..............................STOPPRESS........... STOPPRESS ..........STOPPRESS!!
The Prison Camp that is Gaza now declared a "Hostile
By Ali Abunimah
The Electronic Intifada, Sep 21, 2007
The Israeli cabinet has voted to declare the occupied
Gaza Strip a
"hostile entity," thus in its own eyes
permitting itself to cut off
the already meagre supplies of food, water, electricity
that it allows the Strip's inmates to receive. The
quickly given backing by US Secretary of State
Israel is the occupying power in the Gaza Strip, despite
removed its settlers in 2005 and transforming the area,
home to 1.5
million mostly refugee Palestinians, into the world's
open-air prison which it besieges and fires into from the
Under international law Israel is responsible for the
the people whose lives and land it rules.
There have been barely audible bleats of protest from the
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ("Such a step would be
Israel's obligations towards the civilian population
international humanitarian and human rights law")
and the European
Union ("The [European] Commission hopes that Israel
will not find it
necessary to implement the measures for which the
decisions set the framework yesterday."
What? It hopes that Israel will not find it necessary to
water supplies to 1.5 million people of whom half are
These statements serve only to underline that Israel
operates in a
context where the "international community" has
become inured to a
discourse of extermination of the Palestinian people --
Yossi Alpher, for example, a former director of the
for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University and once a
adviser to former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak,
this week that Israel should murder the
leaders who won the Palestinian legislative election in
-- calling for "decapitating the Hamas leadership,
both military and
'civilian.'" True, he admitted, there would be a
"Israel would again undoubtedly pay a price in terms
international condemnation, particularly if innocent
killed," and because "Israel would presumably
be targeting legally
elected Hamas officials who won a fair election."
condemnation would be quickly forgotten and, he argued,
"this is a
mode of retaliation and deterrence whose effectiveness
proven," and thus, this is "an option worth
Alpher incited the murder of democratically-elected
in a fringe, right-wing journal, but in the European
online newsletter Bitterlemons, which he co-founded along
former Palestinian Authority minister Ghassan Khatib.
would publish a call by a Palestinian -- or anyone else
-- to murder
the Israeli prime minister? Alpher presumably does not
worry that he
will be denied visas to travel to conferences in the
or will fail to receive invitations to American
History tells us that he can feel confident he will
consequences. Indeed, in the current political climate,
to exclude Alpher might even be cast as an attack on
Declarations that reduce Palestinians to bare biological
can be extinguished without any moral doubt are not
exceptions. In May, as reported by The Jerusalem Post,
former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu issued a
ruling to the prime minister "that there was
absolutely no moral
prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of
civilians during a
potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at
rocket launchings" (See "Top Israeli rabbis
advocate genocide," The
Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2007). I could find no
statement by any
prominent Israeli figure condemning Eliyahu's ruling.
And, in a September 6 blog posting, an advisor to leading
Republican Presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani argued
"shutting off utilities to the Palestinian Authority
as well as a
host of other measures, such as permitting no
transportation in the
PA of people or goods beyond basic necessities,
death penalty against murderers, and razing villages from
attacks are launched." This, the advisor stated,
Palestinians with the Israeli will to survive, and so
their eventual acceptance of the Jewish state."
Advisor: Raze Palestinian Villages," by Ken
Magazine, 14 September 2007) Giuliani faced no calls from
candidates to dismiss the advisor for advocating
motivated war crimes. Indeed the presence of such a
person in his
campaign might even be an electoral asset.
The latest Israeli government declaration comes as
week marked the 25th anniversary of the massacres in
Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, in which the Israeli
army and political leadership were full participants. We
that Israel's dehumanization of Palestinians and other
near daily killing of children, destruction of
racist apartheid against millions of people has been so
that if those massacres occurred today Israel would not
need to go
through the elaborate exercise of denying its
the "international community" might barely
Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is
author of One
Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian
(Metropolitan Books, 2006).
14th September 2007
UNWISE TO SHAKE THE HAND OF PRESIDENT BUSH ?
BAGHDAD, Sept. 13 The leader of a group of local
Sunni tribes cooperating with American and Iraqi forces
in fighting extremist Sunni militants in Anbar Province
was killed by a bomb today, Iraqi police officials said,
in a blow to an effort President Bush has held up as a
model of progress.
The Sunni leader, Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, who
met and shook hands with Mr. Bush during his visit to
a military base in the province last week, led the
Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of clans supporting
the Iraqi government and American forces. Initial
reports suggested he was killed either by a bomb in his
car or by a roadside bomb close to his car near his home
in Ramadi in Anbar Province, the sprawling region
west of Baghdad.
Sheik Abdul Sattar, 35, as he was known to Iraqis and
American commanders, had become the public face of the
Sunni Arab tribes in lawless Anbar Province who turned
against the Sunni jihadists of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia
and began to fight on the side of the Shiite-led Iraqi
government and the American military.
11th September 2007:
Dame Anita Roddick
dies at 64
By Adam Jones
Published: September 10
Dame Anita Roddick, the
entrepreneur who founded The Body Shop and built it into
an alternative to the mainstream cosmetics industry, died
on Monday of a brain haemorrhage, aged 64.
Dame Anita, who viewed
the sale of the retail chain to LOréal, the
worlds leading cosmetics maker, as an opportunity
to change big business from the inside, had been
suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. She had developed
the condition as a result of contracting hepatitis C
during a blood transfusion when she was giving birth to
her youngest daughter in 1971. She did not realise she
was carrying the virus until more than three decades
Hepatitis C entailed
carrying a sharp sense of my own mortality, which
in many ways makes life more vivid and immediate,
she said, adding that it had made her even more
determined to just get on with things.
Last night The Body
Shop said she was the heart and passion of
the company. It is no exaggeration to say that she
changed the world of business with her campaigns for
social and environmental responsibility.
Gordon Brown said:
As one of this countrys most successful
businesswomen she was an inspiration to women throughout
the country striving to set up and grow their own
Born in Littlehampton
in 1942, Dame Anita, a self-described natural
outsider, founded The Body Shop in 1976. Her
commitment to natural ingredients and avoiding animal
testing, combined with her refusal to impose impossible
ideals of beauty on her customers and her commitment to
environmentalism, fuelled the companys growth.
She had an antagonistic
relationship with the mainstream cosmetics industry.
However, she and The Body Shops other key
shareholders decided to sell it to LOréal for
£652m in 2006. The decision provoked dissent from some
Body Shop diehards.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited
alexander cockburn in counterpunch: re. war
with iran 9th.September 2007
all up, and you'd be foolish to bet that an attack on
Iran won't happen. I knew Noam Chomsky used to be dubious
about the likelihood of a U.S. attack and emailed him
last week to ask if he is still of that opinion. Here's
I was quite sceptical. Less so over the years.
They're desperate. Everything they touch is in ruins.
They're even in danger of losing control over Middle
Eastern oil -- to China, the topic that's rarely
discussed but is on every planner or corporation
exec's mind, if they're sane. Iran already has
observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization -- from which the US was pointedly
excluded. Chinese trade with Saudi Arabia, even
military sales, is growing fast. With the Bush
administration in danger of losing Shiite Iraq, where
most of the oil is (and most Saudi oil in regions
with a harshly oppressed Shiite population), they may
be in real trouble.
these circumstances, they're unpredictable. They
might go for broke, and hope they can salvage
something from the wreckage. If they do bomb, I
suspect it will be accompanied by a ground assault in
Khuzestan, near the Gulf, where the oil is (and an
Arab population -- there already is an Ahwazi
liberation front, probably organized by the CIA,
which the US can "defend" from the evil
Persians), and then they can bomb the rest of the
country to rubble. And show who's boss.
peace movement had better pull itself together,
remembering that should the bombs start to fall on
Tehran, most of the Democrats in Congress will be on
their feet, cheering.
Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War
President Bush plans to ask
Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional
funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said
yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing
administration confidence that it can fend off
congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.
(By Thomas E. Ricks, The
17,882 yet missing
Out of a total of 17,882 still
unaccounted for, 13,449 disappeared during the worst of
the three main conflicts, the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
Some 2,386 have not been seen
since the 1991-1995 war in Croatia, while 2,047 vanished
during the most recent bloodshed, the war in Kosovo from
1998 to 1999.
In a statement to mark the
International Day of the Disappeared, the ICRC said the
missing "may be victims of mass executions thrown
into unmarked graves, they may be captured or abducted,
they may be arrested at their homes and then die in
"Sometimes they are
civilians fleeing combat, children separated from their
families, or soldiers killed during fighting whose
remains were improperly managed."
The lack of information on their
fate meant families were "constantly tormented"
by the possibility their relatives could still be alive,
the ICRC said.
"It is, therefore, vital
that the issue of the missing be seriously addressed and
that the families' right to know the fate of their loved
ones be upheld," the statement said.
Paul Henri Arni, the head of the
Red Cross in Belgrade, said: "For years now, ever
since the conflict in former Yugoslavia broke out, the
ICRC has strived to support the pleas of the families of
missing people, hoping to bring about more answers on the
fate of their beloved."
Official estimates state the
wars that marked the break-up of the former Yugoslavia
brought by far the worst
carnage in Europe since the second world war, killing
about 200,000 people.
Lockerbie evidence faked
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 07:44:49 +0100 From: Rowan
Zurich - A Swiss businessman on Monday claimed that a key
piece of evidence in the Lockerbie trial was faked,
following a French press report that one of his employees
had lied to Scottish investigators. Edwin Bollier, head
of the Swiss-based Mebo group, told reporters that one of
his employees had supplied Scottish investigators with a
stolen timing device, which was then presented in the
trial as having been found amidst the plane's wreckage.
Mebo makes electronic equipment for the security forces.
In fact, Mebo employee Ulrich Lumpert has now admitted
that the device he handed over to Scottish investigators
was one he himself had stolen from the company, rather
than part of a batch delivered to Libya in the 1980s.
"The exhibits were manipulated and used to make a
link between Libya and the attack," Bollier told
Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town of
Lockerbie in December 1988, killing 270 people in what
was Britain's worst terrorist atrocity.
Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed
Al-Megrahi was convicted by a trio of Scottish judges
sitting in a special court in the Netherlands in 2001 of
being behind the blast, and was jailed for a total of 27
Lumpert was also a witness at Megrahi's trial. Monday's
edition of Le Figaro reported that he had now gone back
on his story in a sworn declaration to a Zurich court.
"I stole a prototype MST-13 timing device... Gave it
without permission on June 22, 1989, to a person who was
officially investigating the Lockerbie affair,"
Lumpert said in the new statement, Le Figaro reported.
"When I realised that the MST-13 had been used
ill-advisedly, I decided to stay silent, as it could have
been extremely dangerous for me," he added. Lumpert
did not explain the motives behind his actions.
The conviction of the former Libyan agent remains
shrouded in controversy, with many campaigners and
relatives of the Lockerbie victims instead pointing the
finger of blame at an Iranian-backed Palestinian militant
group. In June, Megrahi won the right to a new appeal
against his sentence in the Scottish courts, after the
independent Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
found he "may have suffered a miscarriage of
justice" at his 2001 trial. - Sapa-AFP
Children of war
By Gideon Levy
Again children. Five children
killed in Gaza in eight days. The public indifference to
their killing - the last three, for example, were
accorded only a short item on the margins of page 11 in
Yedioth Ahronoth, a sickening matter in itself - cannot
blur the fact that the IDF is waging a war against
children. A year ago, a fifth of those killed in the
"Summer Rain" operation in Gaza were children;
during the past two weeks, they comprised a quarter of
the 21 killed. If, heaven forbid, children are hurt in
Sderot, we will have to remember this before we begin
The IDF explains that the Palestinians make a practice of
sending children to collect the Qassam launchers.
However, in this case, the children killed were not
collecting launchers. The first two were killed while
collecting carob fruit and the next three - according to
the IDF's own investigation - were playing tag. But even
if we accept the IDF's claim that there is a general
trend of sending children to collect launchers (which has
not been proven), that should have brought about an
immediate halt to firing at launcher collectors.
But the IDF does not care whether its victims are liable
to be children. The fact is that it shoots at figures it
considers suspicious, with full knowledge - according to
its own contention - that they are liable to be children.
Therefore, an IDF that fires at launcher collectors is an
army that kills children, without any intention of
preventing this. This then is not a series of unfortunate
mistakes, as it is being portrayed, but rather reflects
the army's contempt for the lives of Palestinian children
and its terrifying indifference to their fate.
A society that holds ethical considerations in high
regard would at least ask itself: Is it permissible to
shoot at anyone who is approaching the launchers, even if
we know that some of these people may be small children,
lacking in judgment, and thus not punishable? Or are we
lifting all restraints on our war operations? Even if we
accept the IDF's claims that its sophisticated vision
devices do not enable them to distinguish between a
10-year-old boy and an adult, the IDF cannot evade its
responsibility for this criminal action. Even if we
assumed a completely distorted assumption that anyone who
goes near the launchers is subject to death, the fact
that children are involved should have changed the rules.
Add to this the fact that the firing at launcher
collectors has halted the Qassams, or even reduce their
number, and you arrive at another chilling conclusion:
The IDF shoots at children to wreak vengeance and punish.
No child in Sderot is more secure as a result of this
killing. On the contrary.
Anyone who takes an honest look at the progression of
events during the past two months will discover that the
Qassams have a context: They are almost always fired
after an IDF assassination operation, and there have been
many of these. The question of who started it is not a
childish question in this context. The IDF has returned
to liquidations, and in a big way. And in their wake
there has been an increase in Qassam firings.
That is the truth, and they are hiding it from us. When
Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Barak assumed their positions,
the reins were loosened. If Barak were a representative
of the political right, perhaps a public outcry would
have already been sounded against the IDF's wild actions
in Gaza. But everything is permitted to Barak, and even
the fact that the victims are children does not matter -
not to him and not to the Israeli public.
Yes, the children of Gaza gather around the Qassams. It
is practically the only diversion they have in their
lives. It is their amusement park. Those who arrogantly
preach to their parents "to watch over them"
have never visited Beit Hanoun. There is nothing there,
except for the filthy alleys and meager homes. Even if it
is true that those launching the Qassams are taking
advantage of these miserable children (which has yet to
be proven), this should not shape our moral portrait.
Yes, it is permissible to exercise restraint and caution.
Yes, it is not always necessary to respond, especially
when the response ends up killing children.
The way to stop the firing of Qassams is not through
indiscriminate killing. Every launcher can be replaced.
The start of the school year bodes ill, for us and for
them. Anyone who truly seeks to stop the firing of
Qassams should reach a cease-fire agreement with the
current government in Gaza. That is the only way and it
is possible. The liquidations, the shelling and the
killing of children will work in exactly the opposite
direction of what is intended. In the meantime, look what
is happening to us and to our army.[newprofile message1382] Gideon
Levy _ Children of War
Chinese spy chief an expert on commercial intelligence,
monitoring group says
Associated Press Published: August 31, 2007
BEIJING: China's new
spy chief is an expert on commercial intelligence whose
appointment signals a shift of emphasis to obtaining and
protecting trade secrets, a monitoring group said Friday.
Geng Huichang was
promoted from vice minister to minister of state security
on Thursday as part of a major Cabinet reshuffle ahead of
a twice-a-decade Communist Party congress in October. The
ministry has long been regarded as China's version of the
former Soviet Union's infamous KGB.
However, to allow it to
focus more on commercial intelligence, some of its duties
will now be shifted to the military or the Public
Security Ministry, which is in charge of police, the Hong
Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and
Experts in the United
States and elsewhere say China may be appealing to
businesspeople and academics of Chinese origin to gain
classified information on new technology, especially with
possible military applications.
Little else is publicly
known about Geng, 55.
According to the center
and Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao Daily News, Geng spent
most of his career conducting research on international
relations, authoring numerous articles and papers on
He headed the
government-backed China Institute of Contemporary
International Relations until 1995, when he was
reassigned overseas, the center said.
A vice minister of
state security since 1998, Geng delivered a lecture at
the Commerce Ministry in February on techniques for
protecting and obtaining commercial secrets, the center
said. It said he also contributed to a 1993 book on
One of the few pieces
of information available online about Geng is a Greek
government account of his visit to that nation's Ministry
of Public Order last year, for a briefing on Olympic
security ahead of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
Geng is also cited as
explaining China's military modernization in a 1992
paper, saying it was mainly a response to events overseas
such as the 1991 Gulf War, rather than a desire to assume
greater international influence.
"The use of
high-tech modern weaponry during that war had a great
psychological impact on those countries and has promoted
them to renew their weapons systems," Geng wrote.
There must have
been more than a few who suddenly stiffened at the
opening words of the Bishop of London, Right Reverend Dr
Richard Chartres, when he took the pulpit to address the
congregation gathered in the Guard's Chapel near
Buckingham Palace, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of
Princess Diana's death.
For several long moments he stood there, his head bowed
in silence, before he looked up and asked a simple direct
Again he paused, uncomfortably long for several members
of the royal family and invited guests to ask themselves
if he could possibly be talking about them. They would
have wiped the metaphorical sweat from their brow and
breathed a sigh of relief as the Bishop continued.
"Those were the words of Princess Diana to a pair of
elderly inmates playing a game of Beggar My Neighbour' at
an old folk's home which she was visiting. How they all
His question was not a challenge to the morals of the
congregation, but merely a reminder of the natural fun
and spontaneity of the princess and her intuitive rapport
with members of the public, which he went on to eulogize.
But still, his first stark question seemed to linger in
the air like a bad smell, stronger than the perfume of
the profusion of English roses that decked the chapel.
"Who's cheating?" Who's playing around? Who's
being unfaithful to their wedding vows? Who's having an
extra-marital affair? Who is committing adultery?
Many eyes may have shifted for a moment from the
pontificating priest in the pulpit to ponder
uncomfortably on the backs of the heads of three of the
most important guests in the front pew Queen Elizabeth,
the Duke of Edinburgh, and their son, the Prince of
Wales. How had the question affected them?
At least Elizabeth could not accuse herself, her fidelity
unquestioned, (or was there more to her close
relationship with Lord Porchester in the fifties and
sixties than a shared passion for racing, and Prince
Andrew the result?); but she may have reflected sadly on
her role as a world-famous cuckquean, cheated on
countless times in the past by the sour-faced old man
sitting next to her, the man she used to call "my
Apart from a long term affair with the Queen's cousin,
Princess Alexandra, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh,
was a well-known womaniser in his hey-day, with a string
of affairs with polo wives, duchesses, countesses, and
several famous actresses, including, it is alleged, Jane
Russell, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Shirley MacLaine. Yet this
was the man who wrote to his daughter-in-law Diana
calling her a "harlot and a trollop", telling
her that she should put up with his son's long running
affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Yes, to the lugubrious-faced son, sitting next to the
Duke on the front pew at the service in memory of his
ex-wife, the question, "Who's cheating?" must
have rung most accusingly. If he had abandoned mistress
Camilla after the fairy-tale wedding to his adoring
virgin bride Diana, and remained faithful to her alone,
then there would have been none of the scandalous mire of
events that led Diana to her conducting her own
extra-marital affairs, most notably with red-haired
cavalry officer James Hewitt (rumoured to be Prince
Harry's real father), and eventually to her tragic
untimely death in the Paris car crash with her latest
amour, Harrod's heir Dodi al-Fayed.
But Charles admitted in a television interview in 1994
that he had never loved Diana, and that during the
marriage he had been carrying on an affair with Mrs
Parker Bowles, who he had originally met at a polo match
may years before.
"There were three of us in this marriage, so it was
a bit crowded," a teary eyed Diana explained for the
break up with Charles in her own retaliatory TV
The place next to Charles on the front pew at the
memorial service was conspicuously empty. His now wife,
Her Royal Majesty, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, although
invited by her stepsons, had decided it more appropriate
that she not attend, saying that she feared her presence
would detract from what should be a celebration of
Diana's life. Instead, the woman whom Diana called
"the Rottweiler" watched the service on
television alone at her country home. Next week she plans
to jet off without her husband for a holiday in the
Meditteranean with a small group of girlfriends.
Camilla had originally intended to be there at her
husband's side, and is said to be furious at having been
pressured by royal aides to decline, but perhaps it's
just as well she wasn't.
Although a strong-minded woman, perhaps she too might
have quailed and trembled at the Bishop of London's
sudden question from the pulpit. An accusation from
beyond the grave from the ex-wife of the man she had
secretly committed adultery with, and caused such pain
Dickinson, whose artwork graces the covers of Dime's Worth
of Difference, Serpents in
the Garden and Grand Theft
Pentagon, lives in Istanbul. He can be
contacted via his website http://yabanji.tripod.com/ or at email@example.com
Sept 1st 2007