Sunday, December 16, 2007

Who is this prat?

Who is this prat?

Well, he's just another one of those British flunkeys sent out to Palestine to pay obeisance to the occupying power, and get committed British Jews to vote for New Labour (or whatever-party-needs- their-votes).


Britain is staking its claim
By Adar Primor
Tags: Douglas Alexander, Israel
Some call him "Gordon Brown's Dick Cheney", he is defined as the British prime minister's confidante and considered to be a politician with influence on the Labor Party and government policy. Douglas Alexander, 40, is also a key figure to understanding the new government in London, to comprehending the prime minister's global policies, and to grasping Brown's mottos, including "vision for change" and "hard-headed internationalism."
As the wonder-boy of British politics, Alexander has been put in charge of one of the prime minister's most favorite priorities: the international development portfolio. Both Brown and Alexander believe that they can use this to fix the world, or at least improve it.
Last week Brown unveiled his plan for this policy arena, which is based on seven "emergency development" goals covering such areas as poverty, education, health and sanitation. He also announced that he would begin talks with 20 major multinational corporations, including Google, Vodafone and Goldman Sachs, with the aim of establishing cooperation in achieving these emergency goals.
Brown's conceptual doctrine fits Alexander's idealism.
Even as a child, he was preoccupied with weighty global matters. While his friends were romping on the beach, Alexander chose to listen to a speech delivered by former German chancellor Willy Brandt in Glasgow. Brandt was speaking about poverty in Africa, and Alexander often says that his ardor to provide aid was ignited back then. As a student he traveled to Kenya, within the framework of a special project to build a school. "I entered politics to change the world," he said after joining Brown's cabinet, adding that the portfolio he was awarded means he now has the means to further that goal.
Brown and Alexander, together with Foreign Minister David Miliband, intend to place "development" smack at the center of Britain's international policy. They consider economic progress as key to solving even the thorniest political problems. This, for instance, is true for Iraq and Afghanistan, which Prime Minister Brown visited last week; and also for Palestine, where Brown sent his youthful International Development secretary and ally.
Alexander bore a triple message on his visit last week to the Palestinian Authority and to Israel: to lay Britain's stake and show presence; to encourage the parties participating in the renewed peace process; and to criticize one of the parties -- Israel -- for creating obstacles en route to the grail that is a final peace agreement. In an interview with Haaretz, Alexander says that his visit was designed to show the importance London accords to the process that began at Annapolis. The visit was timed to coincide with the critical period between the summit and the first post-Annapolis meeting between Israelis and Palestinians, which was held last Wednesday, and before the meeting of donor nations in Paris this week -- whose British delegation will be headed by Alexander. But Alexander didn't come here just to make statements. At his meetings with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and with the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saeb Erekat, the secretary presented them with a 243-million pound ($500 million) contribution Britain means to give the Palestinians over three years, depending on progress in the peace process. "As friends of the Palestinian people and as friends of Israel, we believe that the process begun at Annapolis is vital and worthy of our support, not only political but economic as well," Alexander says.
A senior political source in Israel says the secretary's visit corresponds with Brown's intention to demonstrate a prominent British presence on the ground. "Brown wants to demonstrate an active foreign policy in the Middle East," says the source. "He won't be satisfied by the mere presence of his predecessor and today's Quartet envoy, Tony Blair, in the region."
Brown's assertiveness is also evident in his decision to appoint Michael Williams, an assistant to former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, as his special envoy to the Middle East. Alexander himself says that he does not see Brown's conduct as a battle over prestige with the former prime minister. He speaks of "tight cooperation" with his friend and former boss, Blair, who was the first prime minister to bring Alexander into the cabinet, and he says that he likes and even admires the former prime minister. He believes that Blair's capacities could bring about more economic development and help lay the foundations for the future Palestinian nation. In the final analysis, Alexander says, Blair's actions and those of the British government complement each other. Just like Blair, Alexander views the roadblocks in the West Bank as a big obstacle to Palestinian economic development. And like Brown, he grew up in a religious household in Scotland and does not hesitate to use a moral tone to justify his policy: He took advantage of his meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak to protest the plan to build 300 housing units in the Har Homa settlement and to express his concern lest "the opportunity created at Annapolis be missed." Furthermore, Alexander turns Israel's demand that the Palestinians stop all forms of terrorism as a precondition for the peace process on its head. "Israel is committed to the first stage of the road map," he says, and it is therefore incumbent upon it to halt all settlement activity. Given present-day conditions, could a permanent agreement be reached by the end of 2008? To meet the Annapolis schedule, Alexander says, what's needed are goodwill, determination, imagination and courage on both sides. He already found all these characteristics in Abbas and Erekat. End of the poodle era? Last month Brown gave his first foreign policy speech. He spoke of "hard-headed internationalism," referring to a borderless global society; to a multilateral world, not one with a single superpower; a world of united nations, not of unilateral adventurism; a world that battles poverty rather than radical Islam. Pundits hastened to link his speech to his July visit to Camp David, where he met with U.S. President George W. Bush. His chilly body language said it all: there will be no more British poodles for Bush. The dog wasn't wagging its tail any more. It was turning its back on its owner and setting off on its own path. The change was demonstrated by Brown's decision to withdraw all British soldiers from Basra, Iraq, by Christmas. It was also evident in the speech Alexander delivered in Washington last July, where he called for the establishment of new alliances based on shared values. Alexander denies having had any intention of criticizing the Bush government in his speech. "The speech wasn't anti-American or anti-Bush. The main point of the speech was the importance of international development and how it fits into diplomatic work," he says. "The main idea was that international development can't be unilateral, where we take out own positions and impose them on other countries; but rather that we should make it a multilateral process where everyone who is involved and affected should have a say." He also notes that when Brown served as cabinet member in 2003, he supported sending British forces to Iraq, and hints that he wouldn't have acted differently than Blair, had he been in his shoes at the time. Jerusalem tends to accept Alexander's explanations. The difference between Brown and Blair boils down to style, not substance, local officials say. The conduct of Brown's government was designed merely to assuage public opinion, which hadn't forgiven Blair for his part in the bungled war in Iraq. As for relations with Israel, London seems to be warming. Upgrading relations Alexander is short, blue-eyed, baby-faced. He is surrounded by an entourage of about 10 aides and consultants who give him that "favorite" status in cabinet. Some might say his serious expression and rapid-fire responses throughout the interview are meant to contrast his physical profile. He declines to draw links between the recent American intelligence report on Iran and the intelligence on Iraq before the war, which proved to be far off the mark. But he clarifies, "The latest report does not change our basic position that the international community should approve stricter sanctions against Iran." He won't comment on the interpretation of some that the report puts an end to military options against Iran, but does say firmly: "As long as Iran continues its uranium enrichment program it will continue to pose a threat to the region. We will push for a third UN Security Council resolution imposing further sanctions on Iran because we cannot stand aside while Iran continues its proliferation-sensitive activities." Last month Foreign Minister Miliband visited Jerusalem and declared that he would take advantage of Israel's 60th anniversary to upgrade strategic relations between the two countries. Alexander supports the initiative and is especially keen on expanding cooperation between Israeli hi-tech firms and London's financial markets, and Britain's hi-tech economy in general. How does that sit with his country's public opinion, which is among the hardest on Israel throughout Europe? How does that fit in with British initiatives to boycott Israeli academia and goods? Or with the lively debate on Israel's right to exist and the fear of the long arm of British justice among some top Israeli security officials? When it comes to these matters, Alexander is evasive and ostrich-style, shoving his head firmly into the sand. I don't know that Britain, he says, and immediately adds that Britain's relations with Israel are multiform and strong, and have the potential to further strengthen. That is the main mission for both countries in the years to come, he concludes. The Jewish scandal Alexander's visit to Israel took place at the height of a scandal involving illegal donations to Britain's Labor Party. The affair rocked the party and prompted theories about a Jewish and Israeli conspiracy in the kingdom. It all started two weeks ago when the Mail on Sunday revealed that Jewish millionaire David Abrahams had secretly donated 600,000 pounds, or $1.4 million, to the ruling party through front-men. Abrahams, who admitted to the donation, said that the Laborites who knew of his donations included Jon Mendelsohn, Brown's chief money-raiser and a Jew as well. Speaking with the Jewish Chronicle two weeks ago, Abrahams said he had acted covertly because he didn't want to link "Jewish money" to the Labor Party. Later he claimed that his words had been taken out of context but did say that the conduct of the British press proved that he was right to fear that his donation would be considered part of a "Jewish conspiracy." Most of Abrahams' wealth comes from real estate business. He is considered a major benefactor to both education in Israel and to Jewish education in Britain. He also has close ties with some Israeli politicians. The British media didn't miss any of that, nor the fact that until 2002 he had been deputy leader of the "Friends of Israel in Labor" organization, which aims to bring elements in the party closer to Israel. In a piece headlined "Hunt for 'mystery benefactor' in Gordon Brown's donations scandal," the Daily Telegraph published a picture of Abrahams shaking hands with former Israeli ambassador Zvi Hefeitz. The hint was loud and clear: The illegal donations originated in Israel. Some voices in the British media linked the donations to Tony Blair's pro-Israel policy. As this and other scandals lowered Labor's approval ratings to 13 percent below the conservative opposition, Jewish elements expressed grave concern about repercussions affecting the Jewish community. A senior political source in Israel told Haaretz that he feared bilateral relations could suffer, too. "It will certainly make it harder to raise funds, attract investors, and organize meetings and visits," he said. Douglas Alexander's name also arose in the context, through his sister, Wendy Alexander, a Labor leader in the Scottish parliament, who is also suspected of receiving an illegal donation. Asked about the ramifications of the scandal, Douglas Alexander says the government must remain constantly alert to the possibility of anti-Semitic outbursts. But he has faith in interfaith dialog and in the close inter-community relations being forged in Britain. He chooses to praise the "efficient and impressive" advocate of the Jewish community, none other than Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, whose last book - a controversial tome about multiculturalism in society - Alexander is currently reading. He also has warm words for other members of the Jewish community who, he says, are making a terrific contribution to modern life in Britain. Moreover, he is confident that the bilateral relations between Israel and Britain will not suffer in the aftermath; they are as strong as ever, he says.

Moreover, he is confident that the bilateral relations between Israel and Britain will not suffer in the aftermath; they are as strong as ever, he says.

Well, as Winston Churchill said, once, when sober: "Jaw-jaw is better than War-war".

Lebanon buries general

I've seen those bastards blowing up bits of Beirut, (and so have you) so I view this story with all the cynicism that comes from years of seeing the neighbourhood bully messing up the neighbours.

Lebanon buries general, France sends warning
Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:10pm EST
By Nadim Ladki

BEIRUT, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Lebanon's army urged feuding politicians to set aside their differences and resolve the country's political crisis on Friday at the funeral of an assassinated general.

Brigadier General Francois al-Hajj was killed in a car bomb on Wednesday, the ninth figure to be assassinated in Lebanon in less than three years. He was the first military officer to be killed. The other attacks targeted anti-Syrian figures.

Hajj, who had good ties to Syria's allies in Lebanon including Hezbollah, had been tipped to take over as army chief from General Michel Suleiman, who could be elected president by parliament as early as next week.

"In the name of your precious blood, we urge everyone to take a brave historic decision that would lead us to building confidence and communication between the sides and achieve reconciliation and consensus without any preconditions," Major General Shawki al-Masri, the army's chief of staff, told the funeral service for Hajj at a church north of Beirut.

Masri said "blood messages", such as Hajj's killing, were meant to weaken the foundations of Lebanon, as well as the army.

Schools, banks and public offices across the country were closed for a day of mourning.

The funeral coincided with a stark warning from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who said the Lebanese parliament must pick a new president on Monday.

The French leader, whose country led
[read: tried to strong-arm] mediation efforts between the Lebanese Western-backed ruling coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition, warned that any country which intervened to prevent a [their] deal would be isolated. [Except, of course, if the intervening country was Israel]

"Monday is the day of the last chance. France appeals to all parties, internally and externally, to work so that Lebanon can get a president of unity and consensus," Sarkozy told a news conference following a European Union summit in Brussels.

What can you possibly say about a comment on the situation by Sarkozy the Sayanim ?

Except: It's about time the Frogs (and the Rosbifs) and the Yanks f***ed off out of it, and let the Middle East do its own thing.

Israel's Palestinians Speak Out

I've written here about Israel's Niggers. Some of them are high yaller coloureds (Sephardim) but others, 20% of the nation's population, are well and truly third-class citizens of the 'only Democracy in the Middle East'.

Here's a report from one of them (lifted in toto from Information Clearing House which is a very, very good online source of real news and worthwhile op-eds.
Israel's Palestinians Speak Out
By Nadim Rouhana

12/14/07 "ICH" --- - - The Annapolis peace talks regard me as an interloper in my own land. Israel's deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, argues that I should "take [my] bundles and get lost." Henry Kissinger thinks I ought to be summarily swapped from inside Israel to the would-be Palestinian state.

I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship--one of 1.4 million. I am also a social psychologist trained and working in the United States. In late November, on behalf of Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research, I polled Palestinian citizens of Israel regarding their reactions to the Annapolis conference and their views about our future, and how they would be affected by Middle East peace negotiations.

During Israel's establishment, three-quarters of a million Palestinians were driven from their homes or fled in fear. They remain refugees to this day, scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza, the Arab world and beyond. We Palestinian citizens of Israel are among the minority who managed to remain on our land. Like many Mexican-Americans, we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us. We have been struggling ever since against a system that subjects us to separate and unequal treatment because we are Palestinian Arabs--Christian, Muslim and Druze--not Jewish. More than twenty Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews.

The Palestinian Authority is under intense pressure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is not a matter of semantics. If Israel's demand is granted, the inequality that we face as Palestinians--roughly 20 percent of Israel's population--will become permanent.

The United States, despite being settled by Christian Europeans fleeing religious persecution, has struggled for decades to make clear that it is not a "Christian nation." It is in a similar vein that Israel's indigenous Palestinian population rejects the efforts of Israel and the United States to seal our fate as a permanent underclass in our own homeland.

We are referred to by leading Israeli politicians as a "demographic problem." In response, many in Israel, including the deputy prime minister, are proposing land swaps: Palestinian land in the occupied territories with Israeli settlers on it would fall under Israel's sovereignty, while land in Israel with Palestinian citizens would fall under Palestinian authority.

This may seem like an even trade. But there is one problem: no one asked us what we think of this solution. Imagine the hue and cry were a prominent American politician to propose redrawing the map of the United States so as to exclude as many Mexican-Americans as possible, for the explicit purpose of preserving white political power. Such a demagogue would rightly be denounced as a bigot. Yet this sort of hyper-segregation and ethnic supremacy is precisely what Israeli and American officials are considering for many Palestinian citizens of Israel -- and hoping to coerce Palestinan leaders into accepting.

Looking across the Green Line, we realize that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no mandate to negotiate a deal that will affect our future. We did not elect him. Why would we give up the rights we have battled to secure in our homeland to live inside an embryonic Palestine that we fear will be more like a bantustan than a sovereign state? Even if we put aside our attachment to our homeland, Israel has crushed the West Bank economy--to say nothing of Gaza's--and imprisoned its people behind a barrier. There is little allure to life in such grim circumstances, especially since there is the real prospect of further Israeli sanctions, which could make a bad situation worse.

In the poll I just conducted, nearly three-quarters of Israel's Palestinian citizens rejected the idea of the Palestinian Authority making territorial concessions that involve them, and 65.6 percent maintained that the PA also lacked the mandate to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Nearly 80 percent declared that it lacks the mandate to relinquish the right of Palestinian refugees--affirmed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948 and reaffirmed many times--to return to their homes and properties inside Israel.

Palestinians inside Israel have developed a history and identity after nearly sixty years of hard work and struggle. We are not simply pawns to be shuffled to the other side of the board. We expect no more and no less than the right to equality in the land of our ancestors. Israeli Jews have now built a nation, and have the right to live here in peace. But Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic, nor can it find the security it seeks by continuing to deny our rights, nor those of Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, nor those of Palestinian refugees. It is time for us to share this land in a true democracy, one that honors and respects the rights of both peoples as equals.

Nadim Rouhana is Henry Hart Rice Professor of Conflict Analysis at George Mason University and heads the Haifa-based Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

King of the Gossip

A few weeks ago, I received a strange e-mail:
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2007 04:50:35 -0800 (PST)
From: "roy" ( Add to Address Book
Subject: Notes From a Small Island : GL's Public Park Killed
roy has sent you a link to a blog:

Richard Parker the king of the gossip in siargao island

Blog: Notes From a Small Island
Post: GL's Public Park Killed
Which I thought was a compliment.

If, after all, I'm gossiping about island life, what's better than to be King of it?

Well, doesn't exist as an email address. "Roy" is a Belgian resident of the town, who feels much as I do about a certain Andreas.
So, it was a bit of clever computer hackery, used very stupidly.
Then, this week, I was out swimming in the sea just opposite my back garden (which I have to reach by a 200 yard detour because Andreas has closed off my right of way to the sea) and I heard and saw his young son, the eponymous Patrick, standing on the high tide mark, shouting:
"Richard - Hari nan Chismis" - "Richard - The King of Gossip!"
I ignored him completely, and that certainly riled his mother, who used to be such a nice young lady.

So now I know where my mysterious emails come from.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tree Chopper

My wonderful neighbour, Andreas Mikolewicz, a German-Polish-American fellow who is trying his damnedest to "Car-ibb-e-anise" this lovely island, has started to chop down what is left of the local forest.
(Well, it's not really a local forest, it's a couple of bits of feral coconut plantation to the left and right of the road that leads out of GL towards Cloud 9, the 'famous' surfing spot).
It used to be a sort of green forest gateway; an archway of coconut palms leading out of the town.
But then, Andreas 'bought' the land to the left, a couple of years ago.
The local people, through their barangay council, complained bitterly that he left it to waste. The dropped coconut fronds were never cleared up, and other plants couldn't grow through them, so, for about 100 metres on the left hand side of GL's gateway to Cloud 9, there was a vermin-ridden wasteland (rats like coconut-frond-sheltered homesteads).
The inhabitants of Mabua (Purok Alingit) on the right hand side, who have built their huts amongst the coconut trees, without destroying any of them, became a bit concerned. (They have a right to be so; Andreas has cut off their access to their local swimming hole, set dogs on their children, and put up a concentration-camp-style barbed wire fence to keep them off his his 'property').

Now he's chopped all those coconut trees down (I think he really doesn't want to pay anything for 'his own' timber, and probably has plans for a highway strip mall leading out from GL).
If you think I'm exaggerating about the hypocrisy of this fellow, then read his website:
"HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HUNGRY? I mean really hungry – if not picture this!
Mentally place your home in an area without running water and electricity. Now remove EVERYTHING in your house that uses either electricity or running water. Remove all carpeting and stuffed furniture, including the bed. Replace this with a straw mat or cardboard. No floors, no slab, just bare earth and a leaky roof made of leftover tin and damaged plywood. Take out all the screens in your house. While you’re at it remove the windows and the doors. No grass around the house. Got a good picture? Good. Now picture yourself with no car, or bike, or shoes for that matter.
No job, No unemployment or No welfare checks. You have No money, No bank accounts, No credit cards, No refrigerator, No ice and No food. You are hungry, and to make matters worse, your children are hungry. On top of that they are sick, full of worms and usually naked. This is the AVERAGE home in Haiti, Philippines, Africa and India.
These are people just like you and me except born with little or no hope and no opportunities.
We invite you to meet some of these wonderful & special people:
Yes, here are several opportunities that you truly can make a difference! Especially now with all the dreadful world events we have an opportunity to show the world especially those who don’t like us that we really care. With a little help by everyone we not only can save the lives of millions of starving children but we will also plant the seed of “To Love – To Care – To Share” to guarantee a better future for those we don’t know as well as our children.
1. Opportunity #1 – Receive “A Gift For Your Donation”
2. Opportunity #2 ”Become a MESSENGER OF JOY” Fundraiser Partner Our Partners are rewarded with Financial Benefits, Reduced and Free Vacations & Lots of great Savings.
3. Visit our
Beach Resort & Orphanage Sanctuary in the Siargao Island in the Philippines.
4. Purchase our products Dried Fruits and Wood Carvings

Messenger Of Joy Foundation
14721 S. Biscayne River Drive
Miami, FL 33168
Tel (305) 687-4107
Fax (305) 769-9924

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Great Siege of Gaza - Part 2

Well, expect an attack in full force on Gaza anytime now.

The Annapolis sham is over, and the invitations are in the trash can.

The Israeli daily newspaper Maariv reported that the chances of a major Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip have increased now the Annapolis conference is over.

An Israeli military spokesman said that "the Israeli response will come swiftly" if any projectiles are fired across the border. All troops are trained and ready for an invasion, according to the Israeli army. Israeli forces have killed ten Palestinians in Gaza over the last week, by air strikes and missiles fired from ships stationed offshore. An outright invasion of Gaza, one of the most crowded places on earth, would likely result in much higher casualties.

Meanwhile, Palestinian forces are striking back, forcing huge losses on Israelis:

Qassam strike kills 7 cows on kibbutz near Gaza
...milk production was expected to fall over the coming days.

To put that in context, read The Great Siege of Gaza - Part 1

The Great Siege of Gaza - Part 1

Very few reports come out of Gaza these days, because most international news agencies avoid the place. But read See Gaza and Weep if you want to know how things really are:


The purpose of our visit was to bring moral support to elderly Fr. Manuel, who ministers to his flock, runs an excellent school (for Christians and Muslims) and is revered as a local hero. Should he ever leave Gaza, the Israeli authorities will not allow his return, so he has allowed himself to be incarcerated there for 9 years. He’d had no visitors since February and when he heard we were coming, said a colleague, he burst into tears.
...Israel has banned fishing off the Gaza coast, ruined the livelihoods of 3,000 licensed fishermen and their families, and impoverished the local diet. The military fires on boats that defy the ban.
...Gaza is just 365 sq km - 45 km long, up to 12 km wide and entirely sealed from the outside world by an Israeli fence guarded by watchtowers, snipers and tanks. Israel controls Gaza’s airspace, coastal waters and airwaves. A vast prison with air-strikes, beach shelling, troops, tanks, armoured bulldozers, uncaring of civilian casualties.
...Gaza could easily blossom into a coastal paradise; a prosperous, independent trading state. But Israel's hatred of Gaza and its people is terrifying. The economy is strangulated and for 1.5 million souls, life is hell.
...Flour to make bread has doubled in price; cement for concrete to repair damaged homes and infrastructure has gone up 1,000 percent! Some schools are having to teach three shifts a day. It is truly a humanitarian crisis, as the UN and various charities have repeatedly warned Western governments. A friend emailed: “Today in Gaza ... we have no cement to build graves for those who die.”
Cancer patients: Of 450 patients 35% are children and 25% women. They are forbidden to leave Gaza for medical treatment or surgery. For many, there is no medication because cancer drugs cannot cross the border.
Hemodialysis machines: Of 69 machines in 4 hospitals 20 are out of order. Israel blocks supply of spares deeming them not humanitarian items. 3 more have exceeded their design

Stock levels

Zero stock of 85 items of essential medical drugs.
Zero stock of 12 items of essential psychiatric drugs.
2 weeks’ stock of anaesthetics for surgery, after which the theatres will close down.
Zero stock of X-ray bags and sterilization bags.
Near zero stock of stationery: medical files and examination forms. These are re-used several times risking errors in documentation.
Severe shortage of cloth and dressings, barely enough body bags and hospital bed covers. Zero stocks of patients' food in all hospitals.
2 weeks’ stock of hospital cleaning fluids.
Diesel and gas stocks for under 15 days.

The total number of people who died as a result of the border closure since June has risen to 44. (Refers to hospital patients only)

It is estimated that a thousand patients – advanced cases of kidney disease and cancer and those badly injured by Israeli air-strikes - need immediate transfers. In the meantime, Israel blackmails chronically sick patients. If they agree to inform on relatives and friends they can cross the border for treatment… if not they can “stay in Gaza and die”.

...back to Erez and its state-of-the-art de-humanisation, to shuffle through a maze of steel gates, cattle pens and a sinister X-ray machine, on Israeli command, and queue interminably for questioning by the rudest people on earth.Only 50 or 60 people had gone through the crossing that day, so the 3-hour hold-up was entirely down to Israeli bloody-mindedness.

...tell us, Mr Gordon Brown, why is Britain complicit in such a base and cowardly scheme? We hit bottom in Iraq… how much lower can we sink?

Then see this:
"A matter of revenge": Israel denying medical treatment to Gaza
"Upon arrival at the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, the Shabak officers start interrogating patients, demanding them to give the Shabak information about friends and neighbors. When a patient refuses to give such information, the Shabak sends him back to Gaza," explained Miri Weingarten of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR), based in Tel Aviv.

Gaza's only power plant was bombed by Israeli F16s in June last year.

High Court orders state to delay planned power cuts to Gaza at least one week, pending a full presentation detailing the proposed operation.
...the justices upheld the state's plan to reduce fuel transfers to the Strip

Dig Another Hole - Chickenhawks Cluck From Top of Dung Heap

Pakistan’s Collapse, Our Problem By FREDERICK W. KAGAN (the intellectual architect of the Iraq 'surge' and MICHAEL O’HANLON (his Democrat counterpart, who has backed war with Iraq since 2002 and is a chief proponent of a long-term occupation of Iraq).
Think Progress reports their positively daft proposition:
[T]he United States simply could not stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss. … We need to think — now — about our feasible military options in Pakistan, should it really come to that. … Pakistan may be the next big test.
In the op-ed, they recommend the use of Special Forces to secure the nukes, or a “broader option” requiring “a sizable combat force.” “Somehow, American forces would have to team with Pakistanis to secure critical sites and possibly to move the material to a safer place,” they write. “Moderate Muslim nations” would join the U.S. in organizing a combat force in Pakistan.
The duo claims it is not “strategically prudent to withdraw our forces from an improving situation in Iraq to implement these plans. But such a plan would eviscerate the “out of balance” U.S. military, according to Gen. George Casey.
The National Security Network adds:
Kagan and O’Hanlon clearly have a hidden stash of U.S. soldiers. Even if you were sending “just” 40,000-50,000, our military could not sustain that operation without taking our troops out of Iraq.
O’Hanlon and Kagan’s strategy depends on cooperation from Pakistan and “moderate Muslim nations,” but such cooperation is unlikely as President Bush’s approval rating in Pakistan is currently at nine percent and at similar levels across the Muslim world.
The comments on the ThinkProgress post say it all:

I say we should just invade everyone. Let’s start by invading Scotland and confiscating all the whisky.
Comment by
gummitch — November 19, 2007 @ 2:45 pm
Eraserhead and the Pillsbury Blowboy… hardly the Dynamic Duo…
This country really is having a nervous breakdown.
Comment by The Republic of Stupidity — November 19, 2007 @
2:45 pm
Ah, man! They’ve left out India, Sri Lanka, and those bastards from Diego Garcia! How the hell am I supposed to feel safe knowing that D.G. is working hard to acquire a bomb of some sort….or maybe its a road flare….

"Why Don't They Like Us?"

In a previous post, I mentioned that the world was fed up with Americans because China refused to let the US Navy go on holiday in Hong Kong.
So what do the prats do? They pack up, and turn for home, deliberately passing through the Taiwan Strait to provoke China:
Tokyo, Japan (AHN) - After the Chinese government initially refused to allow a U.S. warship to dock in Hong Kong last week, sources say the Navy ordered the vessels to return to port in Japan, and to specifically travel along the contentious Taiwan Strait on its way back to Yokosuka.
The United States has cautiously avoided traveling through the Taiwan Strait since 1996, when Taiwan's first presidential vote created turmoil. However, sources say that following China's rejection on November 21, six aircraft carriers, including the USS Kitty Hawk, moved in the South China Sea, crossing the Taiwan Strait.
According to Japanese reports, the U.S. Navy carriers deployed aircraft to the flight decks in preparation for launch, if the situation called for it.

Hubris: Excessive pride to the point that a mortal challenges the superiority of the gods; Hubris is a fatal flaw which is inevitably punished.
Shit-shifting: If you've dug yourself deep into a pile of manure, and find it difficult to get out without the stuff all over your face, go straight to the other side of the pile and dig another hole.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

tell the rapist and the victim to sort it out

That, in a nutshell, is what Annapolis has been all about- like umpteen 'Peace Conferences' over the past 60 years
Compare those maps with this:

World Fed Up With Americans

I don't think most Americans realise what damage their current government's policies and behaviour are doing to their image abroad.
I was born just 10 days after Pearl Harbor, and all my life has been dominated by the perception that American values, way of life, liberty, freedom, democracy, etc should be aspired to by the rest of us.

Now, I look at the following report, see that America's bully-boats aren't even wanted in the Orient's prime shopping mall, and I realise the party's over:

US Pacific Commander Criticizes China on Naval Issue
By Al Pessin Pentagon27 November 2007

The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific has criticized China for denying three U.S. Navy ships access to Hong Kong Harbor in recent weeks, saying the decisions were not responsible.

When the boss of a huge naval fleet bleats that:

"....hundreds of family members of the task force's crew had flown to Hong Kong at their own expense to meet the ship and spend the holiday with their loved ones" , but were denied conjugal rights, you know the world's falling apart.

What holiday with their 'loved ones' ?

Well, I think that might have been 'Thanksgiving' when Americans celebrate their conquest of the poor buggers who inhabited their country before they arrived.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Annapolis - What a fuck-up

George Bush's speechwriter actually wrote this, and GWB dutifully mouthed it during his opening address at Annapolis:

"And when liberty takes root in Iraqi soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions across the Middle East who want their societies built on freedom and peace and hope."

- according to the Jerusalem Post:

He also said:

"Our purpose here in Annapolis is not to conclude an agreement. Rather, it is to launch negotiations ....."
(Giving Israel more time to build walls, divisive roads, steal the water, and settle Russians in 'the Palestinian homeland'.)

"The emergence of responsible Palestinian leaders has given Israeli leaders the confidence they need ...."
(Abu Mazen, I told you I need three cubes of ice in my whisky, not two!)

"Second, the time is right because a battle is underway for the future of the Middle East - and we must not cede victory...."
(And we won't, even if we've built the biggest ever helicopter rescue pad on earth in the middle of Baghdad)

"President Abbas and his government....are offering the Palestinian people....a homeland of their own...."
(Or whatever is left of where they've been living for countless generations already)

"We're here because....We're here because....We're here."

"For these negotiations to succeed, the Palestinians must do their part. "
(Shut up and die)

"The United States will help Palestinian leaders build these free institutions - and the United States will keep its commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people. "
(The United States has recently shown the whole world exactly how it builds its own 'free institutions'. Think Guantanamo.)

"The task begun here at Annapolis will be difficult. This is the beginning of the process, not the end of it - and no doubt a lot of work remains to be done. Yet the parties can approach this work with confidence. The time is right. The cause is just. And with hard effort, I know they can succeed. "
(Now where have I ever heard that crap before, during half a century of 'negotiations'?)

"President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, I pledge to devote my effort during my time as ..."
( alcoholic lame duck...)

"Thanks for coming. May God bless their work"
(Whose work?)

It's now Wednesday, 28 November 2007. I predict, with some confidence, that the Israeli delegation will return home, recover a little from jet lag, and launch a Shock 'n Awe campaign on Gaza by this weekend, and no-one will give a shit, because 'the Palestinians, once again, haven't done their part'.

To all of those who predicted this flim-flam would be a failure, I can only retort:

"Did you think it would be as bad as this?"

Saturday, November 24, 2007

War is Nuts

While Israel lobbies loudly for an end to Iran's nuclear development, up to and including 'pre-emptive attacks', with its usual hypocrisy (Israel is the Middle East's only existing nuclear power), another major conflict has erupted between Israel and it's vassal state, the almighty USA.
U.S. officials demanding halt to indirect Israel imports of Iranian pistachio nuts
The reddish nuts are landing in Israeli shops after funneling through Turkey, violating Israeli law that bans all Iranian imports and angering American officials who are urging Israel to crack down as part of their attempt to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Keenum said in a meeting with Israeli officials in Rome on Monday that the pistachio imports must stop, a U.S. official confirmed Wednesday.

[Israeli Agriculture Minister] Simchon said a recent meeting with a senior U.S. agriculture official focused on using technology to detect the origin of pistachios. He said that would involve chemical testing to determine the climate and soil of where the nuts were grown.

California is the second largest producer of pistachios in the world, according to the former California Pistachio Coalition. Iran is first.

"As a proud native of the golden state (California), I think Israelis should eat American pistachios, not Iranian ones," said Stewart Tuttle, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Palestinian State - Solution for Israel's Niggers?

This statement, by Tzipi Livni, Israel's Foreign Minister takes the ethnic cleansing of the 'Jewish State' a whole lot further:
Livni: Palestinian state - solution for Israeli Arabs as well
"The future Palestinian state would serve as a national solution for the Palestinians of the West Bank, those living in the refugee camps and those who are citizens with equal rights in the Jewish state, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated Sunday. "
In other words:
- We can use this opportunity (Annapolis) to get rid of our fellow 'Israeli democratic citizens' by cooking up a new 'state' beyond the 'fence'.
- We'll deal with the Sephardis later.
Born in Tel Aviv, Livni is the daughter of Eitan Livni, a Polish-born former Irgun member and Likud member of the Knesset. Her mother, Sara (nee Rosenberg) also fought in the Irgun.
Irgun (Hebrew: ארגון‎; shorthand for Ha'Irgun Ha'Tsvai Ha'Leumi B'Eretz Yisrael, הארגון הצבאי הלאומי בארץ ישראל, "National Military Organization in the Land of Israel") was a Zionist militant group that operated in Palestine from 1931 to 1948, as a militant offshoot of the earlier and larger Haganah (Hebrew: "The Defense", ההגנה) Jewish paramilitary organization. In Israel, Irgun is commonly referred to as Etzel (אצ"ל), an acronym of the Hebrew initials. For secrecy reasons, people often referred to the Irgun, in the time in which it operated, as Haganah Bet (Hebrew: literally "Defense 'B' " or "Second Defense" הגנה ב), Haganah Ha'leumit (ההגנה הלאומית) or Ha'ma'amad (המעמד).
The group made attacks against Palestinian Arabs a central part of their initial efforts.

  • It was armed expression of the nascent ideology of Revisionist Zionism, expressed by Ze'ev Jabotinsky as that "every Jew had the right to enter Palestine; only active retaliation would deter the Arabs and the British; only Jewish armed force would ensure the Jewish state".
  • The organization was a political predecessor movement to Israel's right-wing Herut (or "Freedom") party, which led to today's Likud party.

'Nuff said.

How to Treat a Dying 'Terrorist' Child

Read this, and weep (perhaps, or if you think that this little girl is a 'terrorist', then say "Serves her right!" )

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m Last update - 22:56 16/11/2007
Toxic treatment By Esti Ahronovitz - Edited for brevity only:

Jamal Harma sits in a coffee shop in the village of Hawara, near Nablus. He comes from the Balata refugee camp.

His daughter Farah died of cancer. "I don't wish the loss of a child on anyone," he says.

In January 2005, Farah, then 10 years old, was diagnosed with bone cancer. The tumor was discovered in her right knee after a biopsy at Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus. From there she was referred to Al-Watani Hospital in Nablus, and from there to Assuta Hospital in Tel Aviv for radiation treatment.
And even though the doctors in Nablus proposed that she go to Jordan for treatment, he preferred to take her to Assuta, in the framework of an agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the hospital, which stipulates that Assuta will accept, in return for payment, cancer patients who need radiation treatment that cannot be performed in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

"We all cried. The good news was that the cells were still small. Microscopic. At Al-Watani Hospital, we were told that she wouldn't need chemotherapy, only radiation. That the tumor was just starting to grow."

On February 24, 2005, Farah and her grandmother took the daily minibus that transports patients from Nablus to Tel Aviv, and went to Assuta Hospital.

Jamal didn't have the necessary permits to leave Nablus, so he stayed at home, worrying.

When Farah returned home, there was a large circle drawn on her leg with a black marking pen, from the thigh to the calf - the area the doctor had marked as the target for radiation.

According to the civil suit filed two months ago in Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, Prof. Natalio Walach, an oncologist who heads the chemotherapy unit at Assaf Harofeh Hospital and also served as director of radiotherapy at Assuta, sent Farah for radiation treatment without examining any medical information and without conducting any further examination to determine the exact type of the girl's cancer.

He looked at Farah's leg, and based on the referral letter from the Palestinian health ministry, decided on the treatment. The suit charges that Walach did this without following a standard procedure known as treatment planning, which is designed to ensure that maximum benefit is obtained from the dangerous radiation treatments - in other words, that maximum radiation is aimed at the tumor and minimum radiation at the healthy tissue.

...during the brief meeting with the doctor, Farah and her escort were not asked a single question and did not receive any explanation about the method of treatment. There was no physical examination.

This week, Walach said: "I don't remember the case that well."

"Fourteen times my daughter traveled to Assuta, for two weeks in a row. She left Nablus every day with her grandmother at seven in the morning, passed through the checkpoints and got to Tel Aviv." But her father was restless with worry.

On March 16, Harma took his daughter tor another radiation treatment at Assuta, and afterward they went to Ichilov Hospital, where they met with Dr. Yehuda Kollender, the deputy head of the orthopedic oncology department. "When we met Kollender," says Jamal, "he asked me: 'Why did you come to us so late?'

I told him: 'She's being treated at Assuta.' He asked me: 'What are you doing there at Assuta?' I said: 'What do you mean? Radiation.' Kollender took off his glasses, looked at me and clutched his head in his hands. He told his secretary not to let anyone else in the room. 'We're in big trouble,' he told me. I didn't understand what was happening. He called Assuta Hospital, while I was sitting there. I don't know whom he spoke to there.

'How could such a thing happen?' he asked them. 'You'll be responsible. This wouldn't happen to a child from Israel.''

This week, Kollender recalled: "A little girl came to me with an advanced and neglected tumor, and when her father told me that the girl was getting radiation at Assuta, my hair stood on end. Every expert in oncology, actually every specialist in oncology or orthopedics, knows that the standard treatment all over the world for such a case is chemotherapy, followed by limb-preserving surgery, and then another round of chemotherapy.

I called Assuta right away and started to shout and search for the oncologist who sent this girl for radiation.

When he called me back he said: 'She was referred for radiation, so I sent her for radiation.'"

At the request of Physicians for Human Rights, Bendel received Farah Harma's medical file. "We were stunned to discover that the file of a girl who was ill with an aggressive form of cancer consisted of just two pages," says Bendel. "The first page contained Walach's diagnosis, that Farah had osteosarcoma, and the second page documented the amounts of radiation. You've got a girl with such a dangerous tumor and this is her whole medical file?"

The papers show that Farah was given radiation with a Cobalt 60 machine. The lawsuit claims that this is a very outdated radiation instrument that has not been used for medical purposes in Israeli hospitals for years. Today there are more modern machines than the Cobalt 60, but these are used in a limited fashion, and only for very specific purposes. "As far as is known," says Sfard, "the standard method of radiation treatment is with a linear accelerator.

As a matter of fact, Assuta Hospital is the only medical institution that still administers radiation with a Cobalt 60, and it does not do so to Israelis. The only use made of this machine at Assuta is for the treatments the hospital gives Palestinians as part of the agreement with the PA."

Sfard, the attorney for Yesh Din - Volunteers for Human Rights, says he hears about awful things that happen to Palestinians every day. "But when I heard this story, I could hardly believe it. It's bloodcurdling. After I started looking into it, I was just appalled. It seems that at Assuta there's a separate medical channel for Palestinians, and they are given inferior care. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Someone's making money from this. And we're talking about cancer-stricken children here."

"A Cobalt 60 machine was formerly in use at Assuta," the hospital said, "for those limited medical uses that were approved by top-ranking medical specialists in Israel, and in the past both Israelis and Palestinians were treated with it, as was standard in advanced Western countries like France, Italy, Belgium, England, Spain and in leading and recognized medical institutions in America."

Meller and Bendel decided not to ignore the matter. They requested a meeting with Assuta's medical director, Dr. Orna Ophir. At the meeting Ophir admitted that the Cobalt 60 machine did not meet the accepted standard in Israel and that the use made of it at Assuta was solely to meet the needs of the Palestinian Authority.

At the meeting, Bendel reproached Ophir, saying that Assuta had found a way to make money from a service it couldn't sell to Israelis. Bendel says Ophir confirmed this and even added, as the lawsuit says, that she saw no ethical problem in selling an out-of-date treatment to Palestinians.

"It's not my problem," she told the shocked Bendel and Meller.

Ophir acknowledged that in Harma's case, "a terrible mistake was made," but she backed Walach, saying that "he did what the Palestinian doctor told him to do." The lawsuit also asserts that Ophir remarked: "Farah's parents had given up on her before they came to us. They have fourth-rate doctors, and they want me to give them first-rate treatment." Bendel was horrified by Ophir's reaction: "Where is the ethical and moral responsibility you expect from a medical institution and the people running it?"

Sfard maintains that Assuta Hospital acted according to a discriminatory standard and followed a much lower medical standard than it does when treating Israelis. "The hospital violated its constitutional duty to preserve human dignity." Sfard adds that "when Assuta was asked to clarify its numerous faults, what was uncovered was an indifferent and racist system motivated by financial considerations, to the point that the hospital's paramount and central role of treating the sick seemed to have been forgotten."

This is a unique lawsuit.

The expert opinion of Prof. Meller is appended to the lawsuit. "It's a very tragic story," Meller said this week. "If something like this were to happen to an Israeli child, who knows how far the case would have gone. In the United States, a lawsuit like this would be for millions of dollars.

There are ethical violations here, and violations of the most minimal rules of medical conduct."

Assuta Hospital says that Farah Harma arrived there with a referral for radiation from the Palestinian hospital.

Meller chuckles. "It's as if you were to come to Assuta with a referral letter that said, 'Cut off her head.' Would they cut off your head then? It's not serious. If a little girl came to my department today, no matter where she came from, we wouldn't touch her before going over all the pathology material and doing every possible examination, including a biopsy. Not because I don't trust other doctors. It's a repeat examination for legal defense purposes that is standard all over the world. And they didn't do this; then they compounded the mistake by administering radiation with an outdated machine that they wouldn't dare use on an Israeli patient. The third thing is that kids are kids. You can't treat a little girl with osteosarcoma without the definite involvement of a pediatric oncologist and a multidisciplinary team. Prof. Walach is a retired oncologist who is employed by Assuta. He is not a pediatric oncologist."

What effect does unnecessary radiation have? "Radiation destroys cells. It causes localized damage and stunts the local growth of a limb. Radiation treatments increase the chances of tumors some years later, which are a consequence of the radiation."

The dramatic day when Harma met with Dr. Yehuda Kollender was the last day that Farah received radiation treatment.

Kollender and Meller ordered that the radiation at Assuta be halted and began to treat the girl in their department, in an attempt to save her life.

Jamal Harma stopped working and sold his car, which he had used as a taxi, in order to be able to stay in Tel Aviv by his daughter's side. He never budged from her bed.

"That was also the time there was a closure and they closed the checkpoints. Sometimes they wouldn't let me out. I'd carry Farah in my arms, or on my back, and trudge all the way through the mountains to get around the checkpoints. Then I'd take a taxi to Taibe, get a taxi from there to Kfar Sava and from there to the Tel Aviv central bus station. We didn't give up. "

When her hair started falling out, because of the chemotherapy, the doctor recommended that we shave it all off. I said to her, 'Daddy's little girl, your hair is going to fall out, it's better that I shave it off for you and afterward you'll grow new hair that's prettier and stronger and you'll be able to go back and play with your friends.' We went into the shower in the hospital and I shaved her head. It was so hard. She cried and I cried."

But the battle was lost. "Farah's condition was very serious and she didn't respond to the treatments," explains Prof. Meller.

"Jewish State ?"

Some readers may notice that I copy a lot from other blogs. That's because the situation is more than a little complex, and I can't get my own mind around certain plots and sub-plots.

Here's Lawrence of Cyberia on the latest demand from the Israelis that the Palestinians recognise the "Jewish State" - excerpts:

"At one time, everyone knew that peace would break out all over the Middle East if the Palestinians would just recognize Israel. But then the PLO went and spoiled things [nearkly 20 years ago, in 1979] by recognizing Israel, so there had to be a new excuse for not ending the Occupation.

The new demand was that the Palestinians had to recognize Israel's "right to exist". And now, to ward off any danger that peace might raise its ugly head at Annapolis, here's a timely new one: the Palestinians have to recognize that Israel exists; that it has a right to exist; and that it has the right to exist as a "Jewish state".

...Israelis don't seem to have a common understanding of what they mean by a "Jewish state"; yet they insist the Palestinians must recognize nonetheless that Israel is one.

After all, how can Palestinians have a right to return to their homes in a "Jewish state" when they're not even Jewish, and non-Jews shouldn't expect to be allowed to live in a "Jewish state" in the first place...

The PLO says that Palestinians, like everyone else, give diplomatic recognition to countries, not to demographic balances, religious leanings or political affiliations. In recognizing Iran, for example, they give formal acceptance to Iran's sovereignty, its people and its borders, but not to its religious orientation. If Iran wants to call itself "The Islamic Republic of...", that is purely an internal Iranian affair. It's "Iran" that international diplomacy recognizes, not the Islamic-ness or Republic-ness of its political system. Similarly, if Israel wishes to call itself "The Jewish State of...", that is an internal Israeli affair, which does not need and cannot demand recognition from the PLO or anyone else in the world community.

The one thing they won't say is that Israel is formally a "Jewish state", i.e. a state for Jews. Just as a Jewish American might recognize that the USA is a Christian country in terms of its dominant population and cultural traditions, but would never accept that it should be formally designated a "Christian state", because that immediately defines Jews and other non-Christians as lesser citizens. For some outrageous no-doubt Islamofascist Jew-hating reason, the Palestinians similarly refuse to declare that Israel is constitutionally a state where Israelis of Palestinian descent are inferior citizens.

Israelis need to decide what it is they mean by a "Jewish state", before they accuse the Palestinians of being unreasonable in rejecting it. Right now, I suspect that some of them are happy to conflate the two different understandings of what a "Jewish state" is; perhaps so that when the PLO rejects Olmert's demand for a "state for Jews", they can pretend the PLO is rejecting too the idea of Israel as a "state of Jews".

I suppose if you understand that the price of a universally-recognized Jewish-majority state in the 1967 borders is finally getting out of the Occupied Territories, and you really don't want to do that, it's a lot easier to derail peace talks by whipping up fears of being driven into the sea than to simply acknowledge you're not willing to pay the price.

It's a bit like having the President of Iran say that the Occupation regime over Jerusalem will disappear from the pages of time, and then pretending that he really said he would "wipe Israel off the map"; because it's always easier to invoke the Hitler bogeyman than to answer Ahmadinejad's questions about why exactly Muslim-majority Palestine should be dismantled to make way for a sectarian Zionist state....

Maybe Israelis could take a short break from insisting on what the Palestinians must give them, and make up their minds what exactly it is they want. Then perhaps if they could actually listen to what they're being offered, they might even be pleasantly surprised to find it's something they could live with after all.
Couldn't put it better.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dirty Dershy Waterboards Himself

Alan Dershowitz, prime attack-dog for the Zionist Compliancy Movement (aka the ADL, AIPAC, etc) has managed to incriminate himself after extremely bad treatment by a blogger.
He says:
"A post by Larisa Alexandrovna entitled "Alan Dershowitz: Was He Against Nazi Practices Before He Was for Them?" dated November 11, 2007,
well illustrates how some blogs endanger rational discourse and substitute name-calling for serious debate about controversial issues. Alexandrovna purports to be responding to an op-ed piece I wrote in the Wall Street Journal in which I stated unequivocally that "I am personally opposed to the use of torture." That is my normative position.
In making an argument for political accountability if torture were to be used in extreme cases involving the risk of mass casualties (the so-called "ticking bomb scenario"), I quoted former President Bill Clinton and current Senator John McCain. I then dealt with the demonstrably false factual claim that some make that torture never works.
In responding to this wholly empirical claim, I said the following:
There are some who claim that torture is a nonissue because it never works - it only produces false information. This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives."
It is a well-known empirical fact that lawyers ply their trade by twisting the words of others, or by combobulating their own statements to confuse, and we should expect nothing less from the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
So, let's translate Dirty Dershy's statement above:
A (mere blogger) - Larisa Alexandrovna - shows how I think some blogs substitute rational discourse for my 'serious debate' about controversial issues.
Alexandrovna responded to a squib I dashed off for the Wall Street Journal in which I mentioned "I am personally opposed to the use of torture."
That's OK, but only sometimes.
I do think torture might be used in some cases (the so-called "ticking bomb scenario"). I even quoted Bill Clinton and John McCain. I then dealt with the claim that torture never works.
Some say it never works - it only produces false information.
This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives.
(Sorry, I don't have a single bit of evidence about that to quote, although I did underline the word factual in the very next paragraph).

Wogs do it, Jews do it
Even educated Yank-ees do it
Let's do it, let's fall in line

In Spain, the best upper sets did it

(See: Inquisition)
Larisa Alexandrovna replies here

THE ANNAPOLIS conference is a joke. Though not in the least funny.

Uri Avnery gets it right, as usual, and I can do no better than quote him in full:

"Like quite a lot of political initiatives, this one too, according to all the indications, started more or less by accident. George Bush was due to make a speech. He was looking for a theme that would give it some substance. Something that would divert attention away from his fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something simple, optimistic, easy to swallow.

Somehow, the idea of a "meeting" of leaders to promote the Israeli-Palestinian "process" came up. An international meeting is always nice - it looks good on television, it provides plenty of photo-opportunities, it radiates optimism. We meet, ergo we exist.

So Bush voiced the idea: a "meeting" for the promotion of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Without any preceding strategic planning, any careful preparations, anything much at all.

That's why Bush did not go into any details: no clear aim, no agenda, no location, no date, no list of invitees. Just an ethereal meeting. This fact by itself testifies to the lack of seriousness of the entire enterprise.

This may shock people who have never seen close up how politics are actually conducted. It is hard to accept the intolerable lightness with which decisions are often made, the irresponsibility of leaders and the arbitrary way important processes are set in motion.

FROM THE MOMENT this idea was launched, it could not be called back. The President has spoken, the initiative starts on its way. As the saying goes: One fool throws a stone into the water, a dozen wise men cannot retrieve it.

Once the "meeting" had been announced, it became an important enterprise. The experts of all parties started to work frantically on the undefined event, each trying to steer it in the direction which would benefit them the most.

Bush and Condoleezza Rice want an impressive event, to prove that the United States is vigorously promoting peace and democracy, and that they can succeed where the great Henry Kissinger failed. Jimmy Carter failed to turn the Israeli-Egyptian peace into an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Bill Clinton failed at Camp David. If Bush succeeds where all his illustrious predecessors have failed, won't that show who is the greatest of them all?
Ehud Olmert urgently needs a resounding political achievement in order to blur the memory of his dismal failure in the Second Lebanon War and to extricate himself from the dozen or so criminal investigations for corruption that are pursuing him. His ambition knows no bounds: he wants to be photographed shaking the hand of the King of Saudi Arabia. A feat no Israeli prime minister before him has achieved.
Mahmoud Abbas wants to show Hamas and the rebellious factions in his own Fatah movement that he can succeed where the great Yasser Arafat failed - to be accepted among the world's leaders as an equal partner.
This could, therefore, become a great, almost historic conference, if …

IF ALL these hopes were something more than pipedreams. None of them has any substance. For one simple reason: no one of the three partners has any capital at his disposal.

Bush is bankrupt. In order to succeed at Annapolis, he would have to exert intense pressure on Israel, to compel it to take the necessary steps: agree to the establishment of a real Palestinian state, give up East Jerusalem, restore the Green Line border (with some small swaps of territory), find an agreed-upon compromise formula for the refugee issue.
But Bush is quite unable to exert the slightest pressure on Israel, even if he wanted to. In the US, the election season has already begun, and the two big parties are bulwarks standing in the way of any pressure on Israel. The Jewish and Evangelistic lobbies, together with the neo-cons, will not allow one critical word about Israel to be uttered unpunished.

Olmert is in an even weaker position. His coalition still survives only because there is no alternative in the present Knesset. It includes elements that in any other country would be called fascist (For historical reasons, Israelis don't like to use this term). He is prevented by his partners from making any compromise, however tiny - even if he wanted to reach an agreement.
This week, the Knesset adopted a bill that requires a two-thirds majority for any change of the borders of Greater Jerusalem. This means that Olmert cannot even give up one of the outlying Palestinian villages that were annexed to Jerusalem in 1967. He is also prevented from even approaching the 'core issues" of the conflict.

Mahmoud Abbas cannot move away from the conditions laid down by Yasser Arafat (the 3rd anniversary of whose death was commemorated this week). If he strays from the straight and narrow, he will fall. He has already lost the Gaza Strip, and can lose the West Bank, too. On the other side, if he threatens violence, he will lose all he has got: the favor of Bush and the cooperation of the Israeli security forces.
The three poker players are going to sit down together, pretending to start the game, while none of them has a cent to put on the table.

THE MAJESTIC mountain seems to be getting smaller and smaller by the minute. It's against the laws of nature: the closer we get to it, the smaller it seems. What looked to many like a veritable Mt. Everest first turned into an ordinary mountain, then into a hill, and now it hardly looks like an anthill. And even that is shrinking, too.

First the participants were to deal with the "core issues". Then it was announced that a weighty declaration of intentions was to be adopted. Then a mere collection of empty phrases was proposed. Now even that is in doubt.

Not one of the three leaders is still dreaming of an achievement. All they hope for now is to minimize the damage - but how to get out of a situation like this?

As usual, our side is the most creative at this task. After all, we are experts in building roadblocks, walls and fences. This week, an obstacle larger then the Great Wall of China appeared.

Ehud Olmert demanded that, before any negotiations, the Palestinians "recognize Israel as a Jewish state". He was followed by his coalition partner, the ultra-right Avigdor Liberman, who proposed staying away from Annapolis altogether if the Palestinians do not fulfill this demand in advance.

Let's examine this condition for a moment:

The Palestinians are not required to recognize the state of Israel. After all, they have already done so in the Oslo agreement - in spite of the fact that Israel has yet to recognize the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own based on the Green Line borders.

No, the government of Israel demands much more: the Palestinians must now recognize Israel as a "Jewish state".
Does the USA demand to be recognized as a "Christian" or "Anglo-Saxon state"? Did Stalin demand that the US recognize the Soviet Union as a "Communist state"? Does Poland demand to be recognized as a "Catholic state", or Pakistan as an "Islamic state"? Is there any precedent at all for a state to demand the recognition of its domestic regime?

The demand is ridiculous per se. But this can easily be shown by analysis ad absurdum.

What is a "Jewish state"? That has never been spelled out. Is it a state with a majority of Jewish citizens? Is it "the state of the Jewish people" - meaning the Jews from Brooklyn, Paris and Moscow? Is it "a state belonging to the Jewish religion" - and if so, does it belong to secular Jews as well? Or perhaps it belongs only to Jews under the Law of Return - i.e. those with a Jewish mother who have not converted to another religion?

These questions have not been decided. Are the Palestinians required to recognize something that is the subject of debate in Israel itself?

According to the official doctrine, Israel is a "Jewish and democratic state". What should the Palestinians do if, according to democratic principles, some day my opinion prevails and Israel becomes an "Israeli state" that belongs to all its citizens - and to them alone? (After all, the US belongs to all its citizens, including Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, not to mention "Native-Americans".)

The sting is, of course, that this formula is quite unacceptable to Palestinians because it would hurt the million and a half Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. The definition "Jewish state" turns them automatically into - at best - second class citizens. If Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues were to accede to this demand, they would be sticking a knife in the backs of their own relatives.

Olmert & Co. know this, of course. They are not posing this demand in order to get it accepted. They pose it in order that it not be accepted. By this ploy they hope to avoid any obligation to start meaningful negotiations.

Moreover, according to the deceased Road Map, which all parties pretend to accept, Israel must dismantle all settlements set up after March, 2000, and freeze all the others. Olmert is quite unable to do that. At the same time, Mahmoud Abbas must destroy the "terror infrastructure". Abbas can't do that either - as long as there is no independent Palestinian state with an elected government.

I imagine Bush tossing and turning in his bed at night, cursing the speechwriter who put this miserable sentence into his mouth. On their way to heaven, his curses must be mingling with those of Olmert and Abbas.

WHEN THE leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine were about to sign the Declaration of independence on May 14, 1948, the document was not ready. Sitting in front of the cameras and history, they had to sign on an empty page. I am afraid that something like that will happen in Annapolis.

And then all of them will head back to their respective homes, heaving a heartfelt sigh of relief.

Peace Talks?

Annapolis won’t directly lead to progress, but it will force Israel to embarrass the Americans in public, an action which the Israelis know will be the beginning of the end of the weird special relationship, especially in this climate where it has become commonplace for vassal states to disrespect the United States. When the state that depends the most on the United States for its very existence chooses to make Americans look like weak fools, the patronage won’t last much longer.
Sunday, November 18, 2007 Irrelevantization

Isn't War Fun?

Read the ongoing story about Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, a country boy from Kentucky, in Am I to blame for his private war?

Maybe it will make you think a little bit more about the real victims of the Great War on Terror on both sides.

"'Blake Miller is a flipped-out, 22-year-old former Marine who was involved in a major battle,' Armstrong said. 'He's been through a lot, seen a lot. I can't endorse the quick fix. It's a common pattern that vets are in and out of therapy for years.'

"They drove me to the secluded mountain top outside Pikeville to show me the spot where Miller had asked Jessica to be his girl, just days before he shipped out to Iraq. They laughed, embarrassed by the story. Miller sipped root beer and Jessica Nehi orange soda."

"It was 9 November 2006, two years after I took the famous picture of Miller and a year after he left the Marines. In his empty apartment, Miller took his wedding picture from the wall and replaced it with a Meritorious Mast, a certificate detailing his valour in combat. He drank beer for comrades living and lost. He spoke the names of the dead: Brown, Gavriel, Holmes, Ziolkowski.

'I didn't cry then and I won't now,' Miller said. 'I just can't.'

"Miller lives in a refurbished trailer behind his father's house. Two TVs provide constant background chatter. The refrigerator is bare. A hound called Mudbone spends most days tied in the yard."

Definitions of cannon fodder on the Web:

  • An expression used to denote the treatment of armed forces as a worthless commodity to be expended. Fodder is food for livestock - the livestock

  • soldiers who are regarded as expendable in the face of artillery fire

  • Cannon Fodder is a short series of two war (and later science fiction) themed action computer and video games developed by Sensible Software, initially released for the Commodore Amiga. Only two games in the series were released, but were converted to most active systems at the time of release. Fodder

  • Cannon fodder is an informal term for military personnel who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire. The term is generally used in situations where soldiers are forced to fight against hopeless odds, such as occurred during trench warfare in World War I. fodder

Do you believe in God? - I am a scientist, I don’t do religion

I came across this poem in the comments section of another blogsite
but it's so relevant that I'm plagiarising it in full:

Visit Nahida's website - If her poetry doesn't convince you, her photos certainly will.

Windows Live Spaces

-Do you believe in God?
-I am a scientist, I don’t do religion

-Do you think we are here for a purpose?
-I am a biologist, I don’t do theology

-Can you see the splendour in this equation?
-I am an artist, I don’t do mathematics

-Isn’t this garden just fascinating?
-I am an accountant, I don’t do botanic

-Do you like this poem?
-I am a chemist, I don’t do poetry

-Do you think drinking water is good for you?
-I am a physicist, I don’t do nutrition

-What do you think of the war on terror?
-I’m a priest, I don’t do politics

-Do you like this ruby-red colour in my painting?
-I am a politician, I don’t do art

-Do you think there was once a country called Palestine?
-I am an historian; I don’t do geography

-Do you think separating people with a wall mounts to apartheid?
-I am a solicitor, I don’t do international law

-Do you think people have the right to choose their faith?
-I am an atheist; I have no time for irrationality and superstition

-Do you think Muslim women should have the right to choose the way they dress?
-I am a secular free-thinker; I don’t like offensive religious symbols

-Do you think killing thousands of innocent people is a war crime?
-I am policeman; I don’t voice my opinion

-Do you agree with bombing schools and children?
-I am a teacher; I don’t take sides

-Do you agree with the right of self-defence?
-I am a Christian; I always turn the other cheek

-Do you think boycotting a tyranny could be fruitful?
-I am a shopkeeper; I get the best value for money, I don’t care where it comes from

-Do you agree with illegal settlement, and land confiscation?
-I am a journalist; I have to give an impartial view

-Do you oppose oppression and occupation?
-I am a human right advocate; I have to be neutral

-Do you feel guilty after shooting little boys for throwing stones?
- I am a soldier; I only follow orders

-Doctor… doctor… I had enough, I think I am going mad, I feel sick, can’t breath, I’m trembling, sweating, aching all over, help me…

-I am an orthopaedic; I only do bones

When you come to see a doctor, you can’t be vague; you’ve got to be precise:
Is this pain in your lower abdomen or upper thigh?
Is it at the top of your fingernail or at the bottom of your ear?
Is it in your left nostril or your right toe?
Is it above your hip or beneath your eye-brow?
I did my PHD in MCP (metacarpophalangeal joint ) known as knuckle/ finger joint; do you realize?
You need to be specific; I need to know before referring you to the relevant specialist,