center in Mons, Belgium, had shown satellite photos allegedly proving that Russia was directly intervening militarily in Ukraine.
Russia once again rejected the allegations. “This is not the first time we have heard such speculations,” said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “But the US has never proven them with facts.”
The satellite pictures were not proof, but “only computer games,” he declared. He added that the Kiev government was nervous due to recent military successes by the separatists. “That’s why there are claims now about a Russian invasion.” He reiterated Moscow’s call for an immediate ceasefire in the east of Ukraine.
Russia is desperately seeking a deal with the West, but all signs point to an escalation by Berlin and Washington. On Thursday, it was apparent that US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had agreed in a telephone conversation on a harder line towards Russia. German government spokesman Stefan Seibert said after the discussion that the two had agreed Russia’s behavior could not continue without consequences.
On Friday, the German government spoke for the first time of a Russian intervention in Ukraine. Seibert claimed that considerable evidence had emerged of the presence of Russian soldiers and weapons.
This weekend’s EU emergency summit in Brussels is set to discuss further sanctions against Russia.
Germany is already leading the build-up of NATO forces in Eastern Europe. On Thursday, four German Euro Fighter jets were moved to the Ämeri airbase in Estonia. The same squadron had previously agreed to provide 100 soldiers for NATO missions.
As German soldiers were being moved into Eastern Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin compared the actions of the Ukrainian army against cities in eastern Ukraine with the siege of Leningrad by the Nazi Wehrmacht. Putin told Interfax, “Their tactics remind me of the fascist German soldiers in the Soviet Union in the Second World War. Major cities were besieged and destroyed by deliberate fire, along with residents.”
The German media, which has been churning out anti-Russian war propaganda for months, sought to dismiss Putin’s statement as a “dubious historical comparison” ( Spiegel Online ). But some of their own journalists on the spot in eastern Ukraine express horror over the crimes of the Ukrainian army.
Wolfgang Bauer, a reporter for Die Zeit, wrote in the newspaper’s latest edition of the siege of Donetsk, a city of over one million residents. Under the headline “In the midst of the battle,” he said: “The Ukrainian army has been firing heavy artillery into Donetsk for days. The morning after we arrived, two men died at a tram stop in the city center. A 14-year-old boy who wanted to visit his friends, and an older mine worker. Splinters of bone and blood covered the tarmac.
“People in Donetsk are dying when they cross the street to go shopping, when they sit on the park bench, or they die while having breakfast in the kitchen. The Ukrainian army is obviously trying to hit military targets with their heavy artillery, based on the grounds of the airport in the north of the city. But they are always missing them when they shoot with their thirty-year-old cannons.”
The imperialist powers are prepared not only to stoke up the devastating war in eastern Ukraine, they are utilizing the crisis which they themselves provoked to secure their geo-strategic and economic interests against nuclear-armed Russia. The enthusiastic pro-war commentary in the Western media makes clear how far they are prepared to go, and where it could lead.
The Austrian correspondent for the London-based business publications Financial Times and Economist, Eric Frey, wrote in an article in the Vienna-based Der Standard under the headline “The West must stop Putin:”
“Negotiations with Putin are currently pointless, because he lies in the face of every negotiating partner. He must somehow be made aware that he has miscalculated, that the West will not accept this aggression. Only then is there a possibility to talk. This will probably only take place with a further intensification of the sanctions, including the breaking off of all economic relations with Moscow, as well as direct military aid to Kiev. Weapons exports, the stationing of NATO troops in Ukraine, and even US air strikes against separatist positions and Russian supply lines: all of these options should be on the table at present.”
Frey knows that his “options,” which doubtless reflect plans that are being readied behind the scenes by NATO and the Western powers, could provoke a nuclear world war.
He wrote: “It is highly risky, because Putin is not the type to back down easily. The growing war danger threatens the already weak economy in Europe, the bloodletting in eastern Ukraine will not come to an end, and the streams of refugees will grow. And at the end of this process of escalation, a confrontation between two nuclear powers threatens. Almost all major wars were the result of miscalculations, at least on one side. This could also be the outcome this time.”
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GA: this is a superb video summary of my work on Jewish ID politics and my criticism of Jewish 'left.'

My name is Cara St.Louis and this is my show. Conversations with some of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. You will be seeing it as an acquisition elsewhere later. Please feel free to share. I bring you World Class Illustrator and Writer, Bridget Marzot and World-Renowned Jazz Artist and philosopher, Gilad Atzmon.

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Jarrar from Exile: “We must adhere to resistance as a way of life”

August 30, 2014

khalida-order“The resistance and steadfastness in Gaza has been crowned with victory after 51 days of war, in which the resistance fought heroically and made great sacrifices in defense of the land and people…and all Palestinians salute this victory achieved by the resistance,” said Comrade Khalida Jarrar from the tent of solidarity where she has remained since the occupation military courts ordered her expelled to Jericho.
“The celebrations on the occasion of victory and the joy of the people throughout the West Bank and Gaza are a testament to the people rallying around the option of resistance, for the Liberation of Palestine,” said Jarrar.
Jarrar spoke at a forum organized by the youth committee of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees in the solidarity tent featuring Jarrar and Sahar Francis, the Executive Director of Addameer, as well as a musical performance.
Jarrar noted that in relation to her own case, it is not primarily a legal issue but a political issue. She noted “several issues and reasons for the decision of the occupation,” noting a progressive escalation of repression by the occupation in al-Khalil, Jerusalem, and the attacks after the heinous murder of the child martyr Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the massive and barbaric aggression on Gaza, the escalation of settlement-building, the attacks on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the mass arrests and exorbitant fines in Jerusalem, and the mass arrests in occupied Palestine ’48, the escalation of administrative detention, the arrests of a number of PLC members and released prisoners, and this expulsion order.
“This escalation reflects the state of crisis which hit the leaders of the enemy as a result of the growing mass rejection of their criminal policies in all areas of Palestine, which foreshadowed the transformation of this rejection into a new intifada,” Jarrar said. “They are trying to impose a new policy against Palestinians and Palestinian leaders, based on arbitrary orders, including this expulsion order. They possibly believed that they would be able to implement this policy easily, but we refuse to sign and refuse to implement and will resist the occupation and all of its orders, and we will remain until we remove the occupation from our entire land of Palestine.”
She noted that the policy of expelling people from so-called “Area A” to “Area A,” which are supposed to be under Palestinian sovereignty, clearly indicates the intention of the occupation in relation to their agreements with the Palestinian Authority. She also noted that the occupation seeks to annex the so-called “Area C,” where they are escalating the confiscation of land, constructing roads and settlements, and demolishing Palestinian homes.
“Following the victory in Gaza, it is now important to build on the massive popular support for the resistance among the people and political forces in the West Bank and Occupied Palestine ’48 to build the popular rejection to the occupier, working closely with the reconstruction of Gaza and supporting the resistance,” said Jarrar.
“The development of the popular struggle toward Intifada is a first priority, which we should work for very seriously,” said Jarrar. “The occupation’s continuing and escalating policies of brutality only accelerate the growing popular rejection….It is true that the objective factors are mature, but the subjective factor is not yet so. At the same time, the popular rejection of the occupation’s attacks provides the best environment to advance the subjective factor, through, first, the exercise of our rights as an occupied people to struggle in all forms, including armed struggle. We must adhere strongly to resistance as a way of life, just as we escalate mass struggle, for example, the boycott campaign, which is very important not only from the angle of the losses incurred by the enemy at all levels, but also from the angle of boycott as a popular choice and a way of life. Secondly, through the consolidation of national unity as a program. We can disagree with one another, but no people has triumphed without a broad national front based on a broad resistance program that unites all the forces and people under the banner of resistance until victory and the defeat of the occupation. The battle of the resistance in Gaza embodies this fact, and we must emulate and develop upon that. We must also develop a deeper understanding of national unity, which must begin at a popular, mass level, up to the formation of a unified national leadership…that can reorganize the framework of the PLO and rectify its policies and positions on the basis of a unified national resistance program,” Jarrar said.
“We must also link interim programs to our strategic objectives, first by strongly adhering to and organizing around the right of return. In this context, we can mobilize Palestinians inside occupied Palestine ’48, particularly in the face of growing and open Zionist racism. The mass popular movement there is the foundation for something much bigger. The youth initiatives, such as the initiative to return to the villages from which people were displaced, must also not be underestimated,” said Jarrar. Speaking to the youth organizers, she said, “you are propelling the future of our people’s movement. Take the initiative, and take leadership – do not wait for me or anyone to give you this right. You are the future of the people.”
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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