Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Current News and Analysis

Current News and Analysis

Zionist fabrications, smears intensify ahead of Penn BDS conference

Does this look like “incitement” to you?

By Ali Abunimah | The Electronic Intifada | January 24, 2012
In the run-up to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference at the University of Pennsylvania in early February, at which I will be spearking, the defamation and fabrication machines of anti-Palestinian groups have gone into over-drive.
In December, StandWithUS attempted to smear me as an “anti-Semite” with fabricated quotes.
And just yesterday, my colleague Ben White was subjected to prominent smears that he is an “anti-Semite” in the Israeli press. That in turn is part of an escalating campaign against human rights and equality champion Haneen Zoabi.

The latest smear against me comes in a column by Emily Schrader in The College Fix which slyly accuses me of “incitement to violence against Israelis.”  … continue

LAPD: Joint Military Drills In Downtown LA Won’t Disrupt Public’s ‘Daily Routines’

Helicopter exercises designed to “prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments”
CBS | January 24, 2012

LOS ANGELES — If you notice a heavy military presence around downtown Los Angeles this week, don’t be alarmed — it’s only a drill.
Joint military training exercises will be held evenings through Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The LAPD will be providing support for the exercises, which will also be held in other portions of the greater Los Angeles area, police said. … Full article

Rebellion vs Rebels: ‘Libyans kick NTC out of Bani Walid’

| January 24, 2012

GOP Frontrunner Boasts Israel Support and Netanyahu Ties

By Nathan Guttman and Josh Nathan-KazisThe Forward – issue of December 16, 2011

… Ties between Gingrich and Netanyahu date back to the mid 1990s, when both shared a goal of countering a drive by then-president Bill Clinton to advance the peace process. Netanyahu, as leader of the opposition, maintained close relations with Gingrich and the Republican leadership.
“At the time, Bibi used him [Gingrich] to pressure the president when it came to issues relating to the peace process,” recalled Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s ambassador to Washington from 1993 to 1996. …
… Gingrich hasn’t cornered the market on right-wing, pro-Israel supporters. Philip Rosen, former national chairman of American Friends of Likud, hosted a $10,000-per-head fundraiser for Romney in September. And Romney’s foreign policy team includes such neoconservative stalwarts as former defense policy advisory board member Eliot Cohen and Dan Senor, former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. … Read full article
Also read the Forward’s coverage of Gingrich’s vow to support Israel more strongly

New Sabra hummus ad uses images of Arabs, Africans to cover up Israel army connection

By Ali Abunimah | The Electronic Intifada | January 24, 2012
The Strauss Group, the company that openly supports the Israeli army and makes Sabra brand hummus, is trying a new advertising strategy to hide its Israeli connections and combat a growing boycott movement.
It is to depict Arabs and Muslims in its ads as a form of cover. Should we call this “Arabwashing?” … continue

Veolia must stop assisting the occupier and leave Jerusalem, says Hamas spokesperson

By Adri Nieuwhof | The Electronic Intifada | January 24, 2012
On his visit to Switzerland, Hamas spokesperson Mushir al-Masri unequivocally condemned the Jerusalem Light Rail project. French companies Veolia and Alstom should stop assisting the occupier and leave Jerusalem, he said.
Al-Masri headed a delegation of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva. The Electronic Intifada reported on the first official visit of Hamas members to a European country since the 2006 PLC elections. I interviewed Al-Masri on Thursday, 19 January, about his views on the Israeli Jerusalem Light Rail project.

The first line of the light rail connects West Jerusalem with the illegal settlements of Pisgat Ze’ev and French Hill in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law. This status has been confirmed repeatedly by numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s wall in the occupied West Bank. … continue

Israeli forces seize MP in Ramallah

Ma’an – 24/01/2012
RAMALLAH – Israeli forces detained Palestinian lawmaker Abul Jabbar Fuqaha from his Ramallah home on Tuesday morning, the fourth MP from a Hamas-affiliated party seized by Israel in five days.
Early Tuesday, Israeli soldiers ransacked Fuqaha’s home in the Al-Maysoun neighborhood of West Bank city Ramallah, before detaining the lawmaker.

Fuqaha, 43, was released from Israeli jail in February 2011 after serving two years administrative detention without charge. [...]
There are now 27 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council detained in Israeli jails, according to prisoners rights group Addameer. – Full article

Speaker Of Palestine Parliament Receives Six Months Administrative Detention

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | January 24, 2012

The Israeli Military Court at the Ofer Israeli prison, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, decided to imprison the elected head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Aziz Dweik, to six months administrative detention.
On Sunday, a court was held to look into the possibility of placing him under administrative detention, without any charges officially filed against him.
Both Dr. Dweik and legislator Khaled Tafesh, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, were taken prisoner on Friday.
Representing Dr. Dweik, Lawyer Fadi Al-Qawasmi stated that the court issued the administrative detention order despite the fact that no charges were brought against his client. … Full article

Israeli warplanes blast targets in southern, northern Gaza

Palestine Information Center – 24/01/2012

GAZA — Israeli warplanes launched four air raids on mainly deserted areas in northern and Gaza Strip at dawn Tuesday with no casualties reported.
Local sources told the PIC reporter that Israeli F-16s fired three missiles at uninhabited areas in northern Gaza in two raids.
Israeli warplanes launched two other raids to the east of Khan Younis and fired two missiles at greenhouses on the Khan Younis – Deir Al-Balah road in further escalation in the ceaseless Israeli aggression on the Strip.

Arab League plan ‘outrageous meddling’ in Syria

Press TV – January 24, 2012
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says a new Arab League proposal that calls on President Bashar al-Assad to step down is “outrageous interference” in Syria’s internal affairs.

Muallem said in a press conference in the capital Damascus on Tuesday that Syria “will not accept the plan that infringes upon Syria’s sovereignty.”
On Sunday, the Arab League issued a statement after a meeting in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, calling on President Assad to “transfer power to the vice president to form a government of national unity within two months.”
Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, the head of the observer mission in Syria, said in a press conference in Cairo on Monday the situation has improved in Syria since the monitoring mission began on December 26, 2011.
The Syrian foreign minister said the Arab League has made “political decisions instead of discussing its observer mission’s report on Syria.”
Muallem added that the report proves that “armed gangs are still active in Syria and that the Syrian government is decisively fighting against them.”
Muallem’s remarks come as the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council member states jointly announced on Tuesday that the countries have decided to “follow Saudi Arabia’s decision to pull out its observers from the Arab League mission in Syria.” … Full article

Connect with the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for Academic Boycott of Israel

23 January 2012 | US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
A collective of students in Gaza has formed the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI). These students are seeking to expand their collaboration and participation in events and activities with solidarity activists at international universities.
PSCABI members participate in many activities here in Gaza and are heavily involved in supporting the international student solidarity movements, especially with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaigns. PSCABI members frequently write letters out of Gaza, some of which we have listed below, encouraging people to participate in the boycott and thanking people who have supported the Palestinian cause.
PSCABI members are available to share ideas, participate via Skype or other technology in remote events, organize and strategize together, hear about your activities and provide information and narratives as Palestinian university students for your distribution, and provide access to voices speaking directly from besieged Gaza.
please contact us at pscabi@usacbi.orgPast Letters from PSCABI

Jeffrey Goldberg pushes false neocon smear scrubbed by Washington Post

By Max Blumenthal – Al Akhbar – 2012-01-24
For nearly a month, a group of foreign policy researcher-bloggers at the Center for American Progress (CAP), an influential liberal think tank based in Washington DC, have faced an unrelenting smear campaign. The smears, initiated by former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block, focused on a few sardonic tweets by CAP bloggers that raised the ire of the pro-Israel and neoconservative political community. One tweet that included the term “Israel Firster” received special attention.

“This kind of demagoguery, anti-Israel invective, and in some cases actual hate speech, is absolutely wrong whether it comes from the extreme Right or Left, and like cancer, it has to be cut out before it metastasizes and destroys the whole body,” Block complained to Jennifer Rubin, a neoconservative columnist for the Washington Post who has accused CAP of “anti-Semitism” and who was recently scolded by the paper’s ombudsman for endorsing a screed advocating the slaughter of Palestinians.
Block’s campaign was transparently designed to force the Democratic establishment to disown a group of researchers who had generated an effective and factually solid counter narrative to the case for a military strike on Iran. And it was well orchestrated, receiving robust and sustained amplification from the right-wing of the pro-Israel community. By January 19, after a who’s who of neoconservative writers and right-leaning Jewish American groups called for the firing of the researchers, and weeks after the small handful of “controversial” tweets had been deleted and apologized for, the smears graduated onto the pages of the Washington Post. … continue

Israeli special forces kidnap Jerusalemite MP, minister from Red Cross premises

Palestine Information Center – 23/01/2012
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli special forces stormed the Red Cross premises in occupied Jerusalem on Monday and kidnapped MP Mohammed Totah and former Jerusalem minister Khaled Abu Arafa, the PIC reporter said.
He said that the Israeli forces took both officials to an unknown location, quoting relatives as expressing fears that they would be banished from Jerusalem similar to their colleagues Mohammed Abu Tir and Mohammed Attoun.
The Israeli intelligence warned Totah and Abu Arafa in a telephone call two weeks ago that they should leave the Red Cross premises and occupied Jerusalem within 48 hours.
The kidnap coincides with an escalation in the targeting of Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank the latest being a few days ago when the Israeli occupation soldiers arrested Palestinian parliament speaker Dr. Aziz Dweik and MP Mohammed Tafesh.

Obama Set to Use Military Intervention Against Longshoremen

By Ben Schreiner | Dissident Voice | January 23rd, 2012
A decisive struggle promising to shape the fate of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), West Coast dockworkers, and all organized labor is swiftly nearing a climax in Longview, Washington.
Within weeks, if not days, the international conglomerate EGT Development will seek to commence operations at its new $200 million export grain terminal at the Port of Longview.  In refusing to use ILWU labor, EGT is breaking the precedent in place since the 1930s, which holds that all public port docks up and down the West Coast are to be worked by the ILWU.
As ILWU Local 21 in Longview maintains, the union’s struggle against EGT’s scab facility is indicative of “the fight of working people everywhere.”  It is, as the union continues, “a make-or-break struggle for all organized labor.”

Yet, as the ILWU and its allies ready to fight EGT’s union busting, the US military lies in wait to intervene on the behalf of the conglomerate.
As ILWU International President Rob McEllrath disclosed in a January 3 letter:
We have been told that this vessel will be escorted by armed United States Coast Guard, including the use of small vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility.
The revelation that the Coast Guard (one of the five armed forces of the United States, and the lone military organization within the Department of Homeland Security) will be utilized to guard the EGT ship has drawn outrage and harsh condemnation from many within the labor community.  … continue

British Jews cancel Abbas meeting

Ma’an – 23/01/2012
TEL AVIV – Jewish community leaders in Britain canceled a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit to London last week, an Israeli newspaper reported Monday.
The meeting was supposed to be one of several Abbas has held with Jewish leaders around the world in an effort to increase pressure on Israel to move forward with peace talks, Haaretz reported.
However, the meeting in Britain was called off following a request from representatives of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and the Israeli Embassy in London, according to the report.
The British government sought to convince the Jewish leaders to hold the meeting, Haaretz said.

The report says the Palestinian envoy in London sought to arrange the meeting several weeks ago. Manuel Hassassian and British Foreign Office officials asked leaders of the Jewish community to attend.

UN rights chief urges US close Guantanamo

Al Akhbar | January 23, 2012
UN rights chief Navi Pillay on Monday lamented the United States’ failure to close the detention facility at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, three years after incoming President Barack Obama pledged to shut the camp.
“It is 10 years since the US government opened the prison at Guantanamo, and now three years since January 22, 2009, when the president ordered its closure within 12 months,” the High Commissioner for Human Rights said.
“Yet the facility continues to exist and individuals remain arbitrarily detained – indefinitely – in clear breach of international law,” she said in a statement.

Pillay said new legislation had only entrenched the system of arbitrary detention at Guantanamo Bay, that accepted its first prisoners on 11 January 2002.
The National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law in December 2011, “effectively codifies” indefinite military detention without charge or trial, she said.
“This piece of legislation contravenes some of the most fundamental tenets of justice and human rights, namely the right to a fair trial and the right not to be arbitrarily detained.” … Full article

US drone raids kill 5 in Pakistan

Press TV – January 23, 2012
At least five people have been killed in two strikes carried out by a US assassination drone in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, Press TV, reports.

Security officials said on Monday that the American drone targeted a vehicle and a house with two missiles, killing five people at Degan village near Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan on the Afghan border.
The death toll is expected to rise, and the rescue operation is underway in the area, local residents say. … Full article

Iran To Survive US Oil Embargo

Experts regard all this as an attempt by Washington to economically undermine the EU
By Konstantin Garibov | Voice of Russia | January 21, 2012

The ongoing US pressure on the European Union, Turkey, Japan, China and India to halt imports of Iranian oil and suspend any related financial transactions is facing resistance by oil importing companies and nations.
Last week India and Turkey refused to sign up to a proposed embargo on the import of Iranian crude, just days after the same had been announced by China.
Moreover, just as the EU is bracing itself for a decision on halting Iranian oil imports it will have to make on January 23, a number of Western companies are hastily extending their contracts with Iranian partners to avoid being hit by the proposed sanctions.
In an affront to Washington, India and Turkey have said although they would comply with the standing UN sanctions against Tehran, they would ignore oil embargoes introduced by individual countries. Iranian oil accounts for just under 10% of India’s needs and a hefty 30% of Turkish imports. … continue

Gingrich’s Major Backer Arch-Zionist Sheldon Adelson

America Hijacked | January 22nd, 2012

Gingrich’s faltering presidential campaign was completely resuscitated by a 5 million donation from Las Vegas casino king and super-Zionist Sheldon Adelson. (According to Wikipedia, Adelson is currently the 8th wealthiest American and 16th wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $23.3 billion.) Rising from the ashes, Gingrich now has won the South Carolina primary and has a decent chance of becoming the Republican presidential nominee.
Adelson has been the major backer of Gingrich for some time. A Washington Post article on the Adelson-Gingrich connection (though kept out of the first section of the paper) states: “Perhaps no other major presidential candidate in recent times has had his fortunes based so squarely on the contributions of a single donor, as Gingrich has on Adelson, who has spent millions in support of Gingrich and his causes over the past five years.” … continue

Israeli occupation forces arrest Palestinian human rights team

Palestine Information Center – 21/01/2012

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli occupation forces arrested a Palestinian human rights team in occupied Jerusalem while documenting the arrest of a Jerusalemite boy on Friday night.
Wadi Hilwa human rights center said in a statement on Saturday that its director Jawad Siyam, researcher Ahmed Qara’in, and cameraman Ahmed Siyam were arrested.
The center said that the detention was made while the team was documenting the arrest of the Jerusalemite boy Majd Hammad near the Maghareba gate of the Aqsa Mosque.

Soldiers raid community center, arrest local activist

Ma’an – 22/01/2012

HEBRON – Soldiers ransacked the office of a Palestinian community center in Hebron on Saturday and arrested the coordinator of a local coalition group.
Issa Amr, leader of a group called Youth Against Settlements, was blindfolded and detained.
“Soldiers took me to a military base in Tel Rumeida, they handcuffed and blindfolded me where I was brutally beaten for no reason. They also threatened to kill me, and settlers spat on me several times.
Then they chanted hate slogans and things like ‘each Arab dog will have its day’. After that, soldiers steered me in the streets as they chanted that Golani battalion is the best in the Israeli army,” Issa Amr told Ma’an after he was released. … continue

Facebook shows its tyrannical face, blocks solidarity page of hunger striker

Palestine Information Center – 22/01/2012
RAMALLAH — The facebook controllers erased a solidarity page protesting Israel’s arbitrary detention of Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan who has undergone open hunger strike since the first day of his arrest.
Facebook claimed the page was blocked because it was used to incite against Israel.
Information technology expert Ali Sa’eed said Zionist parties could be behind this unjust facebook decision.
He noted it was not the first time, facebook blocked pages supporting the Palestinian national cause and called for reopening other facebook pages to challenge its racist behavior.

No more back room deals — Users must have a voice in governing the Internet

By Kurt Opsahl | EFF | January 20, 2012
MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd gave an interview to the New York Times yesterday, in which “Mr. Dodd said he would welcome a summit meeting between Internet companies and content companies, perhaps convened by the White House, that could lead to a compromise.” While framed by the Times as his acceptance of defeat (the MPAA had rejected a prior meeting), the article shows that Dodd still doesn’t get it.

The former Senator hopes for a return to the traditional levers of power, where the laws are written by lobbyists, and sold by back-room deals negotiated behind closed doors. He wants to frame the debate as the comfortable story of a dispute between companies in Silicon Valley and companies in Hollywood, that would doubtless be resolved on the basis of who’s more connected or has better lobbying budgets ‒ or so he hopes. … continue

Corn Prices Rise Worldwide Due to U.S. Ethanol Policy

By Rudy Ruitenberg – Bloomberg – January 22, 2012
The use of corn to make ethanol in the U.S. is helping to lift the grain price worldwide, said Jose Graziano da Silva, the new director general of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. [...]
Corn futures closed at $6.115 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Jan. 20, almost triple the $2.1175 a bushel for the grain a decade ago. Part of the U.S. corn production is used to make ethanol for blending into gasoline as a fuel while rapeseed is used in Europe to make biodiesel. … Full article

Mobile nuclear meltdowns: Coming soon to a town near you?

By Vladimir Slivyak – Translated by Maria Kaminskaya | Bellona | January 18, 2012
MOSCOW – Some three hundred nuclear time bombs are to cross the vast expanses of Russia within the next dozen years as Moscow embarks on its plan to send special-purpose trains with spent nuclear fuel (SNF) burnt at the country’s commercial reactors to a storage facility in Siberia. That’s the “solution” the nuclear industry has come up with for the ever mounting problem of nuclear waste – take it cross-country and pile it up where it will threaten the environment and public health for generations to come.
The first train bound for Krasnoyarsk Region in Central Siberia – where a repository is being built for both Russia- and foreign-produced nuclear waste – will carry spent nuclear fuel generated at Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), a site near Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg, in the country’s northwest.
The date of departure – the first in a large-scale series of shipments devised to scoop up and stow away nuclear waste from all over the country – is being kept secret. The State Nuclear Corporation Rosatom plans to move some 22,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel to Siberia before 2025. This means three new trains loaded with dangerous waste – 300 shipments in total – will be arriving in the closed town of Zheleznogorsk, also known as Krasnoyarsk-26, every second month for the next thirteen years.

Shipments like these threaten the safety of residents of more than 15 large Russian cities that will happen to be on the way, urban centers like the Russian capital, Moscow, as well as St. Petersburg, Penza, Samara, Kirov, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk and so on – virtually every industrial hub on Russia’s enormous map. Even though the shipping routes have not been disclosed, simple logic suggests moving trains loaded with cargoes as massive and logistically sensitive as these will require major railroads – such as those that involve stations, links, and depots serving heavy-traffic areas. … continue

The Radioactive Waste Crisis

By LINDA PENTZ GUNTER | CounterPunch | January 20, 2012
Before the month of January is out, the US Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future will unveil the result of its two year-long investigation into what to do with the accumulated radioactive waste at the country’s nuclear power plants. By this year’s end, that waste will constitute a mountain 70 years high, with the first cupful generated on December 2, 1942 at the Fermi lab not far from Chicago when scientists first created a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

There remains no viable solution for either the management or certainly the “disposal” of nuclear waste. Yet, the one recommendation that will not be contained in the DOE report is to stop making any more of it.  While a child would never be allowed to continue piling up toys in his or her room indefinitely, failing to tidy up the mess, the nuclear industry continues to be permitted to manufacture some of the world’s most toxic detritus without a cleanup plan.
A sneak peak last July at the Commission’s draft report confirms that no new miracles are to be unveiled this month. Its preferred “solution” appears to be “centralized interim” storage, an allegedly temporary but potentially permanent parking lot dumpsite for highly radioactive waste that, based on past practices, will likely be targeted for an Indian reservation or a poor community of color. “Centralized interim” storage sites for the country’s irradiated reactor fuel rods could easily become permanent if no suitable geological repository site is found. It will mean transporting the waste from reactors predominantly located east of the Mississippi to a likely more remote, western location. And these wastes would then have to be moved again, transported past potentially 50 million homes, en route to a “permanent” dump site… continue

US to send old warship to Persian Gulf

Press TV – January 22, 2012
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has vowed to maintain a fleet of eleven warships despite budget pressures, mostly to project sea power against Iran.
On board of the oldest US aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, Panetta told the crowd of 1,700 sailors that the 50-year-old ship is heading to the Persian Gulf region in a direct message to Tehran.

“The reason we maintain a presence in the Middle East … We want them to know that we are fully prepared to deal with any contingency and it’s better for them to try to deal with us through diplomacy,” Panetta said.
The USS Enterprise is the oldest active duty ship in the American naval fleet and its mission dates back to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and the Vietnam War.
The decision to maintain 11 warships comes at a time when the US economy is facing a national debt of more than USD 15 trillion after a decade of costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… Full article

Is Israel Planning ‘Pearl Harbor’ False Flag Attack in the Persian Gulf?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | January 21, 2012

In a January 9 op-ed in the Jerusalem Post magazine, Avi Perry, a former intelligence expert for the Israeli government, appears to be hinting how Israel plans to induce the United States into attacking Iran:
Iran, just like Nazi Germany in the 1940s, will take the initiative and “help” the US president and the American public make up their mind by making the first move, by attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian attack on an American military vessel will serve as a justification and a pretext for a retaliatory move by the US military against the Iranian regime. The target would not be Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US would retaliate by attacking Iran’s navy, their military installations, missile silos, airfields. The US would target Iran’s ability to retaliate, to close down the Strait of Hormuz. The US would then follow by targeting the regime itself. … continue