Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dumping Musharraf

Is Pakistan Expendable?

Dumping Musharraf


Weekend Edition

July 8 / 9, 2006

There is a whiff of "regime change" in the air these days, but not where you might expect it. Not in Iraq, where the conservative U.S.-backed Shiites are already in power. Not in Iran, where White House threats have served to unite, rather than divide, that country. But in Pakistan, where President Pervez Musharraf has recently fallen out of U.S. favor.

Consider the following developments.

The Bush administration's "man in Kabul," Afghan President Hamid Karzai, recently fingered Pakistan as the source of the current fighting in the southern part of his country. "The world should go where terrorism is nourished, where it is provided money and ideology," he told a Kabul press conference this past June. "The war in Afghanistan should not be limited to Afghanistan."

Chris Patten, former European Union commissioner for external affairs, echoed this theme in a mid-May commentary in the Wall Street Journal. "The problem in Afghanistan," wrote Patten, "is Islamabad."

When President Bush visited Pakistan in March, he lectured President Musharraf about the need to be more aggressive in the "war on terrorism," although Pakistan has lost more soldiers fighting the Taliban in its northwestern tribal areas than the entire NATO coalition has lost in Afghanistan. And Bush refused to discuss the issue of Kashmir, the major flashpoint in Pakistan-India relations that has brought the two nuclear-armed powers to the brink of war on several occasions.

Indeed, when Musharraf asked for the same nuclear agreement that Washington had just handed New Delhi, Bush openly insulted his Islamabad hosts. With the Pakistani president standing stiffly beside him, Bush told the press, "I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and histories."

The nuclear deal-which was favorably voted out of House and Senate committees-would let India bypass Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty sanctions slapped on it for secretly developing atomic weapons. The Indians could freely buy uranium for their civilian reactors and in turn divert their meager domestic uranium supplies into constructing more nuclear weapons.

The Bush Administration also cut $350 million in civilian and military aid to Pakistan because of a " failure" to improve democracy and human rights.

And according to Syed Saleem Shahzad, Pakistan bureau chief for the Asia Times, " Western intelligence" has helped funnel money through Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and London to insurgents in Pakistan's Baluchistan Province.

One can hardly blame Pakistan for feeling as though they are in the U.S. crosshairs. But why the sudden thumb's down from Washington? Musharraf has basically done everything the White House wanted him to do, including breaking with the Taliban and sending 90,000 troops to seal the border with Afghanistan.

The answer is not that Pakistan has fallen out of favor, but that it is a pawn that has outlived its usefulness in a global chess match aimed at China.

Chess with China

In 1992 the George H.W. Bush administration drew up a Defense Planning Guidance document that laid out a blueprint for a post-Cold War world. "The United States will attempt to dissuade any military competitor from developing disruptive or other capabilities that could enable regional hegemony or hostile action against the United States," the document read, continuing, "Of the major and emerging powers, China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States."

Jump ahead to the year 2000 and a Foreign Affairs article by soon-to-be national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice: "China is not a 'status quo' power, but one that would like to alter Asia's balance of power in its own favor The United States must deepen its cooperation with Japan and South Korea and maintain its commitment to a robust military presence in the region," she wrote, adding that the United States had to "pay close attention to India's role in the regional balance" to recruit the latter into an anti-China alliance.

While September 11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq derailed this grand scheme, recent developments suggest it is back on track, with strong support from the influential American Enterprise Institute, the Project for a New American Century, and wealthy foundations like Scaife, Olin, and Carthage.

The anti-China alliance is already well underway.

Japan and Australia have agreed to field U.S.-supplied anti-ballistic missiles, and the administration is wooing India to do the same. While the rationale for the ABMs is North Korea, the real target is China's twenty intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Japan-which has one of the largest navies in the world-is stepping up its military coordination with the United States and has agreed to support the United States in case it intervenes in a war between China and Taiwan.

In the meantime, the United States is pouring men and materials into Asia and beefing up bases in Japan and Guam. It is also conducting war games with India, and jointly patrolling the Malacca Straits with the Indian Navy.

There is a certain schizophrenia in U.S. policy toward China, because the United States needs China to ramrod the Six Party Talks with North Korea and would like China to join Washington's full court press on Iran. So far, however, China has refused to go along with economic sanctions against either Pyongyang or Tehran, a stance that has chilled relations with the Bush administration even further.

These counter-trends, however, are more than offset by Washington's continuing efforts to build bases in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, plus recent attacks by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on China's military (using some of the same language as in the 1992 document). In short, the Defense Guidance Plan appears to be alive and well.

But while chess is a supremely logical game, diplomacy is considerably messier, and the grand scheme to corner the dragon is stirring up some dangerous regional furies.

Japan Rising?

To get Japan on board the anti-China coalition, Washington has encouraged Tokyo to adopt a more muscular foreign policy. As a result, Japan has sent troops to Iraq and dumped Article Nine of its constitution renouncing war as a "sovereign right of the nation."

When he was secretary of state, Colin Powell told the Financial Times, "If Japan is going to play a full role on the world's stage, Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution will have to be examined."

Japanese right-wingers, with the support of over 100 members of the Diet, as well as powerful industrial organizations like Canon and Mitsubishi, are pushing textbooks that rewrite the history of World War II and downplay Japanese atrocities. But this resurgent Japanese nationalism has angered and frightened nations in the region, many of which have vivid memories of World War II.

Goading the dragon has become almost a sport in Japan. The government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recently took control of a lighthouse first established by right-wing nationalists on Diaoyu Island, an action China called a "provocation against, and an intrusion into territorial sovereignty." Japan and China have also clashed over the Chunxiao offshore oil field. A Japanese official told the Financial Times that Tokyo was pursuing "proportional escalation" over the fields.

South Korea, which suffered through more than three decades of brutal Japanese occupation, is barely on speaking terms with Tokyo, and has come close to blows with Japan over the Tokdo Islands claimed by both nations.

Washington's support for Japan's growing militarism has also fueled anti-Americanism in South Korea and a growing movement to close U.S. bases in that country. This is hardly the atmosphere for a grand alliance.

From Kashmir to Baluchistan

The law of unintended consequences may be playing itself out with Indian and Pakistan as well. India's central strategy has always been to insure control of Kashmir and to weaken the Pakistani Army, two goals that the Bush administration seems to share.

According to the Asia Times, a CIA official told the Indians that weakening the Pakistani army was central to the U.S. goal of bringing "democracy" to Pakistan, though the lack of it never bothered Washington in the past. The Times also reports that the CIA has been meeting with exiled former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who recently formed the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy.

General Hamid Gul, former head of the Pakistani InterService Intelligence organization, told the PakTribune that he thought the United States was aiming to replace Musharraf.

If the United States sides with India on Kashmir, Pakistan could be looking at a strategic defeat in a long-running dispute that would not only weaken the army but possibly destabilize the entire country.

So could a stalemate in Pakistan's counterinsurgency war in Baluchistan.

The Baluchistan conflict dates back to the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. The Baluchs, who are ethnically distinct from the Punjabis who dominate Pakistan, were forced to become part of the new state. It is Pakistan's poorest province and at the same time home to the country's largest oil and gas deposits, two realities that help fuel the insurgency.

India has been sharply critical of Pakistani actions in Baluchistan, although the Indians are highly aggressive with their own separatist movements.

In a March meeting with U.S. Central Command chief General John Abizaid, Musharraf accused India of aiding the insurgents financially, a charge New Delhi denies.

Is U.S. support for the nuclear deal and the Kashmir policy a quid pro quo for India joining the anti-China alliance? It is hard to fathom what else might explain Washington's relentless criticism of Pakistan for not doing enough in the "war on terrorism," or the recent cut in aid.

Pakistan's response has been to raise defense spending, step up its production of nuclear weapons, and test a new generation of long-range missiles. But there is a significant section of the Indian elite that doesn't particularly fear a nuclear war between the two nations. "India can survive a nuclear attack," says former Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes, "but Pakistan cannot."

Washington's obsession with China is unleashing some particularly malevolent forms of nationalism that threaten to destabilize a broad swath of the region from South Asia to the north Pacific. In this chess match, India, with its enormous population and economic potential, is a major piece on the board. Pakistan, with a sixth the population and a tenth the economic potential, is a pawn.

An expendable one it would appear.

Conn Hallinan is a foreign policy analyst for Foreign Policy In Focus and a lecturer in journalism at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Keeping Up with the Carnage: Israel's Many Slaughters

Israelis Slaughter U.N. Observers
Tuesday July 25th 2006, 5:31 pm

After Israel bombed a U.N. shelter near Khiam, Lebanon, killing four observers, Daniel Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the United States, had the audacity to tell Wolf Blizter of CNN he expects an apology from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for complaining.

Of course, this is nothing new, as the Israelis routinely attack the United Nations and little if anything comes of such murderous crimes against humanity.

For instance, on April 18, 1996, in the Lebanese village of Qana, during Israel’s “Operation Grapes of Wrath” invasion, the IOF killed 106 Lebanese refugees seeking protection at a Fijian UNIFIL compound. As usual, the Israeli government expressed regret, but words are cheap, especially considering the fact the IOF consistently issues such meaningless apologies after slaughtering innocents. The Zionist state added insult to injury, or rather mass murder, by not paying compensation to the victims.

A few days earlier, on April 12, an IOF attack helicopter fired a missile at an ambulance in the village of al-Mansuri, killing two women and four young girls. On the same day the Israelis killed refugees at Qana, a “helicopter gunship attack on a house in the village of Upper Nabatiyeh on April 18, 1996 … killed nine civilians, including a newborn baby, six children under thirteen years old, and their mother,” according to Human Rights Watch.

No word if Daniel Ayalon or his counterpart at the time expected an apology from the families of the victims.

Israel’s IOF has engaged in numerous massacres in Bint Jbeil, Khan Yunis, Maaraka, Jibaa, Qibya, Saida, Trqumia, Homeen al-Tahta, Seer al-Garbiah, Yohmor, Sabra and Shatila, on and on, ad nauseam, killing thousands of Arabs, massacres so common we rarely hear about them here in America, what with our “fair and balanced” corporate media.

The numbers of United Nations personnel killed by the IOF pales in comparison. However, on 3 December 2002, sixty-four U.N. workers issued a petition demanding the Israeli military stop “beating and killing” them, according to the Memory Hole, an appropriate venue, as the corporate media ignored the petition.

“You might think that such a strongly-worded statement sent by more than five-dozen United Nations workers to the ‘Middle East’s only democracy’ would be highly newsworthy. Apparently not. Among the very few media outlets to cover it were Reuters, the BBC, the Independent (London), Ha’aretz (Jerusalem), and the Jerusalem Post. Notice that all these sources are British or Israeli. Not one American media outlet has covered the story.”

“[F]or two years United Nations staff have been subject to escalating harassment and violence by Israel’s military, so that the protection supposed to be afforded by the blue letters of the UN is being steadily eroded,” the petition explains. “UN staff—international and Palestinian alike—have been verbally abused, stripped, beaten, shot at, and killed by Israeli soldiers.”

Tragically Iain Hook was not the first person working with the UN to die at the hands of the IDF this year. In March, Kamal Hamdan was shot and killed while travelling in a clearly marked UNRWA ambulance in the West Bank. In April, Husni Amer died in Israeli military custody in Jenin after, according to witnesses, receiving a brutal beating by the soldiers at the time of his arrest. From its silence, we presume the Israeli authorities have ignored UN requests for an investigation and report of these two incidents, and have not seen fit to take any disciplinary action against the soldiers involved. To us, this seems to confirm a pattern of utter contempt on the part of the Israeli army for the lost lives of these men, the safety of UN staff or the minimum standards imposed by international law which should protect UN staff and other humanitarian workers.

Again, no word if Daniel Ayalon demanded an apology.


It appears the IOF targeted UNIFIL for a very specific reason, namely to send the message the Zionist state doesn’t need no stinkin’ peacekeepers, especially peacekeepers who mostly evacuate citizens from Israel’s killing fields. More specifically, it was a message sent in regard to the prospect of yet another multinational peacekeeping force sent to Lebanon. As Bush, or rather the neocons, tell us, Israel must be left alone to go after Hezbollah, that is to say Lebanese resisting invasion and occupation.

It didn’t take long for the corporate media to shellack the murder of the UN observers with sickening excuses. In addition to excuses, the Chicago Tribune felt compelled, as a standard lickspittle for Israeli crimes, to powder puff the invasion:

“The experience for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, has not been a good one. In place since 1978 and comprising soldiers from France, Poland, India, Italy and a few other countries, UNIFIL was unable to stop the July 12 Hezbollah border raid that resulted in the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. It was also unable to block retaliating Israeli troops from entering Lebanon a few days later.”

As we know, the Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon, as reported by Forbes, the Associated Press, ABC News, the Boston Herald, the Hindustan Times, the Bahrain News Agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, AFP, Asia Times, and others. For more on the ever-morphing story, see this blog entry.

But then, naturally, the Chicago Tribune would be bucking the pro-Israel corporate media stampede if it told the truth. Imagine Winston Smith rewriting historical documents so that they match the current party line, which changes on a daily basis, over at the Ministry of Truth, and you’ll get a good idea of what’s going on here.

One wonders what the response would be if the Palestinians and Lebanese “retaliated” against Israel for kidnapping their citizens, numbering in the hundreds.

Finally, according to the Washington Post, the IOF continued firing on the targeted shelter, even as rescue workers attempted to clear the rubble. But then this should not be surprising, as the surviving members of the USS Liberty, the intelligence ship attacked by Israel on June 8, 1967, will likely tell you. In that instance, our “friends” attacked lifeboats with torpedoes and machine gun fire, a war crime.

It seems the Israelis are mighty fond of war crimes.

Hezbollah and the Cluelessness of Margaret Beckett

Tuesday July 25th 2006, 2:56 pm

According to Margaret Beckett, foreign secretary, officially known as Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, hailing from one of the four Great Offices of State on the other side of the pond, Syria and Iran are to be blamed for supporting Hezbollah and thus responsible for the terrible rain of cluster bombs, bunker busters, and white phosphorous murdering the innocent people of Lebanon, slaughtered in their high rises and minivans.

“Margaret Beckett said the two states’ support for Hezbollah was ‘encouraging extremism’ and putting peace in the Middle East ‘further out of reach,’” reports the BBC. “She acknowledged events there were ‘a tragedy’ for ordinary Lebanese people but said Hezbollah was ‘deliberately siting missiles in the heart of civilian populations…. It is bound to cause difficulty when those missiles are continually raining down on Israel and clearly there is a pressure on Israel to attempt to take out those missile sites.’”

Here in the United States and the United Kingdom our rulers, almost to the man and woman, are making excuses for the Israeli Wehrmacht as it decimates the people of Lebanon, a war crime of immense dimension. Almost everything the corporate media tells us about the “conflict” (massacre) is either an outright lie or obfuscation.

Hezbollah is portrayed as a mindless terrorist group, driven to madness by an irrational hatred for Jews, when in fact Hezbollah was forged out of resistance to Israeli aggression and continues to resist as the Israelis once again invade poor Lebanon.

On numerous occasions, prior to the latest outrage, Israel had violated Lebanese sovereignty, indiscriminately killed Lebanese, shelled Lebanese villages, kidnapped Lebanese as “bargaining chips,” and continues to hold Lebanese land, stolen the during the “Six Day War” of 1967.

Hezbollah was formed after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 as it conspired with the fascist Phalange to kill Palestinians and Shi’a Muslims.

Hezbollah, unlike Margaret Beckett and the criminally apologetic corporate media, understands well the plan to seize Lebanon, formulated many decades ago.

Hezbollah realizes there is no compromise with the Jabotinsky “Iron Wall” version of Zionism, currently ruling Israel.

“Jabotinsky was openly racist. Here he followed Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, who saw the European Jewish colonial settlement of Palestine as ‘the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism,’” writes author John Rose (The Myths of Zionism and Israel: the Hijack State). “The neo-conservative strategy that drives George Bush’s Middle East policies foresees the US and Israel reshaping the whole of the Middle East in their interests, by force if necessary,” and the current campaign—using depleted uranium and white phosphorus, targeting apartment blocks and refugees—is but the latest manifestation of this deadly and criminal force, completely at odds with international and humanitarian law.

“In an echo of the US position, which supports Israel’s right to self-defense, [Beckett] also dismissed growing pressure from MPs for the government to call for an immediate ceasefire and take a harder line on Israel,” reports the Guardian.

“The foreign secretary flatly rejected a claim by Sir Peter Tapsell, a Tory MP, that the prime minister was ‘colluding’ with US President George Bush in giving Israel the go-ahead to wage ‘unlimited war’—a war crime he alleged was ‘gravely reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter of Warsaw.’”

Tapsell is correct, of course—not only is Beckett “colluding” with Bush (or rather the top drawer neocons, who are largely Jabotinsky Zionists), she is facilitating war crimes, as enumerated under the Geneva Conventions, a humanitarian document originated by Henri Dunant, who was outraged by the horrors of war he witnessed at the Battle of Solferino in 1859.

For Beckett—and the neocon choir advocating World War Three, or Four, take your pick—no doubt Henri Dunant was an appeaser and a wuss to boot.

Hugo Goes to Moscow: Chavez Eyes Jets and Weapons Factory for Venezuela

Moscow/Minsk - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Russia on Tuesday to seal a deal to buy weapons he believes his country needs to protect against what he claims are US plans to occupy his country.

US-Venezuelan relations have badly deteriorated over the last several years, but the United States has dismissed as absurd Chavez' allegations that the United States wants to invade Venezuela.

Chavez began the three-day visit in the southern city of Volgograd before travelling to the military rifle-producing centre of Izhevsk and then to Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday or Thursday.

Cooperation in oil and gas exploration is another key topic. Chavez is due to meet with Russian oil company representatives to discuss construction of the world's longest pipeline running 8,000 kilometres across South America.

Speaking earlier Tuesday in the Belarusian capital Minsk, Chavez said his country had 'to keep a sword handy' to defend itself and would enter into new strategic alliances for the same purpose. Before flying to Russia, Chavez visited Belarus, which is considered the last authoritarian state in Europe.

Russia and Venezuela have signed contracts on the supply of more than 100,000 AK-103 rifles, a modification of the AK-47 assault weapon, and on licensed production in Venezuela of the rifles and ammunition. According to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, Caracas will also buy 30 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter-bombers and 30 military helicopters in a deal worth more than 1 billion US dollars.

The United States has lodged a formal protest with Russia over the possible sale, which it fears could upset the balance of power in South America. Russia rejected the objections as groundless, stressing that the deals with Venezuela do not break international law.

In Washington, US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey reiterated US concerns over the sale and suggested the money could be better used to improve the lives of Venezuelans. He urged the Russians to reconsider any potential deals for weapons contracts.

'We repeatedly talked to the Russian government (to say) that the arms purchases planned by Venezuela exceeded its defensive needs and are not helpful in terms of regional stability,' Casey said.

'Given the fact that this aircraft costs between 30 million (dollars) and 45 million (dollars) each, depending on which model you're talking about, kind of raises some questions about Venezuela's priorities,' he added.

Chavez' socialist government also aims to arm and train up to 2 million Venezuelans against a potential incursion.

The Venezuelan leader used his three-day visit to Minsk, in Belarus, as a backdrop for further vociferous attacks on Washington, using Communist-era phrases now heard rarely in the former Soviet republic.

'The national projects of our countries are aimed at creating a multipolar world and are directed towards the destruction of imperialism, which tries to create a unipolar world,' Chavez said in a speech at a Belarusian military academy.

'Countries like Venezuela and Belarus must keep their hands on their sword,' he added. 'America has tried to close off our countries ... with its hegemony and imperialism.'

The two states, both antagonistic to the West and targets of US diplomatic isolation efforts, have formed a 'strategic alliance,' Chavez declared. Military trade would form a key part of relations between the two states.

Chavez gave no details on a military cooperation agreement reached in Belarus. The deal would begin with sales of spare parts to service Venezuelan military equipment, a Belarusian Foreign Ministry official said on Monday.

From Russia Chavez plans to visit Iran, Mali, Qatar and Vietnam.

© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Israel Targeted UN Monitors

July 26, 2006 - 9:21AM

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on Israel to investigate what he termed the "apparently deliberate targeting" by Israeli defence forces of a UN observer post in Lebanon.

The Israeli air strike killed four UN military observers who were part of the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, UN and Lebanese officials said.

"I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defence Forces of a UN Observer post in southern Lebanon," Annan said in a statement issued at UN headquarters in New York.

He was in Rome for an international meeting on the Middle East on Wednesday.

"This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked UN post at Khiam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that UN positions would be spared Israeli fire," Annan said.

In Jerusalem, an Israeli army spokeswoman said the military was investigating the report.

The UN force commander in southern Lebanon, General Alain Pelligrini had been in repeated contact with Israeli officers throughout the day, stressing the need to protect that particular UN position from attack, he said.

"I call on the government of Israel to conduct a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack on UN positions and personnel must stop," Annan said.

The names and nationalities of the dead peacekeepers were being withheld pending notification of their families, Annan said.

There had been 14 incidents of firing close to the outpost from Israeli forces in the afternoon before it was hit, UN officials said, adding that the firing continued even as rescue operations were under way.


IDF artillery shelling kills 2 children, 4 others in northern Gaza Strip

By Avi Issacharoff, Yuval Azoulay, Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents, and News Agencies

Israel Defense Forces shelling in northern Gaza on Monday killed six Palestinians in three separate incidents.

In the first incident on Monday an IDF shell landed near a crowd of people standing outside an apartment building in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, killing three people, Palestinian hospital officials said. Two were civilians, residents of the building, and the third was an off-duty police officer, residents said.

The second incident was an IDF shell shot at the same neighborhood, which wounded six Palestinians. An 11-year old girl died later of her wounds.


Both incidents were likely a case of IDF units shooting at launch areas from which Qassam rockets were previously fired. Over the past few days, the IDF has called for the neighborhood?s residents to leave the area, as it planned to strike at a house that served as a storage place for weapons and to shoot at launch areas in the neighborhood.

The third recent round of shelling by the IDF killed two and wounded several others in the western part of Beit Lahia. An IDF missile hit a carriage pulled by a donkey, killing 62-year old woman and her 12-year old grandson, who were standing near the carriage. Three others were wounded in the incident.

The IDF has also attacked a house in the Gaza City neighborhood of Zeitoun. IDF sources said the type of rockets previously shot at Ashkelon were manufactured in the building.

The IDF has advised residents to evacuate in pamphelts and in the Arab language media. Following these warnings and Monday?s shellings, dozens of families have left Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun fearing further bombings.

An IDF spokeswoman said troops had fired the shells after locating a number of Qassam launch sites in the area. The IDF said that one of its missiles has likely gone off track and fallen near the "officers dwelling" in the city. The spokeswoman added that the terror organizations were responsible for the casualties, as the IDF had given previous warnings that it would target Qassam launching sites.

Five Qassams fall in Israel
Three Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in the western Negev town of Sderot on Monday. One landed near a school in the city and the others in open fields. No injuries or damage were reported.

Two other Qassam rocket were fired at Ashkelon on Monday. One landed in the city's industrial zone, causing damage, but no injuries.

The Islamic Jihad militant group said it fired the two rockets at Ashkelon to mark a visit to the region by "the Zionist Condoleezza Rice", the U.S. secretary of state.

"Let Rice go to hell," senior Hamas leader, Osama al-Muzaini, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called Monday on the United States to pressure Israel to stop its nearly month-old offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"All that we ask the American administration is to take a moral stance toward the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian suffering and to bear its responsibility as a superpower in this world," he said. He called on America "to restrain the Israeli aggression and stop it."

IDF targets Gaza house in 'Lebanon measure'
Earlier Monday, an Israel Air Force helicopter fired a missile at a two-story house at the entrance to the Shati refugee camp next to Gaza City, causing damage but no casualties, Palestinians said.

The house belongs to a Hamas activist. The military said the target was a storage facility for rockets and weapons of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

This was the first time the IDF had targeted a private house in Gaza, indicating that it has begun to apply its "Lebanon measures" on the Gaza Strip.

IDF troops telephoned the owners of the house ahead of the strike, advising them to evacuate. The house was severely damaged, but the residents of the house were able to escape without injury.

An IDF spokesman said the army would continue striking houses under suspicion to prevent militant groups from accumulating weapons. "The defense that satisfies civilians won't stand against terrorist organizations," said the spokesman.

PRC denies reports on end to Qassam fire
A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees has denied reports that Palestinian factions had reached agreement on an end to the Qassam rocket attacks against Israel.

Abu Mujahid said on Sunday that there is no such agreement with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"This is impossible at a time when Israeli aggression continues against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples," Abu Mujahid said in an interview with Ramattan, a Palestinian news agency.

He also denied that representatives of the Popular Resistance Committees had participated in a meeting Abbas had organized with other Palestinian factions.

It was reported on Sunday that the heads of Hamas in the Gaza Strip agree in principle to a general agreement with Israel on a cease-fire. The deal reportedly calls for an end to targeted killings and Israel Defense Forces incursions, in return for an end to Qassam rocket attacks.

Abbas met last week with the heads of Hamas and urged them to reach an agreement with Fatah prior to today's arrival of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region.

Secret 2001 Pentagon Plan to Attack Lebanon

Bush's Plan for "Serial War" revealed by General Wesley Clark

By A Concerned Citizen

07/24/06 "GlobalResearch"

"[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]... a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan" (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)

According to General Wesley Clark--the Pentagon, by late 2001, was Planning to Attack Lebanon

"Winning Modern Wars" (page 130) General Clark states the following:

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

...He said it with reproach--with disbelief, almost--at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. ...I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."

Of course, this wholly consistent with the US Neocons' master plan, "Rebuilding America's Defenses," published in August 2000 by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

And, as PNAC's website ( http://www.newamericancentury.org ) notes, that the lead author of that plan, Thomas Donnelly, was a top official of Lockheed Martin--a company well acquainted with war and its profit potential.

It's no surprise that Republicans are starting to talk about withdrawing troops from Iraq; the troops will be needed in Lebanon. And maybe Sudan and Syria?


More on General Clark--and his failure to mention all this in his pre-Iraq war commentary on CNN--is in Sydney Schanberg's 9/29/03 article "The Secrets Clark Kept: What the General Never Told Us About the Bush Plan for Serial War" at http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0340,schanberg,47436,1.html

Its “Put up or Shut up” Time in Lebanon

Its “Put up or Shut up” Time in Lebanon

By Mike Whitney

04/24/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- “Over the past few days, the Israelis did the maximum they can do, from the air and sea. There is no target—old, new, assumed, expected, based on information and analysis—they did not hit… (But) Hezbollah is still managing the battle calmly, slowly, quietly, and without any emotional reaction. You can see this. There are no unnecessary threats and no random rhetoric…We are not a classic army extending from the sea to Mt. Hermon. We are a popular and serious resistance movement that is present in many areas and axes…Our equation and principles are the following: When the Israelis enter, they must pay dearly in terms of their tanks, officers, and soldiers. This is what we pledge to do and we will honor our pledge, God willing.” Hasan Nasrallah, Secretary General Hezbollah, Al Jazeera interview.

The Israeli High-Command loves the air-war phase of the conflict. After all, no one gets killed at 30,000 ft. The only victims of this lethal-strategy are the unlucky women and children who are left scampering for their lives while Israeli bombs flatten their homes and all their worldly possessions.

For 10 days now Israel has casually showered Lebanon with laser-guided munitions, bunker-busters, Daisy Cutters and cluster-bombs. The cheerily-named ordinance reflects the profound affection that US/Israel feel for the deadly weaponry that assures their dominant place in the global order.

But, let’s face it; the bombing campaign is the “coward’s war”. It doesn’t take bravery to pelt civilians with high-explosives when the F-16s are unchallenged in the sky. Nor does it show any courage to ravage the countryside leveling bridges, milk factories and mosques. That’s just terrorism, isn’t it?

But, now we’re entering the ground phase of the war and that does take courage. Israel is massing troops on Lebanon’s southern border and, apparently, has already taken a few small towns in the south. The Israeli-friendly media can be expected to craft a narrative that is sympathetic to the aggressor but, that’s okay. No one disputes the value of propaganda or the rights of the people who own the printing presses, but that will not diminish what is about to take place in southern Lebanon. We are about to see the most powerful army in the Middle East, armed with every homicidal device know to man, go up against a tough-minded, well-disciplined nationalist guerilla-force.

Israel thinks that they’ll be out in a week or two.

We’ll see. Perhaps, it will turn out to be the “cakewalk” that they predict, but maybe not. Hezbollah may not match up very well to the Israeli war-machine, but they are considerably more formidable than the unarmed women and children in the Gaza Strip. Israel will have to fight tooth-and-nail if it wants to succeed in “disarming” Hezbollah according to its “stated” plan. However, if it turns out that we are still having this discussion 3 years from now, we should be willing to admit that Israel lost the war to a very tenacious, hard-fighting organization.

Hezbollah is reviled in the West as a terrorist organization. That may be true, but what difference does it make? It arose as a direct result of Israeli occupation, just as the militias in Iraq have naturally grown up in response to American occupation.

The “militia” is the most basic societal unit. It emerges when the centralized government fragments and is unable to provide security for its people. That is when the masses of young men and women flock to tribal and religious groups with which they most closely identify. That means that Hezbollah is an Israeli invention just like Hamas. If we choose to condemn Hezbollah, than Israel must be held equally responsible. That is the inescapable logic of 18 years of Israeli occupation. Occupation creates militias; deal with it.

In the present conflict, Hezbollah is the only nationalist organization that is prepared to defend its native-soil from foreign aggression. That’s worth something isn’t it?

Sure, if we accept the Bush-Olmert lexicon, than the Israeli aggression is just another extension of the war on terror. I hope that people are smarter than that by now. Just as there were no WMD or links to terrorist organizations in Iraq, Hezbollah’s connections to terrorism are similarly opaque.

Was it wrong for Hezbollah to defend their country and chase Israel from Lebanese soil? Is that terrorism?

In any event, the present altercation is not about Hezbollah. It is about the right of people to defend themselves against unprovoked aggression and violations to their national sovereignty. The two captured Israeli soldiers are completely irrelevant. Israel has many Lebanese prisoners in its jails; that certainly would not justify the Lebanese army marching through Israel destroying everything in its path.

“Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander”; we must apply the same standards evenhandedly and without prejudice. Israel has never bothered with a United Nations resolution to justify the current hostilities, and yet, it claims the right to “unilaterally” enforce resolution 1559 (The disarming of Lebanese militias) What sort of farce is that? Israel has stubbornly ignored over 60 UN resolutions in the last 38 years; defying the world body with nearly as much disdain as it snuffs out the lives of innocent Palestinians.

The situation could have been peacefully resolved with a simple “prisoner swap”; a practice that Israel has engaged in many times before. So, why not now?

The real reasons are already known. Numerous reports in the media have confirmed that Israel planned its attack on Lebanon at least a year earlier; the 2 soldiers were merely a pretext for war. There’s nothing anyone can say or do that will stop the impending confrontation; it is a vital part of the Israeli scheme to redraw the map of the Middle East and they won’t be deterred.

The neoconservative plan for the region is no secret. The brain-trust at the American Enterprise Institute expects to see Old Glory and the Star of David flying over every inch of ground from “sea to shining sea”. (In this case, we’re talking about the Red Sea to the Caspian) The US/Israeli overlords will govern a loose confederation of broken Arab nations which are kept in a perennial state of tribal-warfare while their resources are trucked-off to oil-thirsty markets in the West. Lebanon is simply the next domino in the way of regional supremacy.

The conflagration in Lebanon will define 4th Generation (4-G) warfare in unforeseeable ways. It will determine whether a disparate, grass-roots militia can pose a credible deterrent to the high-tech, laser-guided corporate war machine. It will decide whether a cadre of resourceful, poorly-armed nationalists can fend off the overwhelming force of the world’s 4th largest army.

The propaganda war is already in full bloom, but the foul effluent issuing from the keyboards at the New York Times and Washington Post will have no effect on events on the ground. The “coward’s war” is over; the bombing has only strengthened the resolve of the Lebanese nationalists. Now its time to either put up or shut up.

We’ll see if the “world’s most moral army” is capable of “disarming” Hezbollah or not.

Israel’s Criminal Accomplice

Israel’s Criminal Accomplice

By Paul Craig Roberts

07/24/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- There never was any doubt of the Bush Regime’s complicity in Israel’s naked aggression against the Lebanese civilian population. Bush has protected Israel from world condemnation. Bush has blocked those who attempted to bring a stop to Israel’s bombing of residential neighborhoods and civilian infrastructure, and now Bush rushes more bombs for Israel to drop on Lebanon.

On July 22, the New York Times revealed the full extent of the Bush Regime’s participation in the heinous war crimes being inflicted on the Lebanese people: “The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign. . . . The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said.”

Obviously, Bush and his government do not think Israel has yet murdered enough Lebanese. Bush denounces Syria and Iran for allegedly arming Hezbollah, while he rushes more deadly weapons to Israel.

The entire world is appalled at the Bush Regime’s support for Israel’s policy of expanding its borders through naked aggression.

Every Arab and Muslim now knows that the US is Israel’s enabler. Arab hopes are dead that the US will pressure Israel to behave more humanely toward people not armed with American fighter planes, tanks, and high explosives.

America’s complicity in Israel’s war crimes is more than America’s UK lapdog can stand. According to the French news service, AFP, “The United States is starting to look isolated in its refusal to rein in Israel’s attacks on Lebanon with key ally Britain criticizing the wholesale killing of Lebanese civilians and widespread destruction.”

AFP reports that Britain’s deputy foreign minister Kim Howells “questioned Israel’s military tactics and slammed Israel’s killing of ‘so many children and so many people. If Israel is chasing Hezbollah, then go for Hezbollah. You don’t go for the entire Lebanese nation.’”

But is Israel after Hezbollah or is Israel after the real estate that comprises southern Lebanon?

Rightwing Israelis say Israel needs southern Lebanon as a buffer against Hezbollah. If Israel were to succeed in driving Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon, Israel would then want a buffer for southern Lebanon, where Israeli settlements would quickly spring up, And after that buffer, another, just as Israel has gobbled up Palestine.

The American people need to understand what everyone else in the world understands: The Bush Regime is empowering the Israeli state to push out its borders by stealing land from other people.

This Israeli policy is the source of the Middle East conflict.

It is ignorant and immoral to blame the conflict on Hamas and Hezbollah. These organizations were created by Israeli aggression. Lacking American jet fighters, tanks, ordinance, and resupply, these organizations resort to terror, which is the only weapon that they have. Otherwise, the world would pay no attention as Arabs are ground under by Israeli expansion.

The fault is America’s more than Israel’s. The American government and the brainwashed American public are the source of the conflict. If America did not enable Israeli aggression, Israel would have to behave responsibly and endeavor to co-exist with its neighbors.

Israel is an artificial state created in Arab lands by European colonial powers after World War II. Instead of working to win acceptance and overcoming Arab hostility to Europe shipping off “the Jewish problem” to the Middle East, Israel has antagonized its Middle East neighbors. Israel can play the bully-boy role, because the US acts as Israel’s big brother. With its policy of fang and claw, Israel endangers its own right to exist.

Many distinguished Israelis came to this conclusion long before I did. I am only repeating what can be read in more eloquent writings of distinguished Israelis.

Israel’s greatest friends are its own peace movement and those few in America who dare to criticize Israel’s self-destructive policies. It is not anti-semitic to hold Israel to the same standards as other civilized countries or to report facts instead of Israeli propaganda.

Israel’s greatest enemies are the American neoconservatives, who hold the power in the Bush Regime. What we are witnessing in the Middle East is the unfolding of the neocon plan to destroy all vestiges of Arab/Muslim independence and to remove all opposition to Israel’s agenda. Can five million Israelis, even when backed by the United States, forever suppress hundreds of millions of humiliated Muslims stewing in their humiliation?

This is a recipe for perpetual conflict and the eventual destruction of Israel.

Neocons believe that deception of the American public is a legitimate way for them to achieve their plan. Bush’s so-called “war on terror” is the cloak for neocon deception.

Bush’s war is not on terror. Bush’s war is on Muslim states not ruled by American puppets.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

Pulling the Plug on Dissent

Pulling the Plug on Dissent

C. L. Cook

Senior Editor
PEJ News
Victoria, Canada

July 25, 2006

I read of the Moscow Times’ decision to sack Chris Floyd with great disappointment, but not surprise. It’s clear, the ubermensche rulers of the world brook no dissent. They’ve gone to a lot of trouble to corner the “mainstream” media, but controlling newspapers, magazines, radio, television, cinema, and large swathes of internet information isn’t enough; as long as there exists a single voice emanating even the smallest of soapboxes, the paranoid psychopaths currently laying waste to the world will not sleep soundly.

I was unsurprised too to read of the classless manner in which the new editor executed his charge; compassion, understanding, and courtesy are “quaint” old notions, beyond the imaginings of the apparatchiks of our Brave New World birthing.

Though no match for Chris’ decade-plus efforts to bring some notion of humanity to the readers of the Moscow Times, and more recently to broader Cyberia, I came home tonight to find my own little soapbox trodden under the boot of authority. PEJ News is a not-for-profit web news site. We’re a small group of local activists and allies abroad, trying to emphasize Peace, Earth, and Justice. This month, after thousands of hours of dedication by our completely unpaid volunteer editors, writers, techies, and administrators, we were on record pace, boasting what would have been a near half-million page views for the month of July. But, our progress was abruptly halted.

With neither notification, nor consultation PEJ’s “server” pulled the plug. When they finally got back to us, we were informed the site had been harbouring spammers – we’re a site with the most stringent ethical guidelines going, recently pulling Google © ads due to that company's knee-buckling performance in China – and that was it. Our tech. dude is yet to be granted access to any of the “evidence” supporting their charge.

The Canadian government recently announced its intent to revisit “freedom of speech” laws in this country. It’s a small surprise, considering Canadian “War President” Stephen Harper’s enthusiastic support of both America’s and Israel’s horrendous criminality, he would too follow their lead obediently in further “limiting” citizen’s rights in Canada. I wonder too if Harper is aping his friends south of the border, and allowing Canada’s spy agencies to pressure communications companies, in an attempt to silence dissenting voices.

We’re still waiting for word from our self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner “server;” but for now, as Lebanon burns, and Iraq burns, and Afghanistan burns, and Palestine ever burns, we are, temporarily at least, voices without a box to stand on.

"Steve" down at our "server" Doteasy.com invites everyone "Join the hosting revolution." If any are familiar with the work PEJ.org was attempting to do, (and if not, check out my contributions here at Empire Burlesque for a sample of at least one editor's political philosophy) perhaps you may accept "Steve's" invite. He asks any further contact be addressed here: https://www.doteasy.com/ContactUs/Reply.cfm?C=328747-882569550

Chris Cook is, until recently, a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host of Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Re: War Crimes - An Open Letter to Stephen Harper

The Radical Press - Arthur Topham - If the growing power of free information that is contained in this medium is effective, then by the time of your next campaign for re-election, the people of Canada will have come to recognize the imminent danger of you and your political party to the vital interests of Canada and the world as our global home and we the people will take away your license to kill the innocent children of the world and end your evil association with other pro-fascist, Zionist nations.


Open Letter to Canadian
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Arthur Topham

The Radical Press
July 21, 2006

Open Letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper July 21st, 2006

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada,Telephone:
613 -992-4211 Fax: 613-941-6900
pm@pm.gc.ca and Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

July 21, 2006

From Arthur Topham
Pub/Ed The Radical Press

Dear Sir:

I must congratulate you on your recent stance with respect to Israel’s ongoing war against the people of Palestine and Lebanon.

By your actions you have now shown the people of Canada that your primary purpose in becoming the head of a minority government in this country was to join the ranks of those other nations who likewise have pledged their allegiance to the Zionist ‘state’ of Israel.

Now you can rest assured that your name will go down in the history books as one of the primary war criminals to have appeared upon the world stage in the early beginnings of the 21st Century.

As a professed Christian you will undoubtedly find deep spiritual solace knowing that you have bequeathed unto Canadians and your own family a legacy in keeping with all the other puppet dictators like President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair who also have succumbed to the relentless and deadly influence of the pernicious Prince of Darkness disguised to the world as the downtrodden and beleaguered ‘state’ of Zionist Israel.

Words of admonishment sent to your deaf ears are but a poor substitute to replace the grief, suffering, death and destruction that Zionist Israel has inflicting upon the Arab populations of Palestine and Lebanon since its imperialist inception via the United Nations in 1948.

No nation, I believe, was ever conceived upon God’s fair earth with such evil intent as that of Israel. It’s primary purpose, diligently crafted throughout its nascent beginning, was to facilitate the destruction of every democratically elected nation in the world via embedded subterfuge and deception in order that it eventually would become the central and controlling organ of a world dominating organization euphemistically christened as the New World Order.

To that end the Zionists throughout the U.S.S.R. (where they first originated and gained force within the Bolshevik party), Europe and North America have tirelessly laboured for close to a century to bring this nefarious project to a successful completion.

Those pundits and intellectuals throughout the western world who, for innumerable reasons had not the courage and discipline to dig deep enough into their own particular nation’s political substrata, have remained either puzzled and confused, disillusioned, or worse yet, convinced that paying intellectual and spiritual homage and giving unquestioned financial alms to Zionist Israel (as in the case of the USA) is somehow a noble and a just cause.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

What you are doing Stephen Harper, by pledging Canada’s people to Zionist Israel and its Satanic agenda for global dominion over all the other nations of the world, is personally heaping a measure of karmic ignominy upon a country that for decades has been graced (relatively speaking) with a reputation as a fair and just nation and one that doesn’t easily go out of its way to interfere in the affairs of others outside its borders.

Due in great part to the fact that the Zionists of Israel and their pro-Zionist supporters around the world, be they Jewish or Christian, now control and manipulate all of the major sources of media throughout the western world, they are in a highly critical position when it comes to the average citizen’s ability to gain a balanced perspective on world events.

When our media (and this includes the CBC and CTV as well as the Zionist controlled Asper publications and TV networks) is manipulated such that it only reports one side of a ever-growing crisis (such as we’re witnessing today in Palestine and Lebanon) then it becomes virtually impossible for the average working Canadian to come to terms with the content of public coverage of events and thus creates the very same division and dissent which the Zionist controlled media intended from its beginning.

The only hope at this time Mr. Harper for any semblance of truth, honesty and justice to prevail is that found on the internet where, thank God, there still remains a free and open discussion of causes and effects surrounding every action affecting our lives both in a local and a global sense of the word. It has become the last frontier and bastion of freedom for those who cherish true freedom of expression and the natural right to know and decide upon both sides of any story affecting their lives.

If the growing power of free information that is contained in this medium is effective, then by the time of your next campaign for re-election, the people of Canada will have come to recognize the imminent danger of you and your political party to the vital interests of Canada and the world as our global home and we the people will take away your license to kill the innocent children of the world and end your evil association with other pro-fascist, Zionist nations.

In Peace & Love for all humanity I remain,


Arthur Topham
Pub/Ed The Radical Press

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Genocide $ale! Corporate America Rushes to Make a Killing in Lebanon

Genocide $ale! Corporate America Rushes to Make a Killing in Lebanon

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - David S. Cloud and Helene Cooper report for the New York Times today, 'U.S. Rushes Bombs to Israel.' What more must you know about the ultimate aims of the "American" administration in this most recently created "humanitarian disaster?"


Genocide $ale!
Corporate America Rushes to Make a Killing on Lebanon

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
July 22, 2006

Last week, say the Times' reporters, as Israel rained bombs and missiles upon the civilian infrastructure, and incidentally, the civilian population of Lebanon, the leaders of the "only true democracy in the Middle East" requested the United States put a "rush" on delivery of the already approved purchase of "precision-guided" munitions. And of course, the Bush administration got right on it.

According to the Times, the decision to comply with Israel's "pronto" was concurred with "relatively little debate within the Bush Administration." Little merit too was apparently afforded the sensibilities of U.S.-friendly "Arab governments," whose internal critics may construe "America's" military aid to Israel as hypocritical, in light of the Banshee wailings emanating Condi Rice over her allegations Iran and Syria have supplied weapons to Israel's enemy du jour, Hezbollah.

As part of a deal signed last year, the NYT alleges, Israel's "multimillion-dollar arms sale package" allows they draw munitions on an as needed basis. After all, who wants a whole lot of inventory costs?

Cloud and Cooper suggest Israel's request for expediting delivery indicates Israel still has "a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike." It could also be hypothesized; the request for expedited delivery means Israel is running out of "precision-guided" bombs and missiles.

Lebanon is a small country. Over these last days of horror and destruction, Israel's 'Shock and Awe,' all major infrastructure has been hit: Power; transportation; industry; medical; import/export; public administration; military; tourism; construction; all destroyed. Concurrent to these wanton war crimes, civilians have been directly targeted, hundreds killed, thousands wounded, and untold hundreds of thousands rendered refugees. And today, perhaps due to the "shortage" of Israel's "precision-guided" bombs and missiles, Ireland Online is reporting Israeli troops and tanks rampaging across the border into Lebanon, destroying villages as they go.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice friday said she would interrupt her weekend plans, embarking to Israel sunday, doubtless to reassure the Bombers of Beirut. Ms. Rice underscored that point, saying; "I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante. I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling around, and it wouldn’t have been clear what I was shuttling to do!"

Finally, the lights go on!

Finally, following the reign of terror and despair wrought through the agency of these convicts-in-waiting, these Bushites, the morally vacuous, functionally incompetent Ms. Rice at last describes truthfully the essence of her's and "America's policy" in the Middle East. At long last, a glimmer of recognition of the incalculably disastrous "status quo ante" of the Bush administration.

Since its dubious ascendancy, the Bush administration has flouted all rule of law and decency, flagrantly disregarding what, in saner times, would appear the obvious duties of any government towards both "its" people, and the peoples of the world. And, since re-invented environmental champion, Al Gore's quick acquiescence to the 2000 gerrymandering in Florida, ceding the presidency to the Bush cabalists, the Democrats have supported "their" war president.

But, what about today?

Five horror-filled years later, the state of the Democrat "opposition" is exemplified by Hillary Rodham Clinton's recent statements made to a Jewish organization in New York. Aping Winston Churchill, Clinton vowed to the congregated she would never, NEVER!, allow any question Israel's "right to exist." She promises, she will fight them on the beaches; fight them in the streets; etc., ad nauseam...

In other words: Business, as usual.

But verily, nothing indeed is new under the sun. The Times "quotes" an "American official," naturally speaking under the condition of anonymity, virulently denying frenzied defence contractor's overtime efforts are an indication Israel is in need of an "emergency re-supply," as was the case during Israel's previous Arab-Israeli war in 1973. (On that occasion, Israel agreed to "test out" one of "America's" new and improved weapons of mass destruction, Depleted Uranium.)

For their part, an Israeli spokesperson says the need for the "precision-guided" (non-re-supply) is due to his nation's desire to root out Hezbollah without causing too many civilian casualties.

Heart warming.

Tight-lipped "Pentagon and military officials" don't wish to discuss the details of the expedited delivery, but publicly available documents on last year's "arms-sale package" include: 100 GBU-28, five thousand pound, laser-guided bombs; satellite-guided munitions; and, presumably access to "America's" vast satellite network, the better to guide the half-million pounds of death and mayhem on order; all to be delivered courtesy of "American-made" F-15 fighter jets. Or so the Times says.

It's all a drop in the bucket considering the reported 23 tons of bombs dropped on a Beirut mosque in a single raid last week. But, ever the optimists, an unnamed "senior Israeli official" tipped the Times: Things are still looking up for the Israeli Air Force, saying:

"[T]he campaign could go on for two more weeks or longer. We will stay heavily with the air campaign. There’s no time limit. We will end when we achieve our goals."

No time limits?

Kind of belies Condi's urgent diplomacy!

So, the bombs will fall anew, with increased ferocity, as "America/Israel" plays politics, and the targeted citizenry of Lebanon are driven from their homeland. And, much as their neighbours in Palestine were systematically killed and driven from their homes to make way for "historical" Israel's "right to exist," there is indeed "no time limit" to Israeli designs on the southern reaches of the Levant, and beyond.

And, all the while, "America's" industry will put on the extra shifts to expedite the process.

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

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