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Friday, January 30, 2009

'Mousavi would overturn Iran politics'

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 19:15:35 GMT

A comeback by Mousavi may have an overwhelming effect on Iranian politics. He served as prime minister during a time of crisis -- the Iraq-imposed war on Iran.
Former Iranian prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi's candidacy would overturn Iran's political balance, an Iranian politician says.

Sources close to Mousavi have revealed that he would join the race if former president Mohammad Khatami refrains from running in the upcoming election.

A senior member of Kargozaran, a centrist party with Reformist views, told ILNA that it is 'very unlikely' that Mousavi would opt to return to the political arena.

Hedayat Aqayi, who sits on the Kargozaran head council, added that should Mousavi enter Iran's 10th presidential election, he would enjoy the support of both the Reformists and the Principlists.

Mousavi served for 8 years as the last Iranian prime minister until 1989 when a constitutional amendment divided the related responsibilities of a premier between the president and the first vice president and abolished the post of prime minister.

President Ahmadinejad is expected to seek a second term.
Iran's 10th presidential election is scheduled for June 12, 2009.

Khatami has recently said that he needs more time to evaluate the situation in the political arena before deciding whether to seek the presidency for a third time.

Should he decide to run for office, the former Iranian president will face Mehdi Karroubi, a member of Iran's National Confidence Party and the only person to have announced his candidacy in the upcoming presidential election.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also expected to run for re-election as the top candidate from the Principlist camp. 

Saudi Leadership Crisis Looms; Health of Crown Prince Falters

By Simon Henderson | The Washington Institute for Near East Policy,January 21, 2009

After months of speculation about the health of the designated successor to King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan, Saudi officials are now openly talking about Sultan's ill health. The kingdom -- a close U.S. ally, the self-professed leader of the Islamic world, the world's largest oil exporter, and most recently the much-needed source of financial capital for the world's struggling economy -- is heading for a period of changing leadership. The identities of the future kings, however, are so far unknown and largely unpredictable.

Sultan Undergoing Treatment

Crown Prince Sultan, who is also the kingdom's long-serving defense minister, is currently in Morocco after six weeks of treatment in New York City. Last week, his son Khaled, the assistant defense minister, said in a briefing of Saudi armed forces commanders that his father would be returning to the United States in a month for more tests and treatment. Although Khaled said his father was "getting better and his health condition is progressing," analysts have recalled that in 2005 Sultan was operated on for colon cancer and in April 2008 flew to Geneva for what were claimed to be routine medical tests.

If Sultan (who turns 85 this year) dies before King Abdullah (86), a new crown prince will be appointed. The selection of the crown prince was formerly the sole prerogative of the king, but in 2006 Abdullah established a new body, the Allegiance Council. The council, which is made up of senior sons and grandsons of the kingdom's founder Abdulaziz (also known as Ibn Saud), is a wider group than has been consulted in the past and will now share responsibility for the choice.

Unlike most other monarchies, Saudi succession is fratrilineal, passing from brother to brother, rather than from father to son, for nearly fifty years. Since the death of Abdulaziz in 1953, the throne has passed between the first of his thirty-five sons in descending order of age. This mechanism -- with an occasional jump when a son has been unwilling, unable, or otherwise deemed unqualified to reign -- has allowed a nominated crown prince to serve alongside the king in a leadership partnership that has usually resulted in smooth successions.

Five Kings in Five Years?

An unintended consequence of this system is that Saudi kings are becoming older when taking the throne: Abdullah's predecessor, Fahd, was sixty-one, and Abdullah was eighty-two (although he was de facto ruler from 1996 to 2005 after Fahd was crippled by a series of strokes). Unless the Allegiance Council makes an imaginative choice of a much younger monarch, the current system of respecting (old) age, government experience, and the brother-to-brother line could result in a rapid succession of kings in the next several years.

Abdullah is clearly preparing the ground for the council's work. The council's chairman, the king's half-brother Mishal, is regularly seen at Abdullah's side during important kingdom meetings. Although Mishal was defense minister in the 1950s and governor of Mecca in the 1960s, he has otherwise eschewed government service in favor of developing his business interests. Mishal's role is likely to be crucial in developing the workings of the council. Perceived as an ally of Abdullah, his own claim to the throne is weak. He will likely face great challenges within the council from the most powerful faction -- the Sudairi seven -- the largest group of full brothers, which now numbers six since the death of Fahd. This faction includes Sultan, Interior Minister Prince Nayef (also reported to be unwell), and the governor of Riyadh province Prince Salman.

Several scenarios could occur over the next few months:

Death of Prince Sultan. The Sudairi princes are likely to press for the next crown prince to be selected from among them. Prince Nayef has a claim but is not considered sufficiently popular. His younger brother Prince Salman is a possible choice.

Death of King Abdullah. Despite his many public appearances, the monarch, now the oldest surviving son of Abdulaziz, is said to be increasingly limited in his abilities. If Sultan is still alive when Abdullah dies, the crown prince will almost certainly become king. Theoretically, the Allegiance Council law allows for the possibility of either the king or the crown prince being declared medically unfit by a committee of medical experts. This step, however, is unlikely against a powerful royal. As king, Sultan could abolish the council and appoint his own crown prince.

Succession follows existing lines. Some of the other eighteen surviving sons of Abdulaziz are considered ineligible to be king because several of them have non-Saudi mothers or are considered eccentric. Excluding these, the next possible candidates are Abdulrahman (78), Nayef (76), Abdulillah (74), and Salman (73). All except Abdulillah, who was made an advisor to the king in 2008, are Sudairis.

Succession pattern changes. The simplest way of avoiding a rapid turnover of increasingly old and infirm kings is to skip over older candidates and choose a younger man, either from within the younger ranks of the sons of Abdulaziz or from among his grandsons. Of the sons, Salman qualifies as a younger option, as does the 66-year-old Muqren, who heads the kingdom's foreign intelligence service. And although many of the grandsons already have decades of government experience, the Sudairis predominate and are likely to resist being bypassed.

Challenges for U.S. Policy

Not knowing who will be king matters less if the process is known. But the deliberations of the untested Allegiance Council system, whose procedures are known only in outline, will be secret. In addition, when Sultan and other senior royals die, Washington will lose familiar interlocutors. Sultan's son Khaled effectively runs his father's defense ministry, as does Nayef's son Muhammad at the interior ministry. Will these fiefdoms be acknowledged? Will these sons be elevated to replace their fathers, or will a new king replace them by other, less well-known princes?

None of the Saudis best known to the U.S. public are in the running to be king: foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal is chronically ill with Parkinson's disease; his brother, former intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States Prince Turki al-Faisal, was sacked from the former job and sidelined in the latter; former ambassador to the United States and now Saudi security council chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan is excluded because his mother was an African servant; and businessman Prince al-Walid's father Talal has a record of publicly criticizing the royal family.

U.S.-Saudi relations have had their ups and downs in recent years. Although counterterrorism cooperation has somewhat improved, the Saudis were not particularly helpful against Osama bin Laden before the September 11 terrorist attacks, in which fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis, and Riyadh was unsympathetic when oil prices rose over $100 per barrel last year. But working relationships have persisted and seem likely to continue. The Obama administration's likely new Iran envoy, Dennis Ross, wrote in Newsweek last month that Washington "needs" the kingdom for its policy of forcing choices on Tehran.

Washington hopes to avoid an internal Saudi royal dispute like the one that occurred between Abdulaziz's eldest son King Saud and his eventual successor Faisal, which crippled the kingdom's government between 1958 and 1964. Riyadh will be allergic to external interference or advice on such matters, but the outcomes of the probable transitions in the next few months will be of intense interest to the United States and much of the world.

Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute, specializing in energy matters and the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf. A former journalist with the Financial Times, Mr. Henderson worked as a consultant advising corporations and governments on the Persian Gulf and was an associate of the Institute from 1999. Before his twenty-one-year career with the Financial Times, he worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He served as a foreign correspondent in Pakistan in 1977-78, and reported from Iran during the 1979 Islamic revolution and seizure of the U.S. embassy.

In America, Speaking the Truth Is Career-ending Event

28/01/2009 | By Paul Craig Roberts January 26, 2009 "Information Clearinghouse"

“The evidence is sitting on the table. There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.”

These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture. Nowak has concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld. But for now the interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal orders?

In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell, both Harvard law students, were politically active against the Korean War. It was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were subpoenaed. They refused to cooperate on the grounds that the subpoena was a violation of the First Amendment.

Harvard Law School immediately began pressuring the students to cooperate with Congress. The other students ostracized them. Pressures from the Dean and faculty turned into threats. Although the Lubells graduated magna cum laude, they were kept off the Harvard Law Review. Their scholarships were terminated. A majority of the Harvard Law faculty voted for their expulsion (expulsion required a two-thirds vote).

Why did Harvard Law School betray two honor students who stood up for the US Constitution? Cockburn concludes that the Harvard law faculty sacrificed constitutional principle in order not to jeopardize their own self-advancement by displeasing the government (and no doubt donors).

We see such acts of personal cowardice every day. Recently we had the case of Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, whose tenure was blocked by the cowardly president of DePaul University, a man afraid to stand up for his own faculty against the Israel Lobby, which successfully imposed on a Catholic university the principle that no critic of Israel can gain academic tenure.

The same calculation of self-interest causes American journalists to serve as shills for Israeli and US government propaganda and the US Congress to endorse Israeli war crimes that the rest of the world condemns.

When US military officers saw that torture was a policy coming down from the top, they knew that doing the right thing would cost them their careers. They trimmed their sails. One who did not was Major General Antonio Taguba. Instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal, General Taguba wrote an honest report that terminated his career.

Despite legislation that protects whistleblowers, it is always the whistleblower, not the wrongdoer, who suffers. When it finally became public that the Bush regime was committing felonies under US law by using the NSA to spy on Americans, the Justice (sic) Department went after the whistleblower. Nothing was done about the felonies.

Yet Bush and the Justice (sic) Department continued to assert that “we are a nation of law.”

The Bush regime was a lawless regime. This makes it difficult for the Obama regime to be a lawful one. A torture inquiry would lead naturally into a war crimes inquiry. General Taguba said that the Bush regime committed war crimes. President Obama was a war criminal by his third day in office when he ordered illegal cross-border drone attacks on Pakistan that murdered 20 people, including 3 children. The bombing and strafing of homes and villages in Afghanistan by US forces and America’s NATO puppets are also war crimes. Obama cannot enforce the law, because he himself has already violated it.

For decades the US government has taken the position that Israel’s territorial expansion is not constrained by any international law. The US government is complicit in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

The entire world knows that Israel is guilty of war crimes and that the US government made the crimes possible by providing the weapons and diplomatic support. What Israel and the US did in Lebanon and Gaza is no different from crimes for which Nazis were tried at Nuremberg. Israel understands this, and the Israeli government is currently preparing its defense, which will be led by Israeli Justice (sic) Minister Daniel Friedman. UN war crimes official Richard Falk has compared Israel’s massacre of Gazans to the Nazi starvation and massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amnesty International and the Red Cross have demanded Israel be held accountable for war crimes. Even eight Israeli human rights groups have called for an investigation into Israel’s war crimes.

Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Prison means very little. Essentially, Obama’s order is a public relations event. The tribunal process had already been shut down by US courts and by military lawyers, who refused to prosecute the fabricated cases. The vast majority of the prisoners were hapless individuals captured by Afghan warlords and sold for money to the stupid Americans as “terrorists.” Most of the prisoners, people the Bush regime told us were “the most dangerous people alive,” have already been released.

Obama’s order said nothing about closing the CIA’s secret prisons or halting the illegal practice of rendition in which the CIA kidnaps people and sends them to third world countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

Obama would have to take risks that opportunistic politicians never take in order for the US to become a nation of law instead of a nation in which the agendas of special interests override the law.

Truth cannot be spoken in America. It cannot be spoken in universities. It cannot be spoken in the media. It cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.

Truth is never spoken by government. As Jonathan Turley said recently, Washington “is where principles go to die.”

Second day of riots in Bahrain

Wed, 28 Jan 2009 01:58:24 GMT | PressTV

Masked Bahraini
protesters burn tires
in Jidhafs,
Police fired tear gas at rioters in Bahrain after they burned tires and trash cans and hurled stones, causing traffic jams outside the capital Manama.

The riots continued for the second day on Tuesday, with several people injured, but the police declined to give a specific number.

The riots erupted Monday after three opposition activists were arrested for supposedly ignoring summons by the public prosecutor for questioning linked to arrests last month of 14 Bahrainis for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government in Manama.

The three arrested Monday morning were the secretary general of the opposition Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy, Hasan Mushaima; human rights committee chief and Haq spokesman, Abdul Jalil al-Singace; and Sheikh Mohammad Habib al-Miqdad.

On Tuesday, the public prosecutor charged the three Shia Muslim activists with promoting a coup "through terrorism", according to a statement issued by the public prosecutor's office.

The statement said they have also been charged with joining an outlawed group, violating other citizens' liberties, and inciting hatred against the ruling regime. One activist was released but banned from traveling, and the two others were in custody, the public prosecutor's office added.

Muagbe Party Endorses New Zimbabwe Timeline

29/01/2009 | Al Manar

President Robert Mugabe's party has endorsed plans put forward by southern African leaders for a unity government to be installed in Zimbabwe by mid-February, state media reported Thursday.

The ZANU-PF politburo met Wednesday in Harare to discuss the plan set out this week by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) following marathon talks at a summit in Pretoria. "ZANU-PF is fully behind this resolution and the politburo has endorsed it," party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said in the government mouthpiece Herald newspaper after the meeting.

"President Mugabe is now expected to start rolling out the process to implement the agreement according to recommendations of the regional bloc."

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has yet to endorse the deal -- under which he would become prime minister -- warning that it could be derailed by disputes over key ministries, particularly the home affairs post. His Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is set to meet Friday to decide whether to accept the deal and form a unity government with Mugabe by February 13.

He has told South African media that negotiators would meet Thursday in Harare to try to settle their remaining differences. March's first round presidential election, in which Tsvangirai placed first but did not win an outright majority, was followed by a brutal wave of political violence.

Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off, citing violence against his supporters, leaving Mugabe to declare a one-sided victory in June. Since then Zimbabwe has plunged deeper into crisis amid massive unemployment, with half the population dependent on food aid.

The nation's economy has crumbled under stunning hyperinflation, leaving basic infrastructure like hospitals and sanitation in shambles as a cholera epidemic sweeps the country, killing more than 3,000 people.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a unity accord in September, but have remained deadlocked over control of the key home affairs ministry, changes to the constitution and MDC allegations that its members have been abducted.

Zimbabwe Opposition Disappointed with Summit

27/01/2009 | Al Manar

Regional leaders decided at a summit on Tuesday that Zimbabwe should form a unity government but the opposition said it was disappointed with the outcome of the meeting.

The 15-nation SADC grouping said after the meeting in South Africa -- its fifth attempt to secure a deal on forming a unity government -- it had agreed that opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should be sworn in as prime minister by February 11.

All parties agreed control of Zimbabwe's hotly disputed Home Affairs Ministry, which has been a major obstacle to a final agreement, should be divided between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the MDC for six months, said South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.

"All the parties expressed confidence in the process and committed to implementing the agreement," Motlanthe, current SADC chair, told a news conference.

But the MDC quickly issued a statement after the SADC communique was read out making clear its disappointment, raising the possibility that deadlock would drag on as Zimbabweans face growing economic hardship.

The MDC said "quite clearly the conclusions reached as reflected in the communique fall far short of our expectations." The MDC said its national council would meet this weekend to define its position on the summit.

"The ministers and deputy ministers shall be sworn in on 13 February 2009, which will conclude the process of the formation of the inclusive government," said the SADC communique. Allocation of ministries would be reviewed six months after the inauguration of the government, it added.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Noam Chomsky On Gaza

Date Recorded: 2009-01-13
Part 1

Part 2 - Question and Answer Session -

Sponsored by MIT Center for International Studies.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

EU for Palestinian unity with Abbas in charge

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 07:31:15 GMT     |      PressTV

(L to R) Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Eddin-Bashir, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, Fatah representative Riyad al-Malki, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Brussels, Jan 25
The EU urges Palestinian factions to unite under the authority of Fatah Leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose term as Palestinian Authority Chief has expired.

“We believe that Palestinian reconciliation behind Mahmoud Abbas is fundamental to progress," Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told reporters after an EU meeting with representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Norway, and the Fatah faction.

"The humanitarian concerns are naturally a priority but the political process must follow close behind… It is the parties themselves who need to genuinely want peace and to be prepared to make the concessions necessary to get there," said Schwarzenberg, whose country currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

The British, Swiss, and Egyptian foreign ministers also pointed to the importance of reconciliation between Palestinian factions.

“The reunification of the Palestinian people with a single voice to speak to them, to speak for the West Bank and for Gaza is absolutely essential," British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said.

"It's time for the Palestinians to talk to each other… If we can't overcome the divisions in Palestinian society, it will be very difficult to move forward both with Gaza and the peace process," said Miliband's Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Abul Gheit also said that a Palestinian consensus government must be formed so that it 'could be capable of using the funds' pledged at next months Gaza donors reconstruction conference, implying that the aid will not be given to Hamas.

Based on various leaks, such as a report by the British International Institute for Strategic Studies, the US supplied $59 million worth of guns, ammunition and training to Palestinian Fatah activists to take on Hamas in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank, while encouraging its Arab allies to do the same.

According to Vanity Fair, in 2006 Washington initiated a 'covert initiative, approved by former US president George W. Bush and implemented by his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.'

Prior to Israel's deadly 23-day offensive in Gaza the democratically elected government of Hamas repeatedly called for reconciliatory talks with the rival faction Fatah, which is lead by Mahmoud Abbas.

The two factions fell out in June 2007 when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in an effort to prevent a coup against its elected government. In the West Bank, Abbas took control, dismissing the Hamas government and replacing it with the appointed administration of Salam Fayyad.

Hamas rejected the move and insisted that Haniyah remained the prime minister arguing that according to the constitution of the Palestinian National Authority if the president dissolves an elected government he must hold elections within a month for the next administration to gain legitimacy, which Abbas never did.

When Mahmoud Abbas' term ended on January 8, amid Israel's military campaign in the Gaza Strip, Hams announced that it no longer recognized him as the Palestinian Authority Chief.

The movement, however, announced that it would not assert the parliament's Deputy Speaker Ahmed Bahar's right to the presidency, as Gaza was under fire.

According to Palestinian law, the parliament speaker succeeds to the presidency when the president's term ends and no new elections are held. In the absence of the speaker the position goes to his deputy. The current Palestinian Parliament Speaker Abdel Aziz Dweik is imprisoned in Israeli jails.

Both Dweik and Bahar are Hamas members.

EU support for Palestinian reconciliation, Mahmoud Abbas' authority and Arab-Israeli peace talks comes at a time when Hamas has called on Fatah to put an immediate end to its negotiations with Israel in protest to the massacre of 1300 Palestinians in the Gaza strip. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cambridge Students Stage Sit-in over Gaza

25/01/2009 | Al Manar

More than 100 students from Britain's Cambridge University – including five Israelis, as well as Palestinians, Britons and residents of other countries – have been staging a sit-in at the prestigious university's law faculty since Friday in protest of the Israeli activity in the Gaza Strip.

The students said they would not evacuate themselves until the academic institutions launched a series of actions, including a fundraiser for Gaza's residents and scholarships to Palestinian students.

The students quickly started a Facebook group and spent the night on the two floors of the law faculty. "If our demands are not answered, we won't leave even after the weekend," the group’s spokesman Becky, who did not give her full name because she was an Israeli, added, "but we have no plans to disrupt the classes. We'll stay here in order to make ourselves heard."

And what exactly do they want? According to a statement issued by the group, they are demanding that Cambridge University hold a fundraiser for humanitarian aid to Gaza and fund at least 10 scholarships a year for Palestinian students.

They said that the university was involved in the arms dealing industry, and demanded that it halt any related activities. They also demanded that no measures be taken against them over their participation in the protest activity.

According to Becky, dialogues and demonstrations have been held in the past, but "we can't remain indifferent to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been going on for 60 years and becoming worse every day."

She noted that the sit-in protest was part of a British students' effort in more than a dozen universities in the country, including Oxford, the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Manar Makhoul, who defines himself as a Palestinian citizen from a Galilee village, told Ynet on Saturday night that some 40 students remained on the premises but that he expected many more to join them.Israel has no problem to use exaggerated force against a civilian population, but our great disappointment is from the enlightened Western world which stood aside and did nothing," said Makhoul, a second year student at the Middle East studies faculty.

Asked why the students did not protest the suffering of southern Israel's residents for the past eight years, Makhoul said he did not agree with the historic claim that what had happened in Gaza was the result of the rocket fire.

Israel - propanganda & Settlements

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle ... all » East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported. Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how--through the use of language, framing and context--the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel's PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land Part 1

Sunday, January 25, 2009

BBC ban on Gaza aid broadcast sparks ire

Sat, 24 Jan 2009 14:41:10 GMT | PressTV [ BBC News]

British media has been accused of under-reporting anti-war protests in the Island kingdom.
Thousands of people are holding a protest in London, decrying BBC's refusal to broadcast a charity appeal for war-hit people of Gaza.

The BBC says it has refrained from broadcasting the appeal over concerns that it would conflict with its policy of impartiality as well as reservations about the possibility of efficient aid delivery.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander on Saturday urged the British network in a written letter to reconsider its decision, saying the BBC argument was weak at best.

"I think the British public can distinguish between support for humanitarian aid and perceived partiality in a conflict," he told BBC radio.

"I really struggle to see, in the face of the immense human suffering in Gaza at the moment, that this is in any way a credible argument."

The ban has sparked fierce criticism from Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government as well as Muslim groups, AFP reported.

The appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a group comprised of respected aid charities like the British Red Cross and Oxfam, has emphasized that it has no political agendas and only aims to ease the humanitarian crisis.

The public-funded BBC is, however, not alone in its decision, as ITV and Sky have also refused to show the appeal.

A 10 million pounds (10.5 million euros, 13.6 million dollars) loss in donations has been estimated due to the broadcasting ban.

The 'Stop The War' has estimated a £10 million loss due to the broadcasting ban.
The "Stop The War" coalition has organized huge rallies in London in the past few weekends against Israel's aerial, ground, and sea bombing of Gaza, which claimed the lives of some 1,330 Palestinians and injured thousands others.

British socialist politician and activist Tony Benn has questioned the fairness of British coverage of the Gaza war, Benn told Press TV at a demonstration on January 17, before the end of the 23-day war on Gaza, that he demanded "better and fairer coverage from media in
Britain that does not cover our demonstrations."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gaza Sues Israel over 'War Crimes'

22/01/2009  |  al  Manar   

Now that the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip came to an end, marking another victory for the Resistance in the region, it's time for "action" against the "war crimes" committed by the Zionist entity against the Palestinians.

In this context, the Israeli military control banned the publication of the names and photos of officers and soldiers who have taken part in the Israeli offensive. The Israeli decision was regarded by analysts as an attempt to obstruct the juridical proceedings against Israeli military and political leaders who participated in 'war crimes against humanity.'

The Israeli military sources said that the decision was taken after the propagation of the photos of the Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli excessive and random fire. They noted that international organizations and major states were heading towards accusing the Israeli army of violating international laws. 

Furthermore, the Israeli website "" published on Wednesday arrest warrants against fifteen Israeli figures from the political as well as the military institutions from those who have taken part in the Second Lebanon war and the Gaza war.

At the top of the list comes Defense Minister Ehud Barak who imposed, according to the warrant, a siege, as a collective punishment, on 1.5 million residents of Gaza. On 27 December 2008, the suspect ordered the aerial bombardment of Gazan population centers. The attacks involved hundreds of aircraft sorties, dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on Gazan neighborhoods. 

Israeli outgoing PM Ehud Olmert was also among the "WANTED" list. On the 12th of July 2006, the suspect ordered the bombing of cities and villages in Lebanon, breaking international law. During the attack, the suspect also ordered several thousand cluster bombs to be dropped near residential areas in Lebanon, in defiance to international conventions. In the summer of 2007, the suspect ordered the blockade of 1.5 million people in Gaza, preventing them from receiving adequate food, water and electricity supplies and medication – something explicitly prohibited under international law according to the warrant. 

Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has, of course, its reserved place on the list. On the 12th of July 2006, the suspect along with her accomplices ordered the aerial bombardment and artillery assault on residential areas in Lebanon. For 34 days she authorized troops to make 12,000 aerial sorties, to fire 100,000 artillery shells, damaging 350 schools and completely destroying 15,000 residential units in Lebanon. On 27th December 2008, the suspect and her accomplices ordered an aerial, ground and naval attack on densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip.

The list of "Wanted" Israeli "criminals" also includes Amir Peretz, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Avi Dichter, Carmi Gilon, Dan Halutz, Doron Almog, Eliezer Shkedy, Gabi Ashkenazi, Giora Eiland, Matan Vilani, Moshe Bogie Yaalon and Shaul Mofaz.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kedudukan UMNO - Warga pengundi & Warga kampus

Pro-Mahasiswa menang di dalam pilihanraya UM, perubahan besar ke arah Pro-Mahasiswa.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Truth About the 2009 Gaza Massacre

Eye opening montage of news clips and photos that tell the truth about the events in Gaza. Interviews with Israeli Defence Minister, US President Elect speeches including at AIPAC, CCN research on who broke the ceasefire, a speech from a Palestinian lawmaker. There is no place safe for civillians in Gaza.  Marked UN schools and UN main building targeted.

DSAI on Palestine & Hamas

Malaysian Parliamentarians come together to support a 10-point resolution asking for an end to the war in Gaza.

Gaza: The Killing Zone

Published 15 Sept, 2008, Updated 14 Jan,2009

life in Gaza is a constant gauntlet of Israeli sniper fire, military rockets and army bulldozers. No one is safe. In light of the escalating tensions, we're bringing back one our most moving documentaries, a hard-hitting expose of life in the Occupied territories. We speak to the children caught in the crossfire and find out the true cost of Israel's targeted assassinations policy.

A little boy screams in agony. There’s shrapnel in his eye, leg, stomach and feet. He was playing in the street outside his house when an Israeli helicopter fired missiles at the car of a Hamas member. Ten minutes later, the helicopter returned and fired two more bombs at the decimated car, spraying the surrounding district with sharp metal darts. Makmoud was just 1 of 47 people injured in the attack. Four others were killed. 

The feeling in Gaza is that the West accepts this type of action. It doesn’t matter how much so called ‘collateral damage’ it causes. Whichever side kills last says it is a response to the one before. In the grim calculus of this conflict, around three Palestinians die for every Israeli killed. It’s an equation that keeps old hatreds fresh. 

Israel’s hardline policy may only be aimed at militants but it’s the civilians who end up paying the price. 12 year old Huda Darwish was sitting in her classroom when a stray bullet from an Israeli sniper hit her. After three weeks in a coma, she is finally waking up. Her relatives’ joy quickly vanishes when they realise that the bullet has left her blind. The reality of her shattered life suddenly hits her. “I want to die. Why did this happen to me?” she asks. Her family have no answers. 

We visit Huda’s school in Rafah to see how the accident could possibly have happened. The school is run by the United Nations on a big open site not easy to miss. But an Israeli military position is situated just 500 metres away. As we enter her classroom, a shell explodes nearby. The children flee terrified under their desks. One girl is so traumatised she is in a state of shock. Their teacher says that this happens all the time.

Almost every day, Israeli troops leave their base in Rafah to bulldoze Palestinian houses. “This is a combat area,” explains Colonel Pinky Zoaret. He says he needs to destroy the houses to deny the terrorists cover. But most of the houses belong to ordinary Palestinians. Thousands have lost their homes. And there’s no compensation for the dispossessed. “I can’t sleep,” confides resident Doctor Sameer. “I smoke about 40 to 50 cigarettes a night.” All his life savings are in his house but he knows he could lose it at any time.

Those who try and stop the violence can end up paying with their lives. Rachel Corrie was one of them. She brought the Palestinians’ plight to the world’s attention when she died, crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to protect a building. The IDF maintain that she died because of her own irresponsible and illegal behaviour. But eye witnesses tell a different story. “The driver could clearly see she was there,” states her friend. “But instead of stopping, he continued forward.”

Months later, there are more high profile killings in Gaza. British photographer Tom Hurndall was shot trying to rescue a six year old girl who was stuck out in gunfire. Then cameraman James Miller was killed by Israeli fire. “James died because we trusted them to behave like a civilised army. We knew they could see that we weren’t armed and that we were carrying a white flag. We trusted them not to kill us under those circumstances and they shot James anyway,” states his colleague Saira Shah. 

Gaza still remains a killing zone. 

Courtesy : journeymanpictures 
A report by Sandra Jordan for Channel 4's Dispatches and Unreported World
Publisher: Journeyman Location London, UK Copyright:MBC

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Media Analysis of US Coverage of Arab-Israeli Conflict

Like most Americans, Alison Weir, the editor of a small-town newspaper in California, knew very little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, other than what she had gleaned from the evening news or newspaper headlines. As a journalist, her attention was on issues much closer to home. Neither a muslim nor a jew, she nevertheless became more curious about the topic of the Palestinian uprising. And as she researched it, she became increasingly suspicious that the American media were not telling us the whole story. Months later, she traveled to the occupied territories as an independent journalist to find out for herself what the U.S. media seemed to be omitting.

Three months after returning from Palestine, Alison Weir quit her job and founded If Americans Knew, an organization dedicated to quantifying the ways in which the American media was misinforming the public about the conflict. Ms. Weir explains her group's methodology, analyzes the data, and reports on the key findings.

Monday, January 12, 2009

9 arrested in New York rally on Gaza

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 05:17:49 GMT |

Protesters in New York
At least nine people have been arrested in the United States in a demonstration against the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Seven police officers have also been injured in the Sunday afternoon rally in New York City, the police department said in a statement.

Since Israel launched an all-out war against people in Gaza on December 27, at least 900 Palestinians have been killed and some 4,000 others are reported wounded.

Witnesses said that the rally on Manhattan's West Side began peacefully, but confrontations between police and protesters broke out finally.

"The police pushed us out onto the avenue, and as we were walking down the avenue ... they charged with horses on the sidewalks and they charged with their own bodies and pushed in, and a riot started," Steve Sherman, coordinator of security for United for Peace and Justice and a demonstrator at the rally told CNN.

Backed by Washington, Tel Aviv continues it all out war on Gaza, paying no attention to the UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate end to the conflict.

All UN Security Council members except the US voted for the resolution on Friday.

The US had vetoed three other resolutions condemning the Israeli acts since the beginning of Tel Aviv's onslaught on Gaza.

The United States has so far vetoed over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the council since 1972.

Meanwhile in Europe, more than 250,000 Spanish people held the largest pro-Palestinian rally to show their anger over the Israeli bloodshed.

Italy, Greece, and Belgium were among other European countries that joined people around the world to denounce the attacks. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Open Letter to Barack Hussein Obama, President-elect of the United States of America

January 1, 2009
Dear Mr. President,

I did not vote for you in the Presidential Election because I am Malaysian.But I consider myself one of your constituents because what you do or say will affect me and my country as well.

I welcome your promise for change. Certainly your country, the United States of America needs a lot of changes. That is because America and Americans have become the most hated people in the world. Even Europeans dislike your arrogance. Yet you were once admired and liked because you freed a lot of countries from conquest and subjugation.

It is the custom on New Year's day for people to make resolutions. You must have listed your good resolutions already. But may I politely suggest that you also resolve to do the following in pursuit of Change.

1) Stop killing people. The United States is too fond of killing people in order to achieve its objectives. You call it war, but today's wars are not about professional soldiers fighting and killing each other. It is about killing people, ordinary innocent people by the hundreds of thousands. Whole countries will be devastated.

War is primitive, the cavemen's way of dealing with a problem. Stop your arms build up and your planning for future wars.

2) Stop indiscriminate support of Israeli killers with your money and your weapons. The planes and the bombs killing the people of Gaza are from you.

3) Stop applying sanctions against countries which cannot do the same against you.

In Iraq your sanctions killed 500,000 children through depriving them of medicine and food. Others were born deformed. What have you achieved with this cruelty? Nothing except the hatred of the victims and right-thinking people.

4) Stop your scientists and researchers from inventing new and more diabolical weapons to kill more people more efficiently.

5) Stop your arms manufacturers from producing them. Stop your sales of arms to the world. It is blood money that you earn. It is un-Christian.

6) Stop trying to democratize all the countries of the world. Democracy may work for the United States but it does not always work for other countries.

Don't kill people because they are not democratic. Your crusade to democratize countries has killed more people than the authoritarian Governments which you overthrew. And you have not succeeded anyway.

7) Stop the casinos which you call financial institutions. Stop hedge funds, derivatives and currency trading. Stop banks from lending non-existent money by the billions.

Regulate and supervise your banks. Jail the miscreants who made profits from abusing the system.

8) Sign the Kyoto Protocol and other international agreements.

9) Show respect for the United Nations.

I have many other resolutions for change which I think you should consider and undertake. But I think you have enough on your plate for this 2009th year of the Christian Era.

If you can do only a few of what I suggest, you will be remembered by the world as a great leader. Then the United States will again be the most admired nation. Your embassies will be able to take down the high fences and razor-wire coils that surround them.

May I wish you a Happy New Year and a great Presidency.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad
(Former Prime Minister of Malaysia)

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