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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Russian Spies are "Goldbugs" Who May be Plotting to "Destroy the Value of the U.S. Dollar"

Report: Russian Spies are "Goldbugs" Who May be Plotting to "Destroy the Value of the U.S. Dollar"

Russian Spies Story Attempts to Scapegoat Russia for the Dollar's Collapse
Chris M. | InformationLiberation

In what can only be described as a laughable piece of propaganda, CNN/Fortune is reporting the recently caught Russian spies are actually "Goldbugs" who may be secretly plotting to "destroy the value of the American dollar." That the US dollar has been collapsing in value for the last 100 years due to the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies is somehow conveniently missed. Instead, Russia is gearing up some Soviet style espionage plot to destroy the dollar by instituting a "new global currency" backed by gold. Again, that the Russian government itself benefits heavily from having its own inflationary fiat central bank is also somehow conveniently missed.

What is not missed is the basic message: People who own gold are on the side of the enemies plotting to bring down the value of our dollar!

From Russian 'spies,' goldbugs and the struggling dollar:

When federal officials arrested 11 alleged Russian spies yesterday, it seemed natural that the accused agents would be interested in the CIA leadership, the Obama administration and Afghanistan. But who knew that they were goldbugs?

James G. Rickards, senior director for market intelligence at Omnis, pointed us to the fact that the FBI complaint mentions that the global gold market was one of the key sources of interest of the Russian Federation and its intelligence agency, SVR.

"On a number of occasions, the SVR specifically indicated that information collected and conveyed by the New Jersey conspirators was especially valuable. Thus, for example, during the summer and fall of 2009, Cynthia Murphy, the defendant, using contacts she had met in New York, conveyed a number of reports to [Moscow] Center about prospects for the global gold market."


Murphy's alleged tips about the gold market must have been quite powerful. It's impossible to tell how they influenced Russian economic policy or thinking, but we can look at some of Russia's moves at the time and notice some striking trends that show that Russia dramatically reversed its stance on gold in late 2009.

Before October 2009, Russia had been planning to sell nearly 25 tons of gold into the market. In November 2009, however, one month after Murphy's alleged report to the SVR about gold, Russia started stocking up on the precious metal. In November 2009, Russia's central bank bought more than $1 billion of gold from the foreign exchange market in order to better control the price of the ruble, central bank deputy chairman Alexey Ulyukayev told Reuters at the time. Russia also said at the time that it might buy gold from the state repository, Gokhran.

Critics at the time noted that Russia's move into gold could be interpreted as a manifestation of disappointment with the U.S. dollar and U.S. economic policy under Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke; partly, this was because, as Russia was buying gold it also stopped buying U.S. agency mortgage bonds, the Fannie and Freddie bonds that packed over half of the Fed's balance sheet.

Of course, it's difficult to impute this shift solely to Russia (or Murphy's market tips). Yes, as of this year, the Russian central bank was still buying gold, loading up on 26.6 tons in the most recent quarter, bringing its holdings to over 668 tons. But Russia is hardly an outlier. The central banks of several countries have been loading up on the precious metal, including China, Venezuela and India, which on its own bought 200 tons in November 2009.

The problem with all the gold buying, of course, is that it often reads as a global central bank reproach to several currencies, but particularly toward our troubled U.S. dollar. As the World Gold Council wrote in a February report on gold, currencies and the money supply, "gold exhibits a strong negative correlation to the dollar."

This is where central bank currency moves could get sinister. Rickards wrote a paper, "Economics and Financial Attacks," and created an imaginary Pentagon war game describing a crisis situation in which Russia used its gold reserves to create a new global currency and destroy the value of the American dollar. In the May 2009 paper, Rickards suggested that U.S. intelligence agencies would do well to track the gold reserves of other countries -- just in case.
This story is absolutely fascinating for several reasons. First, everyone who is anyone owns gold and knows it's a much better investment than the fiat dollar. It involves no "espionage plots" to realize the value of the dollar is going to keep going down, as it's done for almost 100 years straight, as a result of the government printing up record amounts of money. It's simple math, putting more currency in circulation devalues the value of the currency already in existence. No plot required, no espionage or "contacts in New York" needed. All you need is common sense and basic math. That this is glossed over as though it's not the *real* reason for Russia's actions should tell you all you need to know.

Second, what is so significant about this report is it's scapegoating Russia ( or China if you read the full report (.pdf) ) for the practically inevitable demise of the US dollar. The demise for which the Federal Reserve is solely to blame. Not only does this serve to keep the Federal Reserve from facing the repercussions of its inflationary policies, but it serves to inflame the American people into thinking Russia and China are secretly plotting to destroy us, it sets the stage for World War Three.

In the past, similar propaganda was put out saying how North Korea was counterfeiting masses of US dollars. No conclusive proof was ever shown and yet similarly the news at the time tried to suggest any inflation the US was experiencing, or was going to experience, may be due to North Korea! That the Federal Reserve can print endless reams of counterfeit money, and does every single day, is considered completely irrelevant.

The value of the dollar is going to collapse thanks to the policies of the Federal Reserve, a gold standard or quasi-gold standard is extremely likely to make a comeback after the markets finally adjust, already the price of gold skyrocketing to highs of $1265, from just $200 or so a decade ago, shows this is taking place. The trend is all but guaranteed to continue as the Federal Reserve has shown no indication it at all seeks to reverse its policies and skyrocket interest rates to shore up the dollar. Instead, everything they're doing indicates they're going to print themselves into oblivion.

It's clear with articles like this one they are indeed going to continue as they are, yet they will attempt to scapegoat Russia or China when hyperinflation finally kicks in. Additionally, they will act as though gold is some evil communist subversive force seeking to bring America down. Look for more stories like this to come in the future. If people actually believe this propaganda we are in for a wild ride. - InformationLiberation

Touching Left, Islam, Israeli Lobby, Chomsky and Many other Hot Topics

Discussion with Gilad Atzmon by Miriam Cotton
Introduction by Miriam Cotton

Gilad Atzmon is a world renowned saxophonist and musician with a deep political passion for humanist issues and concern for the fate of the Palestinian people. He has written extensively about the issue and been published widely. As a self-exiled, former Jewish Israeli and IDF soldier, Atzmon’s perspective within the raging public discourse on Palestine is relatively unique.

His views are bitterly opposed by some among anti-Zionist Jewish groups, who accuse him of anti-Semitism and of being a ‘self-hater’.

Atzmon fiercely resists the charge of anti-Semitism and insists that he is concerned with a proper and thorough examination of the ideology of what it is to be Jewish – in particular about how the notion of the Jews as ‘a chosen people’ has led, as he sees it, inexorably to the rise of Zionism and its present disproportionate influence on world affairs.

Atzmon also takes issue with the Western Left which he believes has failed either to recognize the true extent of Zionist influence (he singles Noam Chomsky out for criticism) and of not understanding how western Marxist/socialist ideologies are incompatible with Islamic societies and therefore can be of no use to them. These and other issues are discussed with him below. There are many things in what Atzmon says below that beg further question and comment but hopefully the exchange has served to illustrate his interpretation of the Palestinian situation and to provide an insight on a less frequently aired or understood perspective.
Miriam Cotton

MediaBite (Ireland)
June 21st 2010

MC: Following the murder and kidnap of unarmed aid activists in international waters by Israel, General Petraeus has said the situation [in Gaza] is no longer sustainable. Though he was in no sense condemning what Israel had done, do you think there may be a beginning of an end to unconditional US support for Israel?

GA: It is actually the other way around. It is Israel that ditches America. Israeli leadership realises that with America in the background the Jewish state won't be able to pursue its next two lethal plans: Nakaba 2 and dismantling Iranian nuclear capacity. Israel realises that if it wants to maintain its Jews only state as a regional power, it must ethnically cleanse the rest of the Palestinians. Israel is also convinced that its only chance of surviving in the region is if it maintains a nuclear hegemony. The USA makes things difficult for the Jewish State at the moment; it tries to slow Israel down. I believe that it is Israel that is leading the conflict rather than being subject to it.

MC: But surely that assessment overlooks some important factors. Nobody can seriously doubt that the US obsession with the region is entirely to do with oil, gas and geo-strategic matters such as Russian and Chinese proximity to these resources, in particular.

GA: This is a good way to put it. However you may also wonder what American interests are, who defines these interests and who shapes them. As it happens, AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) has been pretty effective in shaping American interests; we also know that the Wolfowitz doctrine made it into Bush’s doctrine. For the last three decades Americans failed to see the clear discrepancy between cheap oil and alliance with Israel. They might start to understand it now.

MC: But the Bush family was/is an oil dynasty too - with ties to as many if not more Arabic vested interests as to the Israelis - there are many more non-AIPAC, US vested interests like these than are in AIPAC. Everything the US has done there since the beginning of its so-called 'war on terror' - and long beforehand - has been aimed at securing the Middle East and about energy and other resources.

GA: This is all true. It is also true that AIPAC won’t necessarily interfere with unrelated political matters unless it involves Zionist, Israeli or Jewish interests. However, the Jewish lobby in America and in the UK has managed to shape the English speaking Empire’s vision of its needs and interests. From an American perspective, instead of admitting that American soldiers were actually sent to fight war for Israel, they were told instead that they were sent to die in the name of moral interventionism and democracy. They were actually told that they were ‘liberating the Iraqi people’. How wonderful! The oil and Israeli interests were presented as side issues. As we know, oil prices didn’t drop after 2003. And yet, Sadam Hussein, the bitterest enemy of Israel was removed. In the long run this plan didn’t work for Israel either. Iran had become the unchallenged Muslim leading power. Inshalah it also becomes a nuclear super power soon. This would obviously deter the Israelis from accomplishing its endless imperial aspirations.

MC: There is no other country in the Middle East in which the US and its allies could position the vast military threat that Israel has been made into if they are to achieve their ambitions for the region. The realisation of Zionist ambitions for Israel was and still is a secondary consideration for the US, despite the relatively powerful Israeli lobby.

GA: I am not so sure at all. I actually think that the Zionist Lobby has managed to destroy the American empire. I argue that the Credit Crunch is in fact a Zio-Punch. I argue that Greenspan created an economy boom to divert attention from Wolfowitz’ wars. The Zionists in fact have managed to bring down every super power they cling to. Britain, France and now America. You have to allow yourself to admit that the ‘War on Terror’ was actually a Zionist led war against Islam, a battle that was there to serve Israeli interests.

MC: Israel has been funded and encouraged to develop a nuclear arsenal of several hundred warheads, while the Iranians who do not even have one, but who control a lot of oil, are deemed to be a threat to world peace. Frankly, in these circumstances the Iranians and others would be justified in thinking they need some means of defending themselves against the only real threat at present- and against those who are in fact being the most provocative as well as doing the vast majority of the killing: US-Israel.

GA: This is indeed a very valid point. From an Iranian perspective, nuclear military capacity is a defensive means. The Iranians are constantly under a nuclear threat and so are the rest of the countries in the region and beyond.

MC: Britain and America don't fight any wars that they don't want to fight - not even justifiable wars, unless there is a percentage in it for them.

GA: Are you sure about this, or is that something we all prefer to believe? As it happens both in Britain and America the political parties are funded heavily by Jewish pro Israeli lobbies. Haim Saban, the multi-billionaire Israeli fund raiser for the American Democratic Party said last year that the best way to influence America is through political funding, the media and think tanks. There you go. Even the vision of ‘American interests’ can be no more than false interests when they have been manipulated into an alignment with what are really Israeli interests. At the end of the day, it is far cheaper to by a western politician than buying a tank. It is far cheaper to recruit a ‘new friend of Israel’ than flying an F15 for one hour.

MC: Israel is essentially a creation of the British and other European powers - and the oil was firmly at the front of their minds even way back then.

GA: This is another myth that people like Chomsky want us to believe in. In fact the Balfour Declaration was there to pull America into the war. It was there to push Jewish German and Russian bankers to change their allegiance from Germany to Britain so they could fund the new American war. Amos Alon presents an embarrassing chapter in Jewish history in his monumental book The Pity of It All. In fact it worked for the British. Two months after the Declaration, America was in the war. This wasn’t about oil. It was another war funded by a Jewish political lobby.

MC: As with many other violent regimes that the US has propped up, the US doesn't care one jot what Israel gets up to with its own people so long as the commercial plan is proceeding towards its goal. The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is just one of the incidental costs that has to be paid to keep the US's bulldog in the region onside. Official US and UK statements after the attack on the aid flotilla were deplorable, with Obama for example declaring the deaths merely 'regrettable'. This was a clear signal to Turkey: do that again and this is what we will give you. Get in line.

GA: America is talking in many voices at the moment. It is confused or may even be lost in terms of foreign policy. Partially because there is a conflict between the American interests and the lobbies that gave the democrats the keys to the white house, namely AIPAC.

MC: US-Israel can no longer get away so easily as it once did with propagandising the Palestinians’ cause as a nation consisting entirely of terrorists nor cover up the increasingly blatant horrors that are being visited on them. What General Petraeus was signaling, it seems, is that a new strategy is needed - one that is less horrifying to world opinion so that they can all get on with business without attracting so much negative attention to the details.

GA: I think that General Petraeus together with his military advisers are realising that America is about to lose its grip in the Arab and Muslim world. At the end of the day, if I need your oil, I had better make friends with you rather than being caught in bed with your biggest enemy.

MC: They obviously didn’t feel that way about Iraq. They have secured what they wanted there so far and next up is Iran. At the same time, it's clear that the US has created a monster, Israel, in the Middle East that will prove much more difficult to rein in than was wanted or even envisaged in some respects.

GA: I agree with most of what you say. However, contemporary liberal democracy decisions are made by elected politicians that are bought by different kinds of ‘friends of Israel’. In America it is AIPAC and major Jewish fund-raisers such as Haim Saban whom I mentioned before, in Britain we had Lord ‘cash machine’ Levy and now the CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel). These pressure groups and individuals are there to suppress ethical reaction within the political system and beyond. However, following the last massacres in Gaza and on the Mavi Marmara, we saw a tidal wave of mass resentment towards Israel and its supportive Jewish lobbies. This is something that could lead eventually towards a cosmic shift also within politics.

MC: A different question - in the Irish version of the Sunday Times on the 6th of June there was an extraordinary article by one of Ireland's foremost journalists, Matt Cooper, which was headlined 'Israel presents a test of diplomatic skills', I kid you not. Cooper begins the piece by acknowledging the atrocity committed by Israel on the Mavi Marmara but subsequently works his way around to recommending what he calls a 'nuanced' way forward that is devoid of morality or of even basic humanity. The murders and all the previous Israeli slaughters that he has just condemned are benched - presumably in the interest of what he calls 'balanced' opinion later on in the same piece. 'Diplomacy' and Ireland’s ‘economic interests’ are invoked so as to finesse the horrific truths of what is really happening to the Palestinians out of the equation or at least into the margins. We are invited to understand the feelings of successive Israeli governments and by implication to compromise with their murderous intransigence after all. He rehearses the same jaded myth that Israel is surrounded by hostility, while ignoring the terror that it has since its incarnation routinely threatened and inflicted on its neighbours and on the Palestinians with all the might of the US military at its disposal - and says nothing at all of the huge cache of nuclear weapons which it has threatened to use against Iran, which has no nuclear weapons.

GA: It is indeed very interesting. Today we learned that Israel insists to probe its own crime. This is maybe the latest phase in Israeli manifested lunacy, arrogance or ignorance. The murderer tells the authorities, it is ok I can look into my own acts, leave it with me. ‘My parents and my cousin can review my acts.’ This is indeed a way to challenge world diplomacy. Will Israel get away with it this time? I hope not. But if it does, it is there to prove to us all again that kosher lobbies are corrupting our ethical perspectives. Considering the fatal danger of a total war invoked by Israel, our leaders do not have much time at their disposal. Israel is the ultimate danger to world peace. It must be confronted with the ultimate measures now.

MC: I don't agree that any sort of preemptive physical attack on Israel would be justified, if that is what you are referring to.

GA: I obviously do not refer to violence here but to some extreme measures of economic embargo, sanctions and cultural boycotts.

MC: To get back to the media, I'm asking what you think about the role the mainstream media has played in promoting the Israeli perspective. Senior journalists throughout the West especially, mostly talk in a register of language and from within a frame of reference that is essentially back to front on this and many other issues: the victims of outrageous Israeli aggression and illegality are described as terrorists for resisting while the most outrageous pronouncements and behaviours are 'nuanced' into an Orwellian inversion of meaning and truth – Matt Cooper-style. Unprovoked aggression is redefined as defensive action to protect ‘economic interests’ above all.

GA: As I mentioned before, Haim Saban states that influence is achieved through ‘political funding, media and think tanks’. You are concerned with media and ideology here. There is no doubt that in the English speaking empire we are facing a battle against a foreign ideology that was very successful in defining our needs, desires and notion of justice. It was also very successful in setting our notion of fear and terror. The neo-cons that were spreading the deceitful ideology of ‘moral interventionism’ via politics and media were largely Zionists with leftist roots. It is actually this ideology that signifies the horrifying shift of Zionism from the limited discourse of ‘promised land’ into global politics - namely ‘promised planet’.
You may want to ask yourself why their ideology was successful for a while, why did we let these people drag us into an illegal war and make us complicit in the murder of more than one million Iraqis. You may want to ask yourself how did the Wolfowitz Doctrine make it into American policy? I guess that ‘moral interventionism’ and ‘war against terror’ look nice on paper. It means that ‘we’ are kosher and the ‘other’ is evil. It took the West and humanity some time to realise that, in fact, we were serving an evil ideology and Zionist interests. It may also take us some time to realise that it is us who have become the darkest force around.

MC: Would you agree, that the complicit mainstream media narrative – which, as Chomsky has so clearly identified always runs in tandem with powerful economic perspectives - has been more powerful on Israel's behalf than ten AIPACs could ever have been?

GA: Not at all because as Saban makes it plainly clear, there is a continuum between the fund raiser, the think tank and the media. In terms of British politics there is an obvious ideological continuum between the Political Friend of Israel (Lord cash machine Levy) the advocates for the war within the media (Aaronovitch, Cohen) and the British neo-con think tank ( Euston Manifesto ).

MC: One of the major reasons the mainstream orthodoxy is being challenged now is because of the advent of the far more democratic, alternative media?

GA: I don’t think so. It is challenged because there is a growing fatigue for Zionist politics, a growing realisation that tribal politics left a deadly stain on British and American foreign affairs. Also, following the second Lebanon war, the Gaza massacre and the latest assault on the Mavi Marmara, there is a greater realisation that Israel is a murderous state driven by morbid enthusiasm. But there is another reason that must be stated. For very many years, the Left blocked any attempt of elaboration on global Zionism and Jewish power. As it happens, aside from the recent weakening of the Zionist cause, the Left lost power within the solidarity discourse. To a certain extent the two political phenomena are linked. As we know, The Left has unfortunately failed to garner the emerging power of Islam and its immense power within the discourse of liberation.

As a result, the Left has been left behind. It is pretty much irrelevant to the discourse. For the Left to bounce back it must learn to think ethically and make a political bond with Islamic movements and migrant communities in the West.

MC: There are a number of things in what you are saying that I would challenge. Firstly, and ironically, somewhat like the Zionists themselves, you place them front and centre of everything that is happening. To disregard the motives and influence of the many other non-Zionist groups who are equally involved with them is similar to the disregard the Zionists show for others.

GA: There is actually again a continuum that you fail to detect between the sense of chosensess that is inherent to Zionism and any other Jewish political discourse and the Zionist political practice which is relentlessly exercised around the world. Zionists do not try to control everything, I guess that they do not care much about tobacco for the time being (this is probably why we cannot smoke freely anymore) but they do care about Western foreign affairs and would use any possible means to shape them. Look at the pressure Zionist groups mount on the American administration with regard to Turkey, Iran, sanctions, attacking the Mavi Marmara and so on.

MC: Not to defend what the US/UK/EU are doing, but to define their role as you do is almost to infantilise them - it is seriously to underestimate how powerful, dangerous and manipulative they are in their own right.

GA: To be honest, they are not as clever as people seem to think.

MC: Nobody sensible thinks they are being clever about any of this, but that they are capable of uncontrolled greed backed up with equally uncontrolled violence.

GA: Actually Israeli violence is far from being ‘uncontrolled’. It is deadly and premeditated. This is the true notion of Israel’s power of deterrence. Back to your question. In fact they do it all in the open. David Miliband, who is also listed as an Israeli propaganda author, was acting against British universal jurisdiction just to allow Israeli war criminals to visit the UK. How do you explain it? Was it very clever of him? Was it very clever of David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen to advocate an illegal war while being also Jewish Chronicle (a UK Zionist outlet) writers? Was it a clever move to support a war that led to 1.5 million dead Iraqis? Is it very clever of Haim Saban to tell the American people ‘we the Jews influence your life through political funding, media, and think tanks’?
The answer is no, it is not clever at all. It is an infantile arrogance that is inherent to the chauvinist identity. The success of the Zionist agenda so far has a lot to do with the fact that they operate within tolerant discourses and people like yourself and Chomsky would go out of your way to defend them with foggy ideology. Unfortunately, this ideology doesn’t hold water anymore. As you may know Chomsky is totally discredited. His lame argument against Walt and Mearsheimer, which is similar to yours, puts a big question mark over his entire life time project. This may be a shame but the good news is that the resentment towards Zionism, Israel and relentless Jewish lobbying is becoming a mass phenomenon. It exceeds the political discourse. It is a spirit, it is public and it is refreshing. This may be good news because we always wanted to be there, the only concern is that no one really controls it anymore.

MC: Where have these questions implied a defense of Zionists or Zionism? Merely to say that they are not alone in this or that they do not control what is happening in the Middle East on their own is in no way a defense either of their ideology or of their actions.

GA: To start with it is not a personal debate but and ideological one. However, I guess that failing to confront extensive Jewish lobbying is to provide Zionism with a body shield. You are talking about other American interests. What is so unique about AIPAC, David Miliband and CFI is the fact that right out in the open they promote the interests of a foreign government. Would a Muslim lobby get away with it? Could Iran or Pakistan get away with it? Would Chomsky rush to defend them as well? I really wonder.

MC: Chomsky has been a forthright critic of Israel's - was only recently prevented by the Israeli government from attending an engagement. He has made some puzzling statements but again, I think you ignore overwhelming evidence that contradicts what you say about him.

GA: I have a lot of respect for what Chomsky did along the years. However, as American activist Jeff Blankfort pointed out recently, Chomsky has been dismissing the power of the pro-Israel lobby. He opposed the BDS movement and made some efforts to “dissuade people from using the term ‘apartheid’ to describe Israel's control over Palestinian society”.
Chomsky also opposes the Palestinian right of return and a one-state solution. Chomsky is in fact a liberal Zionist as well as a kibbutz enthusiast. This is enough to explain why his voice has been pushed to the margin within the Palestinian solidarity discourse. Considering his contribution on other fields of thought, it is a shame indeed.

MC: There is a lot that could and should be said in response to that but this discussion is not about Chomsky. AIPAC may be feted in Washington and London for now but it will go the way of all those who collaborate with the US in due course. As has been noted many times, US foreign policy makers think nothing of caricaturing former friends as villains when they stop being useful. The Israel-as-lone-defender-of-democracy-in- the-Middle-East myth has been forcefully sold for a long time, it's true, but seldom if ever have the economic and strategic spoils of war been so great.

GA: Why was it useful? Is it because it is true? Not really. Israel has never been a democracy - it is a racially exclusive society that managed to set up a ‘Jews only democracy’. Americans are clever enough to understand it. They went through a civil rights struggle not that long ago and in fact they still do. The deceitful image of Jewish democracy was there to create a phantasmic continuum between the USA and the Jewish State. It is obviously far more complicated to explain to the masses how exactly supporting a hawkish Jewish state in a sea of oil would make oil cheaper.

MC: Isn’t your fundamental mistake in this respect that you are confusing or ignoring much of the quite independent and equally violent avarice of the other vested interests with the extent of AIPAC’s influence, which everyone knows is undoubtedly strong.

GA: With due respect and without claiming to be free of errors, I do not think that you are pointing to any mistake in my reading of the situation. If anything, all I can see is you being reluctant to admit that we had been pulled by an extensive institutional and very dangerous lobby for more than a while. In fact, I know that you and others are holding this position because you want to believe that you are true humanists. I respect it. Indeed one of the most crucial questions we have to confront here is how to say what we think about Israel and its Jewish lobbies and still be humanists. I believe that the answer is to admit that we are confronted with an ideology that dismisses our notion of humanism, kindness and compassion. To a certain degree we are confronted here with a deep challenge: ‘how shall we perform kindness to the unkind.

This is why it is so important for me to maintain that the massacre on the Mavi Marmara was no less than killing Christ again. Regardless of the historicity of Jesus and regardless of the fact that there is NO continuum between the ancient Israelites and the contemporary Israelis, we see here a broad daylight assault on goodness and kindness. This deadly attempt was supported by the Israeli people, it was committed by their popular army and it is still supported by world Jewry except some sporadic Jews such as the Torah Jews who oppose it and obviously are highly respected for it. How do we confront it? Call for what it is. This must be our approach because as far as I can see, the Israelis and their lobbyists interpret your silence or reluctance to use the right language as weakness. If we want to help Israelis we may as well make it clear to them that we actually see through them.

MC: It is important to understand Zionist ideology and to challenge and expose what is inhumane in it. Mainstream western media has been criminally complicit in its refusal to do that. But if the Zionists never existed, the US and its EU allies would be in the Middle East right now, or at some other time, doing exactly what they are doing - as they have done for centuries in many other parts of the world that the Zionists had nothing to do with. Also there are many Jewish people in Israel who have been courageously protesting the treatment of the Palestinians by their own government for a long time and who were very vocal after the Mavi Marmara.

GA: “Many” is just slightly over the top. A Palestinian spokeswomen in London was asked in the late 1990’s what she thought of all those ‘good Jews’, those who support the Palestinians. Her answer was shockingly simple yet revealing. She said, “I admire all these beautiful and kind people, all fifteen of them”. In fact I follow their discourse and I cannot count more than eight of them. I am far from being impressed by the ‘Jews for this’ and ‘Jews for that’. I regard it as a Zionist fig leaf operation. Especially when it comes from Marxist Jews. If they are indeed Marxist, why don’t they just join the working class and fight Zionism along side the rest of us?
I will now go back to your question. What would have happened if Israel didn’t exist? Since we are dealing here with a hypothetical assumption you may have to agree that USA/UK/EU could have also used very different tactics. Britain and America in the past used diplomacy also. If you read the history of Zionism, from the very beginning Herzl was capitalizing on super- power interests in the region. This is even before oil was an issue. So you can equally argue that the way things evolved was inevitable due to the nature of Zionist political philosophy of bonding with influential powers. Israel Shahak would argue that this is the heritage of the Talmud. I argue that this is the exact meaning of the Biblical Story of Esther. In my paper From Purim to AIPAC I explore the continuum between the Bible and contemporary Jewish political lobbying.

MC: At the crudest level of all, Israel may have 500 nukes courtesy of the US, but the US arsenal and its overall military capability is many multiples of Israel’s. No contest.

GA: This is pretty irrelevant, I am afraid. America is or at least was a super power. It was engaged in a cold war. This may explain rather than justify why it has so many bombs. However Israel engaged in a territorial battle with its so called ‘enemies’. One must wonder why it needs atomic bombs at all. If Israel cares about Sderot and Ashkelon as much as it says, it would never nuke Gaza. The answer is pretty devastating. Israel possesses all those bombs because it insists on keeping the rest of the world in a constant threat. In case anyone fails to see it, the rest of the world is what we call humanity. And this is the crux of the matter. We are dealing here with a lethal collective that is driven by deadly psychosis against humanity and humanism.

MC: The Zionists have no monopoly on deadly psychosis towards other groups of people. The native American Indians have told the world a thing or two about the centuries-long psychosis of the Christian settlers there - the misery that led to mass suicides among many other horrors. It's surely fundamentally anti humanist – racist/discriminatory even - to single any one group of people out as being uniquely evil?

GA: To start with we both agree that the Zionists didn’t invent evil. In fact Zionism is an attempt to exercise some colonial barbarism in a world that has moved on from that kind of political philosophy. In short Zionists are guilty of committing colonial crimes 100 years too late. However, you make one crucial mistake here. You say “It's surely fundamentally anti humanist to single any one group of people out as being uniquely evil.” You maybe right, but Zionism is not at all a group of people, it is actually an ideology. In fact it is a racist, anti humanist ideology that must be confronted. Similarly, those who follow this ideology are succumbing to an inhuman philosophy and must be exposed, named and shamed. As you will notice in my writing, I never criticize Jews as Jews or Judaism as a religion. I concentrate on Jewish ideology, namely Jewishness that has a very particular supremacist interpretation of the Judaic core. In my writing I have managed to trace Jewishness in every modern Jewish political setting whether it is right wing Zionism, the pseudo- socialist Bund or the radical Matzpen. However, I must mention that Torah Jews are free of that fault. They draw their inspiration from the Torah and present a very unique form of tribal humanism.

MC: You say the left has failed to embrace the 'emerging power of Islam'. Left wing groups within Islam itself do not seem to be meeting with a good reception by and large.

GA: I don’t understand what you mean by Left groups within Islam. Islam is in itself a philosophy that promotes equality; it doesn’t need Left ideology and cannot integrate such an atheist precept. I guess that what you are referring to is Left groups within the Arab or Muslim world. Indeed, the entire left philosophy is Euro-centric and related to the industrial revolution. These ideas are completely irrelevant to the Near East and its understanding of struggle for liberation.

MC: Outside of Islam, the left can only offer solidarity and encouragement.

GA: I guess that what you are taking about is producing badges, scarves and caps with Palestinian flags. This is indeed nice. I always quote Lacan in that reference. Lacan says that making love is in practice making love to yourself through the other. In that sense, the Left’s notion of solidarity is in practice ‘making love to yourself at the expense of the oppressed’. I am not impressed with this concept at all.

MC: That may be true of certain types of activism but it is unfair to caricature much Left solidarity with the Palestinians like that. The Freedom Flotilla was about a lot more than producing badges and scarves. There are many journalists and activists who have made serious and effective efforts to support the Palestinians from within the left – some who have even given their lives to keeping up vital communication. And besides, the badges and scarves have served a purpose too by making sure we are not allowed to forget.

GA: As it happens I was in Athens and in Nicosia when the Flotilla left. I was working closely with the Freedom Mission, I gave talks and interviews. I was also in touch with activists in Istanbul. I can tell you that the Freedom Mission to Gaza is indeed a very refreshing move within the solidarity movement. The so-called Leftists within this movement certainly are not frightened by Islam or Hamas. They certainly respect the Palestinian democratic choice. I admire them for that and wish I could have been with them on board.

MC: To return to the Left and Islam, however justified Iran may be to perceive Israel as the real Middle Eastern threat; trade unionists are having a pretty hard time in Iran right now, for example. What is it that you think the left can or should be doing?

GA: To start with I do not talk about the Left in Iran, Iraq or Palestine. I am talking about the Left here, in Europe. The first thing to do is to accept the notion of otherness. For instance: to stand up for Hamas as a democratically elected body; to stand up for Hezbullah which presents Israel with fierce resistance; to support an Iranian nuclear project as a necessary defensive means; to support the Muslim right to love their Allah and to fight for freedom in his name. These things are rather basic and elementary. The left must also realise that Muslim migrant communities in the West are the first sufferers of cultural, social, racial and political oppression. If the Left wants to maintain ideological and ethical relevance it must join forces with these ethnic groups. It is also possible that the Western Left has already missed the train; this would mean that it belongs to history.

MC: I really cannot agree with some of what you say here. The Left is generally very aware of the need to respect cultural differences in Islam and has done more than any political grouping on either the centre or right to forge links and to challenge the discrimination suffered by migrant groups. As with Christianity, Judaism and other religions Islam has its faults.

GA: If this is the case, how do you explain the fact that the Left was so slow to accept Hamas? How many leftists support the Iraqi resistance? And what about the Taliban? Do you support any of those? I cannot agree with your statement about Islam and other religions.. You are here employing a typical liberal supremacist approach. You set yourself in an imaginary elitist position above and beyond your subject of criticism. If you want to criticize a body of thought you can only do it by means of deconstruction, by tracing inconsistency within. In order to do it you must first achieve a reasonable familiarity. This is by the way, what I try to do with Zionism and Jewish identity. I am obviously familiar enough to deconstruct different form of Jewish discourses. I am less familiar with the Judaic discourse and leave it out.

MC: There is nothing supremacist in the question – I explicitly say that all religions have their faults – but let me be clearer: women and homosexuals have been oppressed by most if not all religions to a greater or lesser extent. To criticize Islam for the same oppression in no way implies either that the problem is unique to it or that matters are perfect elsewhere.

GA: Miriam you are implying here that while Christianity and Jewish identity ‘moved on’, Islam was ‘left behind’. To be honest with you, I must admit that the dichotomy between the ‘Progressive’ and the ‘Reactionary’ is another symptom of Judaic binary opposition within the left discourse. Progressiveness is just another word for Choseness.

MC: Oppression is oppression the same as occupation is occupation.

GA: I obviously do not agree. Oppression is very complicated to define. Occupation, on the other hand, can be defined in positive terms such as territorial and legal.

MC: There is still much oppression of women and of homosexuals which cannot be explained away as mere cultural difference. Criticisng these things should not be a cultural taboo any more than criticising Zionism should be an anti-Semitic taboo.

GA: Sorry, I do not agree with you at all. There is a clear differentiation between the liberal Western discourse that celebrates individualism and the Eastern tribal discourse that values family, the community and culture. You tend to believe that you uphold some higher ethical system that allows you to pass judgment on other cultural assets that are foreign to you. You are obviously not alone. This is the nature of popular culture within the post Enlightenment discourse. I would argue instead that true tolerance is the capacity to accept even when you fail to understand. I myself obviously treat women and gays with total respect and fight for their equality within my environment. However, rather than criticising certain Islamic cultures I try to grasp its political and religious attitude towards different groups. I suggest everyone who claims to care about solidarity should do the same.

But before we move on, please let me address your last point.

As long as you argue that ‘X attitude towards Y is oppressive from a liberal perspective’, you may be correct, your argument could be valid and consistent. However, once you claim that ‘X attitude towards Y is oppressive categorically’ you produce an argument that is no different from a Neocon or moral interventionist. You basically claim to be better and more ethical than X.
These Issues are not simple. I can provide a solution but I guess that I have managed to formulate the complexity.

MC: How then is this different to your intolerance for what Zionists too would argue is their culture and belief in choseness and all that that has led to?

GA: This is very simple indeed. Zionist crimes are committed on the expense of others.

 MC: You say you are a humanist. There is no humanist argument to justify the mutilation of girls’ genitalia and the lifelong misery that it causes to women.

GA: How do you know? Can’t you see that in order to make such a statement valid you have to set yourself beyond and above the human discourse? However, I obviously understand your point of view from a Western perspective. I am very suspicious of any call for moral interventionism. And just let me correct you. I do not carry the humanist flag. I am looking for the notion of humanism. As far as I can tell it is a dynamic notion. Like ethics it must be reshaped and revised all the time.

MC: I realise that not all Muslims endorse FGM. But these things are as sick as each other. Again, there are comparable evils in most if not all religions, societies and cultures – this is not to single Islam out.

GA: I am happy that you mentioned it because as far as I am aware, and I am not exactly an expert on the subject, FGM is not at all prescribed by Islam. However, just to mention that I do not remember coming across Left or Liberal criticism of similar Jewish ancient blood ritual that involves blood sucking and chopping of male infant sexual organ (Brit Mila). As it happens Jewish parents, both secular religious let a Rabbi circumcise and suck the blood of their sons when they are just 8 days old. How do you explain the fact that such a barbarian ritual takes place in our midst? Why doesn’t it provoke outrage? Why you yourself do not protest against it?

MC: It is not possible for a genuine humanist to look the other way wherever inhumanity is occurring, whoever is responsible for it. You are applying a double standard in this, I think. You defend FGM on cultural grounds but describe a comparable Jewish ritual as barbaric.

GA: It is rather obvious that when I refer to a Jewish blood ritual, I am criticising it from a western point of view by means of deconstruction. I live in the West, I tend to understand western ideology and culture and I am capable of pointing to a clear discrepancy between the human rights of a child and blood ritual. However, I am far less convinced that Western liberals possess the capacity to pass an ethical judgment regarding cultures that are remote to Western values and way of life. And yet one question remains – why is the liberal mind so concerned with FGM that is carried out in Africa, and not all troubled by a similar Jewish blood ritual that is practiced in our midst.

MC: To move on to the next question, however. That Muslims – or anyone anywhere - should be free to fight for freedom from violent invasion and occupation is axiomatic for most people, though not for pacifists of course. Invoking God for the purpose has never been anything other than a disaster, has it?

GA: Really? Here is where you tend to express your intolerance towards other’s belief. The greatest symphonies and architecture were actually created in the context of a dialogue with God. Islamic resistance that defeats Israel and Western imperialism whether it is in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza or South Lebanon is inspired by Allah. Why are you so disrespectful to God? In fact, I believe that you are failing to detect the importance of Islam within the context of Arabic and international resistance. It is peculiar but tragically rather common amongst leftists. As I said earlier on, this explains why left lost its relevance.

MC: There are a lot of unfounded assumptions in what you say but we will have to leave it there. This has been an interesting debate. We will have to agree to differ on a number of things. Thank you for the conversation.

GA: I too enjoyed it enormously and I really hope that the difference between us will lead to a further debate and many more realizations.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 2009 Annual Report

by Stephen Lendman

Each year, PCHR publishes its annual report on Occupied Palestine, this year's a detailed 250 page review of the past year, including the first days of Israel's war on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, "the major issue in the record of human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the Occupied Palestinian Terrority (OPT) in 2009," the bloodiest since the 1948 Nakba that stole a nation from its people.

Today, 1.5 million Gazans struggle to rebuild their lives, "in spite of sustaining permanent disabilities, losing loved ones or becoming homeless" after war under siege - collective punishment in violation of international law, and fundamental human rights, including free movement of persons and goods, proper shelter, adequate health care and education, and the right to rebuild homes and other structures destroyed by the war's onslaught.

Israel's settlement expansion, Separation Wall, and control matrix exacerbates West Bank conditions, "turning Palestinian communities into (isolated) Bantustans." In addition, efforts continue to consolidate and illegally annex East Jerusalem by dispossessing its residents, en route to making the entire city exclusively Jewish, unheard of in the modern era, especially by a so-called civilized state, in fact, barbarian and brutish while touting its democratic credentials and victimhood, more evidence of a scoundrel caught red-handed.

PCHR stresses the horrific human rights violations and deterioration throughout the year, intensified since Hamas' January 2006 election, including:

"willful killings and violations of the right to life;

-- collective punishment policies represented by a tightened closure and severe restrictions on the right to freedom of movement;

-- detention and torture of Palestinians (official Israeli policy);

-- continued settlement activities and attacks by Israeli settlers; and

-- continued construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank territory," on 12% of stolen Palestinian land.

Nonetheless, the international community doesn't enforce their international law obligation to stop human rights violations and hold those responsible accountable. As such, they're complicit, guilty through silence and failure to act.

Worse still, the West and colluding Arab states participate in Gaza's isolation by financially boycotting, and bogusly criminalizing, its legitimate government, democratically elected, in support of Mahmoud Abbas' coup d'etat regime, Fatah in the West Bank, soundly defeated in the January 2006 election.

Innocent victims are punished, reeling under 43 years of occupation, an unprecedented international betrayal.

Occupation Force Crimes

Numerous ones occur daily, explained in weekly PCHR updates, like its June 17 - 23 one covering:

-- peaceful Gaza and West Bank protestors attacked, injuring three civilians (including a child) in Bal'ein village, west of Ramallah;

-- dozens more harmed by tear gas inhalation;

-- three journalists assaulted in Beit Jala;

-- 10 civilians, including three human rights workers, a journalist and five medical volunteers arrested;

-- four Gazan farmers and workers, including two children, shot and wounded in their fields;

-- 43 civilians, including five children, arrested in 16 West Bank incursions and three others in Gaza;

-- the suffocating Gaza siege continues unabated;

-- the West Bank and East Jerusalem remain locked down by a control matrix of about 630 checkpoints and 60 - 80 "flying" ones, including in and around Jerusalem, severely restricting access to and throughout the city; and

-- ruthless ethnic cleansing continues, stealing land and bulldozing homes for settlement expansions and other Jews only projects.

When completed, the Separation Wall (half finished) will stretch 724 kilometers (on 12% of stolen Palestinian land), encircling the West Bank, further isolating the population. Civilians protesting against it nonviolently are systematically assaulted, tear gassed, fired on, injured and arrested.

In addition, two-thirds of the main roads are closed or controlled by security forces. Further, one-third of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to anyone without a (very hard to get) permit, that if obtained takes months and must be renewed - measures to make life in Occupied Palestine oppressive, punishing, and impossible, including random searches on streets and in private homes, some followed by arrests and imprisonment.

Numbers of Dead and Wounded in 2009

Forty-three years of occupation have taken an unprecedented toll. In 2009 alone, it included:

-- 1,092 killed, including 831 civilians, the others resistance fighters;

-- civilian victims included 305 children and 101 women, targeted the same as men; civilians attacked like freedom fighters;

-- 1,066 were killed in Gaza, 97% of the total;

-- the war's toll killed 1,419 Palestinians and wounded another 5,200, many severely from loss of limbs, brain damage, or other extreme injuries;

-- from September 2000 (the start of the second Intifada) through December 2009, 6,520 Palestinians were killed, including 4,955 civilians, tens of thousands more wounded;

-- after the January 18, 2010 ceasefire, the IDF killed 47 Palestinians, including 26 civilians, seven of them children; 12 civilians were killed by Israeli snipers in Gaza buffer zones, gunned down in cold blood; five others died when tunnels were bombed;

-- in the West Bank, Israeli forces killed 18 Palestinians, including 15 civilians, six of them children; Israeli settlers killed three more, including two children;

-- all of them posed no threat, including participants in nonviolent protests against the Separation Wall, land confiscations or home demolitions; nonetheless, Israeli forces murdered them in cold blood, claiming self-defense, the usual bogus pretext.

PCHR investigations confirmed that Israel "used excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian civilians, who are recognized as protected persons under international humanitarian law" - what Israel doesn't acknowldege or the principles of distinction and proportionality.

Evidence clearly shows that Israeli forces repeatedly used (and continue to use) excessive and disproportionate force against nonviolent Palestinian civilians, in violation of international law.

They posed no threat, yet were killed when their homes, other buildings, factories, or vehicles were bombed. Some were extrajudicially executed, others when their communities were invaded - in all cases, crimes of war and against humanity.

Throughout 2009, Israel tightened closure on the West Bank, and imprisoned Gazans under siege, denying them enough food, medicines, fuel, electricity, and other common essentials - exacerbating a worsening humanitarian crisis, suffocating 1.5 million people, and paralyzing the economy.

"The members of the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to (Fourth Geneva) have shamefully failed to take the action necessary to ensure" this stops and to hold Israel accountable. Instead, they've been complicit in the worst of its crimes, and share equal guilt, especially America, Israel's paymaster/partner.

Israeli forces also prevent Palestinian civilians from entering Israel or going abroad for medical care, other emergencies, education, or their right of free movement - denied throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians are imprisoned on their own land in their own country by a hostile occupier, there illegally.

Throughout 2009, the humanitarian crisis worsened, the result of:

-- 40% unemployment, over 55% in Gaza where poverty exceeds 80%, affecting 1.2 million people;

-- since September 2000, incomes have steadily decreased, down 45% at yearend 2009; and

-- national output dropped sharply in all sectors, especially in Gaza.

Other Imposed Harshness

In December 2009, at least 9,381 Palestinians were imprisoned, including 310 children and 34 women, mostly inside Israel - a clear international law violation under Fourth Geneva's Article 76 stating:

"Protected persons accused of offences (sic) shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein."

They must also be afforded proper food, hygiene, medical, and other essentials, including spiritual assistance. In addition, minors must be given special care, and women must be confined in separate quarters under female supervision. Israel, however, has male guards in women's prisons and treats children the same as adults, besides violating other international laws regarding the treatment of prisoners.

Israeli forces disregard them as well commit regular assaults, other incursions, and arrests during house raids, especially in West Bank villages and refugee camps. Also at checkpoints, roadblocks and during nonviolent demonstrations.

Throughout 2009, security forces arrested about 5,000 Palestinians, including 1,000 in Gaza, mostly civilian men, women and children, all treated horrifically, included elected officials, imprisoned for belonging to the wrong parties and wanting Palestine to be free.

At yearend 2009, 26 PLC members were incarcerated, most from the Change and Reform bloc, affiliated with Hamas. Another was speaker Dr. 'Aziz al-Dweik, now released. However, civil activists are detained for defending human rights, they like others treated harshly, most of them tortured like other Palestinian prisoners. Others are kept in solitary confinement for prolonged periods.

Testimonies confirm prison horror stories, including physical and mental torture, exposure to extreme heat or cold, starvation, sleep deprivation, beatings, pressure to collaborate in exchange for release, (in some cases, threatened harm to family members if refuse), and/or forced confessions in Hebrew, not Arabic, for crimes they didn't commit.

During Cast Lead, Israel "wantonly and extensively destroyed Palestinian civilian property, including homes, agricultural lands, as well as health, educational, religious and economic facilities," all in violation of international law. As a result, about 450,000 Gazans evacuated their homes for safer locations, "causing many to recall scenes of the forced mass migration" during 1948, what those who endured it can't forget, nor their children who know the toll on their parents, why the event is called the Nakba, the catastrophe, affecting the entire population.

Cast Lead's toll was horrific by any standard, PCHR documenting:

-- 2,116 totally destroyed homes, containing 2,881 housing units for 3,253 families and 18,750 individuals;

-- another 3,277 houses with 4,925 housing units for 5,483 families and 32,703 individuals rendered uninhabitable, their damage so extensive;

-- 16,000 others were partly damaged;

-- in total, 51,453 civilians lost their homes, victimized by illegal bombings or shellings; and

-- in the West Bank, Israel demolished 134 houses, including 83 in East Jerusalem; another 23 Palestinian civilians were forced to destroy their own homes and pay the cost.

Today under the extremist Netanyahu government, conditions are worse than ever. Besides daily repression, settlement construction continues, the Municipality of Jerusalem and Israeli ministries taking bids for 3,400 housing units on occupied Palestinian land, ordering homes demolished and thousands of donums of land confiscated for them.

Complicit with Israeli security forces, the judiciary legitimizes occupation policies, Israel's High Court, for example, rejecting Palestinian petitions against the expropriation of their land for settlement construction and the Separation Wall. Rarely ever does the court order its route changed. Even then, it seldom happens.

Illegal construction imposed new hardships, including farmers denied access to their land beyond the Wall without hard to obtain permits to reach it. Yet to get them, they must be registered owners, nearly impossible due to land registry complications because earlier ownership was under deceased persons' names. In addition, registries haven't been updated, and some heirs don't live in the West Bank.

Other hardships include:

-- new movement restrictions for Palestinians living near the Wall's route, not just affecting farmers; and

-- access to medical care, education, and relatives is impacted, plus restricted hours to move through gates at the Wall, "operated under a strict security system," often closing for no apparent reason, and even when open, onerous to pass through.

A Nation and Occupation Repressively Persecuting Non-Jews

For Palestinians, Israel's legal system is nightmarish, the chance for impartial investigations impossible, in violation of international standards. They require those responsible for crimes be punished, victims afforded redress, and justice to be blind to race, religion or ethnicity.

Under military occupation and for Israeli Arabs, the system is fundamentally flawed and unfair, under laws affording justice solely to Jews. As a result, PCHR and other human rights organizations pursue universal jurisdiction (UJ) remedies, a legal principle empowering courts in other countries to indict, prosecute and convict persons guilty of international crimes, no matter where they occurred.

Nonetheless, winning judgments against Israeli officials is daunting, not accomplished so far, politics and national alliances superseding the rule of law - what no longer can be tolerated at the expense of victims' rights.

The UN Fact Finding Mission conducted extensive investigations into Israel's Gaza war, as well as West Bank and East Jerusalem attacks, confirming gross international law violations - crimes of war and against humanity.

Yet over Q 4 2009, "persistent efforts were made to undermine" reports from the UN Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council, again, Palestinians denied their rights.

As a result, on October 16, 2009, at the urging of the Palestinian leadership, the UN Human Rights Council (at its 12th Special Session) issued a Resolution condemning illegal Israeli acts, especially annexing East Jerusalem lands. It also endorsed the Goldstone Commission's conclusions and recommendations - a first step toward justice, so far not achieved.

Israel's harshness continues. A subservient Mahmound Abbas issues presidential decrees without presenting them to the PLC or involving the legitimate Hamas government.

Though released from detention in June 2009, PLC Speaker, Dr. 'Aziz al-Dwaik, is prevented from even entering his Ramallah office by presidential decree, an illegitimate act by a coup d'etat president.

The split between West Bank and Gaza is untenable, the result of Israel targeting Hamas, bogusly calling it a terrorist organization, Abbas its servile tool obeying orders and being rewarded with White House visits and photo-ops, the benefits for betraying his people, including remaining president long after his term expired and not calling new elections.

Life in Occupied Palestine remains grim, Israeli imposed viciousness creating enormous hardships for millions of victimized Palestinians, ongoing for 62 years, 43 under occupation brutishness - illegal, unjustifiable, and unconscionable by a so-called civilized state, in fact, run by hooligans, war criminals, respecting might alone over right, what grassroots activism no longer can tolerate nor should anyone of conscience anywhere.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 2:58 AM  

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Mysterious Death of Dr David Kelly: Damning New Evidence Points to a Cover-up by Tony Blair's Government

The Mysterious Death of Dr David Kelly: Damning New Evidence Points to a Cover-up by Tony Blair's Government

The official story of Dr David Kelly is that he took his own life in an Oxfordshire wood by overdosing on painkillers and cutting his left wrist with a pruning knife.
He was said to be devastated after being unmasked as the source of the BBC’s claim that the Government had ‘sexed up’ the case for war in Iraq.
A subsequent official inquiry led by Lord Hutton into the circumstances leading to the death came to the unequivocal conclusion that Kelly committed suicide.
Yet suspicions of foul play still hang heavy over the death of the weapons expert whose body was found seven years ago next month in one of the most notorious episodes of Tony Blair’s premiership.
Mystery: A new investigation in the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly has revealed shocking new claims of a government cover-up
Mystery: A new investigation into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly has revealed shocking new claims of a government cover-up
Many believe the truth about the manner of Dr Kelly’s death has never been established properly. Some even fear that the 59-year-old, the world’s leading expert in biological and chemical weapons, was murdered.
Of course, it would be easy to dismiss these sceptics as wild conspiracy theorists — but for the fact they include eminent doctors and MPs.
The blanket of secrecy thrown over the case by the last Labour Government has only fuelled the sense of mystery.
In January this year, it emerged that unpublished medical and scientific records relating to Dr Kelly’s death - including the post-mortem report and photographs of his body - had been secretly classified so as not to be made public for 70 years.
Lord Hutton, who had been appointed by Blair, was responsible for this extraordinary gagging order, yet its legal basis has baffled experts accustomed to such matters.
Against this shadowy background, we have conducted a rigorous and thorough investigation into the mystery that surrounds the death of David Kelly. And our investigation has turned up evidence which raises still more disturbing questions.
Our new revelations include the ambiguous nature of the wording on Dr Kelly’s death certificate; the existence of an anonymous letter which says his colleagues were warned to stay away from his funeral; and an extraordinary claim that the wallpaper at Dr Kelly’s home was stripped by police in the hours after he was reported missing - but before his body was found.
Suicide?: An aerial view of Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire, where Dr David Kelly's body was discovered in July 2003
Suicide? An aerial view of Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire, where Dr David Kelly's body was discovered in July 2003
Until now, details of Dr Kelly’s death certificate have never been made public.
But the certificate was obtained by a group of leading doctors who have spent almost seven years investigating the case; doctors who believe it is medically implausible that he died in the manner Hutton concluded and are alarmed at the unorthodox way the death certificate was completed.
Near the top of all British death certificates is a box headed ‘Date and place of death’, in which a doctor or coroner should declare the exact location of a death, if it has been established.
Dr Kelly’s certificate gives his date of death as July 18, 2003. It then states in reference to place of death: ‘Found dead at Harrowdown Hill, Longworth, Oxon’.
Why was the word ‘found’ used? Why was the crucial question of ‘place of death’ not answered? The death certificate should be precise about the time, cause and location of death.
The doctors who have investigated the case believe the failure to answer this question leaves open the possibility that Dr Kelly died somewhere other than Harrowdown Hill, the wood where his body was discovered. If this was the case, they are concerned the law may have been subverted over Dr Kelly’s death.
Dr David Kelly leaving The House of Commons, Tuesday July 15, 2003 after giving evidence to the Commons select committee
Any such irregularity would inevitably add to the pressure to reopen the case. Indeed, earlier this month it was revealed that Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who have the power to undo Hutton’s 70-year gagging order and demand a coroner’s inquest into Dr Kelly’s death, are poised to re-open the case.
To this day, the location where Dr Kelly died remains a mystery — yet it is surely the most basic requirement of an investigation into any violent or unexpected death.
Nor was the question of the location of death raised at the Hutton Inquiry.
Amazingly, Chief Inspector (now Superintendent) Alan Young of Thames Valley Police, who headed the investigation into Dr Kelly’s death, did not even give evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.
Significantly, it emerged via a Freedom of Information request in 2008 that a police helicopter with heat-seeking equipment which searched for Dr Kelly on the night he disappeared did not detect his body.
Search: It is claimed that on the night Dr David Kelly went missing, officers from Thames Valley Police removed wallpaper from his house
Search: It is claimed that on the night Dr David Kelly went missing, officers from Thames Valley Police removed wallpaper from his house
At 2.50am on July 18, 2003, the helicopter flew over the exact spot where Dr Kelly’s body was found by a search party less than six hours later, at 8.30am.
Yet the pathologist who took Dr Kelly’s body temperature at 7pm on the day his body was found determined that Dr Kelly could still have been alive at 1.15am on July 18 — just 95 minutes before the helicopter flew over the patch of woodland.
If that was the case, the body would have been warm enough to be picked up by the helicopter’s heat sensors. Why didn’t the helicopter pick it up? Was it because Dr Kelly did not die where his body was found?
A full coroner’s inquest, which, by law, must be held following any sudden, unexpected or violent death, would have addressed these discrepancies.
But no full inquest was ever held.
Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner opened an inquest on July 21. But on August 13 the then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, Tony Blair’s former flatmate, ordered it to be adjourned indefinitely.
Falconer used an obscure law to suspend proceedings, and for the first time in English legal history he replaced an inquest with a non-statutory public inquiry to examine a single death, seemingly without any public explanation.
When we tracked Mr Gardiner down, he refused to say whether he was ‘either happy or unhappy’ about this decision, but he did admit: ‘Public inquiries of this sort are very rare creatures. I think this was only about the third there had ever been.’
In fact, it was the fourth. Using a public inquiry to replace a coroner’s inquest - under Section 17a of the Coroner’s Act - in order to examine a death has only ever happened in three other cases. And in each case, it was where multiple deaths have occurred.
These were the incidents in which 31 people were killed in the Ladbroke Grove rail crash in 2000; the 311 deaths connected with Dr Harold Shipman; and the 36 deaths associated with the Hull trawler Gaul which sank in the Barents Sea in 1974 and whose case was re-opened in 2004.
The public was led to believe that the death of Dr Kelly would be investigated more rigorously by the Hutton Inquiry than by a coroner.

Lord Hutton
Coroner Nicholas Gardiner
Conclusion: Lord Hutton's inquiry ended while the judge was still taking evidence from witnesses. Coroner Nicholas Gardiner, right, refused to say whether he was ‘either happy or unhappy’ that an inquest he opened was indefinitely adjourned
But it is now clear that the opposite was in fact true - for Hutton lacked the powers of a coroner. He could not hear evidence under oath; he could not subpoena witnesses; he could not call a jury; and he could not aggressively cross-examine witnesses.
Astonishingly, on August 18, less than three weeks into the Hutton Inquiry, which opened on August 1, Dr Kelly’s death certificate was mysteriously completed and the cause of his death officially registered as haemorrhage.
Put another way, five weeks before the Hutton Inquiry ended on September 24, 2003, and while the judge was still taking evidence about Dr Kelly’s death from witnesses, the official record of the cause of death was written and the case effectively closed.
Misleadingly, the death certificate states an inquest did take place on August 14 - even though we now know no inquest actually happened. And extraordinarily, though it bears the signature of the registrar, it is not signed by either a doctor or a coroner as every death certificate should be.
Dr Kelly was discovered on Harrowdown Hill, next to woodland at the top centre left of the picture
Dr Michael Powers QC, a former coroner and an expert in coroner’s law who is working to secure a full and proper inquest, said: ‘This death certificate is evidence of a failure properly to examine the cause of Dr Kelly’s death. It is evidence of a pre-judgment of the issue. In a coroner’s inquest the cause of death would not be registered until the whole inquiry had been completed. As we see here, the cause of death was registered before the Hutton Inquiry had finished.
‘This is remarkable. To my mind it is evidence that the inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death was window-dressing because the conclusion had already been determined.’
Since January 2004 a group of doctors has worked unstintingly for a fresh inquest to be held into David Kelly’s death because of the blatant shortcomings of the Hutton Inquiry.
They are radiologist Stephen Frost, trauma surgeon David Halpin, vascular surgeon Martin Birnstingl, epidemiologist Andrew Rouse and internal medicine specialist
Christopher Burns-Cox. Their investigations have raised many doubts about the widespread assumption that Dr Kelly killed himself.
A letter they wrote to the Press in January 2004 marked the first time anyone had raised the possibility in the mainstream media of Dr Kelly’s death not being a suicide.
In 2009 they spent almost a year researching and writing a medical report which disputes Hutton’s assertion that Dr Kelly died from haemorrhage after severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist. The doctors argued that the wounds to Dr Kelly’s left wrist would not have caused him to bleed to death.
In January this year they discovered that Lord Hutton made the extraordinary 70-year gagging order.
Since then they have asked via their lawyers Leigh Day & Co to see the classified records, but under the last Labour Government, the Ministry of Justice - the department which holds them - repeatedly denied them access in the run-up to the last General Election. No reason was given.
Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who in 2007 wrote a book suggesting that Dr Kelly was murdered, used the Freedom of Information Act in January to apply to the Ministry of Justice to see the records.
British police officers guard a road leading to Harrowdown Hill near the home of Dr Kelly in Oxfordshire
His request was also denied. Using section 41 of the Act - known as an ‘absolute exemption’ - the ministry said it was not obliged to reveal the information.
Mr Baker, now a transport minister in the coalition government, has appealed against this decision. But he and the group of doctors are not the only ones who harbour suspicions about a cover-up of Dr Kelly’s death.
Only last month one of the doctors, David Halpin, received an anonymous and carefully worded letter from someone claiming to be a relative of a former colleague of David Kelly’s at the Ministry of Defence.
The correspondent said Kelly’s colleagues were ‘warned off’ attending his funeral - presumably by MoD officials, although this is not made explicit.
Similarly, in his recently published book ‘The End Of The Party’, the political  commentator Andrew Rawnsley (who has close links with the Labour high command) claims that Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary at the time of Kelly’s death, was so furious about being removed by Tony Blair as Leader of the House of Commons in May 2006 that he wrote out a resignation statement.
According to Rawnsley, ‘he planned to make a speech about the [David] Kelly affair that he told friends could trigger the instant downfall of the Prime Minister’.
Frustratingly, there are no more details in Rawnsley’s book about what Hoon was referring to - but Hoon visited Dr Kelly’s widow shortly after his death and has never publicly denied this explosive charge.
Equally inexplicable is the attitude of Dr Nicholas Hunt, the forensic pathologist who attended the scene when Dr Kelly’s body was found on Harrowdown Hill.
Dr Hunt’s duty as forensic pathologist is to help uphold the rule of law. In March 2004, after the Hutton Report was published, Dr Hunt contacted Channel 4 News and said he thought a full coroner’s inquest should be held.
Yet mysteriously, he says now that - despite contacting the TV station - he has ‘maintained a silence on this [matter] on behalf of the [Kelly] family for a very long time’.
Tragic: Dr David Kelly's grave
Tragic: Dr David Kelly's grave at St Mary's church in Longworth, Oxfordshire. Several doctors argued that the wounds to his left wrist would not have caused him to bleed to death
Adding further to the case for a proper inquest is a new fascinating claim by a woman who has also worked closely with the doctors and helped Norman Baker with his book.
Rowena Thursby, a former publishing executive who became fascinated with the case and started looking into it, told us that Dr Kelly’s widow, Janice, admitted to her that on the night Dr Kelly was reported missing in July 2003 - but hours before his body was found -Thames Valley Police asked her and her daughters to leave their house and wait in the garden.
It later emerged that while the Kellys were outside, officers stripped wallpaper from their sitting room. Why would they have done that? Could they have been ‘sweeping’ his property for listening devices?
It is certainly a possibility. Despite the fact that the Labour government patronisingly dismissed him as a ‘Walter Mitty character’ and nothing more than a middle ranking
official in the Ministry of Defence, Dr Kelly was arguably the world’s pre-eminent expert on biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.
We have established that he had access to the highest levels of the security services and was cleared to see the most highly classified intelligence.
The claim that police removed wallpaper from his house has never been confirmed or denied by Thames Valley Police — they refuse to make any comments about the Kelly case.
All these new revelations add weight to the list of unanswered questions surrounding Dr Kelly’s death, such as why were no fingerprints found on the knife with which he allegedly killed himself — even though he wore no gloves.
As with the extraordinary details of the helicopter search, this vital information was only obtained using the Freedom of Information Act almost five years after the Hutton
Inquiry ended. It was not heard at the inquiry.
The doctors insist that concern about Dr Kelly’s death will continue to deepen until a full coroner’s inquest is heard. If one is finally granted, many will expect Tony Blair and Lord Falconer to be called to explain under oath why they went to such lengths to avoid the normal, rigorous and respected course of this country’s law.
Until this happens their reputations will continue to suffer, as will the reputation of the British legal system. The unavoidable conclusion must be that a full coroner’s inquest is the only way the whole truth about the Kelly affair, however uncomfortable, will emerge.

A Widow Mourns, An Army Lies

My Catbird Seat

- 27. Jun, 2010
Last week Palestine Monitor reported that Israeli police shot and killed Shu’fat resident 39-year-old Ziad Jilani in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Wadi Joz. Now his widow, a U.S. citizen, reflects on her husband’s life and death, and the journey he’s taken her on. Reporting from Kara Newhouse.

Moira Jilani, wife of slain East Jerusalem native, Ziad Jilani, with their daughters, Mirage (15), Hannah (17), and Yasmeen (7)

Moira Jilani remembers her experience vividly, “I felt happy that day. We were going to go out and celebrate, because the children finished exams the day before,” she tells me from her brother-in-law’s house, where she’s spent her days since Ziad’s death on June 11. “We were cleaning, getting rid of the winter clothes. We had the music loud, the girls were dancing. We were ready to leave.”

“When Aya [her niece] came knocking at the door, she was crying, her whole face was drenched. She said, ‘My mom wants you. Come now,’ I said, “Aya, Aya, is it Ziad?” She didn’t say anything. She couldn’t say anything. I knew he was dead.”

Moira comes close to tears just once during our three-hour interview. Most of the time she speaks in a steely voice, anger her prevailing emotion over Ziad’s killing and the broader injustice it represents. “A soldier shot a guy today. What else is new? That’s how the whole world looks at it,” she said. “Everyday you hear something like that, but this one is not going to go unheard. My husband, he was killed brutally. If you heard someone doing that to a dog, you would be crying. But to hear it done to a human being…” she trails off.

Jilani’s sisters called their brother’s death unnecessary, pointing out that if he had committed a crime, the police should have arrested him and carried an investigation. Instead, officers shot Jilani point blank in the head after he fell to the ground from initial bullet wounds. While Haaretz originally referred to the shooting as the result of a ‘suspected terror attack,’ with Jilani reportedly hitting three border police with his truck, Amira Hass’ article from Wednesday cites other possibilities for the incident: In tight traffic with pedestrians returning from Friday prayer, witnesses reported seeing stones thrown at police officers. Some said they saw those stones hit Jilani’s car, causing him to swerve. Thousands of Palestinian men streamed into the Jilani’s Shu’fat neighborhood in the two days following his death. Although Jilani had no political affiliations, he was swiftly labelled “Shaheed (martyr) Ziad Jilani.” on posters.

“In English, when people think of martyr, they think, ‘he went to war, he became a martyr,’” said Moira. “No. He did not go to war. He died an Islamic death, without guns. He had not even a pencil to defend himself. A pencil is considered a weapon over here.”

‘Over here’ is a long way from Moira’s home countries: the U.S. and Barbados. She met Ziad in Texas in the early 1990’s, where she managed a Sbarro pizza chain. He was studying at Texas A&M University. “We were inseparable from the day that we met,” she said. “My husband was the sort of man people wanted to know him just from his look. His eyes used to tell a story. They used to dance for me.”

Ziad and Moira Jilani in Barbados, 2003

Moira was pregnant six months after marrying Ziad, and made her first trip to Palestine for her brother-in-law’s wedding. “I was very hesitant when we came over here, because all I’d ever seen in the news was Palestinians throwing rocks and these things—I was very influenced by the propaganda,” she said.

She soon fell in love with her husband’s country, and the couple decided to stay in Shu’fat. “I don’t speak a word of Arabic, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family all around me,” Moira explained. “My children have so many uncles, so many aunts, so many cousins. They see each other every day, they come and visit. It’s not like the life in America where it’s just friends. I had never experienced the blessing of such a large, loving family before. It was wonderful.”

After Ziad’s death, the large extended family and the close quarters in which they live became even more important. Moira noted that the previous night she had found her second daughter, Mirage, crying over photos of her father. The 15-year-old told her mother she was afraid she would forget her dad. Moira replied, “Already? He just died. Don’t worry, nobody here will let you forget your father.”

The family smile as they described their trips to Jericho when Ziad took his daughters and their cousins to drive his truck on a deserted road. “We would go there to barbeque with all the family. All the kids would be going just for him to let them drive—even the neighbours,” Moira recounted.

Ziad Jilani with his nephew, Mohammed, in Jericho

Moira’s marriage into the Jilani family changed her view of the world even before an Israeli police officer killed her husband. She described her reaction to the prejudiced treatment Ziad received at Ben Gurion airport when they first came to his occupied homeland: “I was shocked. I’ve travelled the world, but I’d never travelled it with a Palestinian. That opened my eyes.”

Speaking repeatedly about Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in addition to East Jerusalem, Moira vowed not to let her husband’s death be written off. “I will tell everybody that will talk to me that their tax money is paying for those bullets that went through my husband’s head. That they’re paying for the airplanes to come over and bomb Gaza.”

Israeli authorities told Moira they are conducting an internal investigation on her husband’s death. They confiscated her husband’s laptop on Tuesday. She has not received medical reports on her husband or information regarding the whereabouts of his vehicle, which may contain evidence to confirm the reports of stones impairing his driving. Moira said she is pursuing legal action on her husband’s death. She declined to discuss details but affirmed that she would not settle out of court. Such struggle will continue to define her life.

“This is my children’s home. They should be able to live in freedom. I love this country so much that I’m willing to stay here and sacrifice the easy life. My husband, hamdi’lillah (thank God), the journey that he took me on…I love this journey. I just didn’t think that it was going to end so soon.

Ziad with Moira’s family

Read about Ziad’s death here…