Archive for September, 2011

What People Want

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Interesting article in NY Times today, it is about the seeming rejection of the democratic process by people around the world. Examples of the anti-corruption movement in India and the mass movement in Israel and Spain are used to show that people want real change and not just a tired shifting from left foot to right foot on the part of the political establishments.

There is only a brief mention of the protests brewing in their own back yard where demonstrators are demanding change from Wall Street.

“As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe


Published: September 27, 2011

MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.

Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.

Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.

But even in India and Israel, where growth remains robust, protesters say they so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change.

Increasingly, citizens of all ages, but particularly the young, are rejecting conventional structures like parties and trade unions in favor of a less hierarchical, more participatory system modeled in many ways on the culture of the Web.

In that sense, the protest movements in democracies are not altogether unlike those that have rocked authoritarian governments this year, toppling longtime leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Protesters have created their own political space online that is chilly, sometimes openly hostile, toward traditional institutions of the elite.

The critical mass of wiki and mapping tools, video and social networking sites, the communal news wire of Twitter and the ease of donations afforded by sites like PayPal makes coalitions of like-minded individuals instantly viable.”

The political establishment has taken notice of the grass roots anger at the austerity measures being implemented on the backs of the middle and lower classes. But people are not going to the traditional left, instead they are forming new movements more anarchic, sometimes veering to the right like the anti-corruption movement in India which focused solely on public corruption and did not take on the corruption caused by the influence of big capital. Sometimes it is to the left like the Spanish and Greek protests. Others, like in Israel are a more mixed bag. But as traditional labor and socialist parties have sold out and participated in the austerity measures being imposed by the masters of capital, and the hard left being mired in old Communist era rhetoric, they are left to their own resources to come up with answers. The Greens in Germany seem to be taking advantage of this opportunity; the same cannot be said of the Greens in the USA who seem to be behind the ball in every sense of the word. But the new protests at Wall Street seem to indicate that there is life yet in America, people are simply fed up and want change. Will they form a new party? Will they force change through extra legal means by pressuring the political establishment to bend to popular will as has worked in India. Or will this simply be dissipated and absorbed in the political parties like what happened on the left in 2008 and the right in 2010?

What we do know is the economic crisis is not ending. People have gone from expecting change via the system through electing supposed reformers, to direct action in the streets. If this move to attack Wall Street on the streets grows and attracts many more people, at the local versions of Wall Street around the country, then we may see some change, especially if the demonstrations become massive enough to cause real interference with the normal course of business. These are pretty amazing times, out in the periphery of power there are small countries shaking off the controls of the capitalist masters within the heartlands there is consternation at the instability of the money flows and the arousal of the popular mind against the control of the elites. This could lead to real change, or merely more fascist control. We shall see.

Wall Street Occupation & LA Soldarity Demo

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Protesting the conditions in the USA finally reaches Wall Street. Solidarity protest now in Los Angeles and other cities. It seems that the idea is catching on and people are finally getting fed up. I am going to check it out if I can probably next weekend if it is still going.

From Occupy Wall Street

At least four arrested, one for shooting photos UPDATE: at least eighty arrested, five maced | RETRACTION: no tear gas used

Published 2011-09-25 12:11:29 UTC by OccupyWallSt

We have at least four arrests today during a community march, a fifth arrest is suspected but police will not confirm.

A legal observer attempting to contact an arrested member was not allowed to due to “an emergency situation,” we are currently unsure of what this means. At least one arrest was due to a protester taking photographs. At least one protester’s possessions have not been returned.

UPDATE: We are now receiving reports that at least 80 protesters have been arrested. The National Lawyer’s Guild puts the number at around one hundred. Liberty square is currently full with an ongoing discussion on how to respond to this unprecedented level of police aggression. Police are currently surrounding the square. There is nearly one police officer for every two protesters

Please call the first precinct, central booking and the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information and urge them to release these peaceful protesters.

First precinct: +1 (212) 334-0611
Central booking: +1 (212) 374-3921
Deputy Commissioner of Public Information: +1 (646) 610-6700
NYPD Switchboard: 1-646-610-5000

From LA Indy Media

Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Wall Street Solidarity
by john Saturday, Sep. 24, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Report from the #occupyLA meeting and march. There’s another meeting tonight at City Hall’s south steps at 6pm. Go if you want to support the NYC occupation, and join an LA solidarity group.

occupyla.jpg, image/jpeg, 368×600

Breaking news: over 60 people have been arrested in NYC today (Sat.) Links below.

I became aware of the Occupy LA solidarity group on Facebook on Friday night, and went to the Saturday morning meeting at City Hall, LA.

The organization started online, mostly via Twitter and Facebook, and had its first meeting on Friday night. It was a “General Assembly” which is the term for a general meeting of all present. For the most part, the people didn’t know each other, or came in pairs. So Occupy LA is not forming from an existing group or coalition. It’s a semi-spontaneous group, with no clear platform.

From Truthout

#OccupyWallStreet Is More Than a Hashtag - It’s Revolution in Formation

Friday 23 September 2011

by: Nathan Schneider, Truthout | Report

A lot of what you’ve probably seen or read about the #occupywallstreet action is wrong, especially if you’re getting it on the Internet. The action started as an idea posted online and word about it then spread and is still spreading, online. But what makes it really matter now is precisely that it is happening offline, in a physical, public space, live and in person. That’s where the occupiers are assembling the rudiments of a movement.

At the center of occupied Liberty Plaza, a dozen or so huddle around computers in the media area, managing a makeshift Internet hotspot, a humming generator and the (theoretically) 24-hour livestream. They can edit and post videos of arrests in no time flat, then bombard Twitter until they’re viral. But for those looking to understand even the basic facts about what is actually going on - before September 17 and since - the Internet has been as much a source of confusion as it is anything else.

from NY Post

Wall St. protests end in mayhem


Additional reporting by Aaron Feis

Last Updated: 3:46 AM, September 25, 2011

Posted: 2:30 AM, September 25, 2011

A near-riot broke out yesterday when the week-long Wall Street protests took a violent turn in a clash between hundreds of marchers and cops on the streets surrounding Union Square.

The chaos erupted during an afternoon march of about 500 demonstrators as part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

Cops were seen making arrests, herding protesters onto a bus, and in one case getting into a fistfight with one of the demonstrators.

“They were arresting people who were not even involved in the protests,” said Columbia comparative- literature student Nicholas Allen, 28, who was issued a summons for disorderly conduct. “They were rough. There were people who I saw with bruises on their face.”

From Daily News

Police clashes with ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters as hundreds march on Union Square

BY Ashley Fleming AND Christina Boyle

Originally Published:Saturday, September 24th 2011, 5:47 PM
Updated: Saturday, September 24th 2011, 5:47 PM

Jefferson Siegel for News

Protesters calling for greater financial reform and social equality clashed fiercely with police in Manhattan Saturday.

Scores of arrests were made as hundreds of people marched near Union Square waving banners and calling for the end of a system which benefits the rich and hinders the poor.

Middle East On Edge Of Regional Conflict?

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Talk about mixed messages. On the one hand Obama was making noises about stopping the settlements on Palestinian territory and with the other he is selling Israel bunker busters and developing the Stuxnet virus in a not so secret war against Iran. Which do you think trumps, the joint US-Israel security concerns or the plight of the Palestinians? Based on the recent speech before the UN, Obama has decided to back down on any demands upon Israel and will settle for the status quo, making only pretty noises that mean little or nothing to assuage Palestinian hopes.

It is interesting that the Turks planned to support Iran in case of a nuclear strike by Israel. This is beginning to look like a regional war that is ready to happen. We only need to see the Egyptians step up to the plate and Israel has some serious contenders. Never before has Turkey been a player in the regional conflict, and if Iran and Turkey are allied with Egypt, then that is something serious. There is the possible conflict between Turkey and Cypress with Greece and Israel taking the side of the Cypriots, over offshore gas and oil exploration.

Saudi Arabia meantime is threatening not to support the US in its efforts in the region if the USA veto’s the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the UN. Regional players are preparing to play hard ball as the US and Israeli team goes up against the rest of the regions players.

There is also the issue of Syria. It is becoming more evident that unrest there is being stirred up by western intelligence services attempting to create a breach between Turkey and Iran, Turkey and Syria and Syria and Saudi Arabia. But the example of Egypt has shown that the disruption caused by the Arab Spring there did not aid the cause of the USA and Israel. Rather it seems that anti-Israeli sentiments are rising to a head and Islamicist forces are more likely to win the elections coming up rather than secularists that the west is backing. The military holds the balance and it will be interesting to see which way they tip.

The question remains why did Obama make such hopeful sounds in Cairo a couple of years ago, and make statements supporting the emergence of a Palestinian state only to throw all those supposed policy interests for the sake of winning a few Jewish votes in Florida and New York? Has the supposed statesman succumbed to mere partisan politics? Or does Netanyahu have some hold over US policy that we are not aware of. Certainly Israel has become more and more the American sidekick Tonto in the USA’s attempt to play Lone Ranger in the Middle East. Things are going to get more interesting and the ante is upped. What does the USA gain from all this alienating of the Arabs, Iranians, and Turks? Is Obama gambling that enough regimes will be overthrown, like Libya, so that the rest will comply out of fear of the USA and its CIA? It seems that the Islamic nations are waking up to the fact that if they want to survive as more than proxies for NATO and US policy, they will have to unite and organize an effective counterbalance. Perhaps with Russian and Chinese aid, we shall see.

This is from Daily Beast

Obama Sold Israel Bunker-Buster Bombs
Sep 23, 2011 12:28 AM EDT

While Obama publicly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians over settlements, he secretly sold Jerusalem deep-penetrating bombs it had long sought. Eli Lake previews an exclusive story appearing in Monday’s Newsweek.
Obama Sold Israel Bunker-Buster Bombs
Sep 23, 2011 12:28 AM EDT

While Obama publicly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians over settlements, he secretly sold Jerusalem deep-penetrating bombs it had long sought. Eli Lake previews an exclusive story appearing in Monday’s Newsweek.

While publicly pressuring Israel to make deeper concessions to the Palestinians, President Obama has secretly authorized significant new aid to the Israeli military that includes the sale of 55 deep-penetrating bombs known as bunker busters, Newsweek has learned.

This is from DEBKAfile

Erdogan promises Iran Turkish intelligence aid against Israel
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
November 10, 2009, 10:33 AM (GMT+02:00)
Turkish PM and Iranian president: Close friends In the secret part of their talks in Tehran on Oct. 28, DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that Turkish prime minister Tayyep Recep Erdogan and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck military cooperation deals which promised Iran Turkish military intelligence and air force assistance against a possible Israeli attack on its nuclear sites.
Their understandings have bound Turkish to pass intelligence data to Tehran on potential Israeli preparations for a strike and on US military movements in the Middle East for providing backup. Our sources report that the details finalized in meetings between the Turkish and Iranian military specialists in Istanbul Monday, Nov. 9, were due to be sealed by presidents Abdullah Gul and Ahmadinejad Tuesday. The Iranian president is to be in Turkey as guest of the Islamic Conference.

From War

War Fever Mounts as Erdogan Pushes into E. Mediterranean

DEBKAFile: Turkish Warships Sent to Challenge Israel

It is not discussed openly in Washington, Jerusalem or Ankara, but privately, high military and intelligence officials in all three capitals are looking at the possibility of air and naval clashes erupting between Turkey and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean at some future point and their wider impact on the region.
Their attention was first drawn, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and intelligence sources report, by the secret transfer of Turkish naval, air and marine units to North Cyprus (the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – TRNC) Sunday, Sept. 4.
Their concern was fueled further by the sudden and steep decline in Turkey-Israel relations in the past week, persuading US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to shelve her other business and put her back into averting a clash of arms.

From Defense Talk

Military cooperation was at heart of Turkey-Israel ties

By Agence France-Presse on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Anarka: Intense military cooperation was the driving force behind a decade-long boom in Turkish-Israeli ties, now in crisis over a deadly raid on aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip, among them Turkish vessels.

Relations have deteriorated since Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in late 2008, and were poisoned in January when Turkey’s envoy to Tel Aviv was given a public dressing down by Israel’s deputy foreign minister in a row over a Turkish television series on the plight of the Palestinians.

NATO’s sole predominantly Muslim member and the Jewish state signed a landmark military cooperation accord in 1996, much to the ire of Arab countries and Iran, marking the outset of what was called “a strategic partnership.”

The pact eased Israel’s isolation in a hostile Arab neighborhood, while Turkey gained an ally against Syria, then an arch-foe, and access to advanced military technology.

In the first major projects after the accord, Israeli companies were awarded contracts, worth some 700 million dollars, to modernize about 100 Turkish F-4 and F-5 fighter jets, and sold Turkey rockets and electronic equipment.

In 2002, Israeli Military Industries won a 668-million-dollar tender to upgrade 170 M60 tanks, the delivery of which was completed in April.

Another deal, worth 183 million dollars, involves the manufacture of 10 unmanned aircraft and related surveillance equipment for the Turkish army in a joint venture led by Israel Aerospace Industries.

From Iran Review

An article on potential Egyptian-Turkish-Iranian strategic cooperation

From Jewish Policy Center

U.S., Israel Increase Military Cooperation
by Samara Greenberg • Aug 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

The United States Army, interested in increasing cooperation with the IDF, is planning one of the largest joint American-Israeli military exercises for May 2012, according to Lt.-Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe. The exercise, called “Austere Challenge,” will include establishing U.S. command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM (the U.S. European Command), headquartered in Germany.

Austere Challenge is part of an intensified military partnership between Israel and the U.S. under President Obama. And while some analysts suspect ulterior motives - such as the president’s desire to keep an eye on Israel or gain leverage in negotiating with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue - there’s no doubting the expansion in ties. Over the past year, record numbers of Israeli and American soldiers have participated in joint drills, sometimes even working as a coalition force for the first time, and visits by Israeli and American military officials have increased.

From Bloomberg

Christofias Says Turkey’s Moves on Cyprus Oil Risk New Conflict

By Bill Varner - Sep 22, 2011 10:16 AM PT .

Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said Turkey’s moves to extract oil and gas from waters off the divided Mediterranean Sea island are illegal provocations that risk a renewal of hostilities.

“Turkish naval maneuvers in the region of Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, where exploration is being carried out, are provocative and a real danger for further complications in the region,” Christofias said in a speech today to the United Nations General Assembly.

From the Tampa Tribune

U.N. vote may impact Centcom’s mission
By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune
Published: September 24, 2011

In the run-up to the United Nations Security Council vote on a Palestinian state, Saudi Arabia has threatened to oppose the current government of Iraq and pursue other policies at odds with the United States over a likely U.N. Security Council veto of a Palestinian state — including ending cooperation on Afghanistan and Yemen. If that happens, it would greatly complicate the job of U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base.

The command is loath to talk about events in Israel, which is not in the region it controls. But events like the upcoming U.N. vote often play a role in what happens in the region that Centcom does control, a volatile swath of earth including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

From MENA.FM.Com

Military Chief of staff Anan says elections will not be postponed in Egypt.

Stuxnet Happens

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

The USA and Israel worked together to sabotage the Iranian centrifuges last year. The virus seemingly developed in Israel is now available to copy by hackers and governments around the world to commit real world cyber-attacks that can have real world effects according to Ralph Langer, the researcher who broke the code. The world is in for a major cyber war and nothing is being done about it Langer claims. I would suspect that since the USA and Israel developed the virus, the government is fairly certain that they have it under control. Since there have not been any attacks since then, and the one attack was against Iran, then either there is certain amount of hubris on the part of security professionals or there is a control mechanism that has not been shared with people like Langer.

But we can see another reason why the USA and Israel are such buddies and are unwilling to part, simply because of the number of military, intelligence and other unspecified arrangements that keep them from going their separate ways. There must be secrets that Netanyahu knows and dangles over Obama’s head to keep him from doing the right thing and acknowledging Palestinian Statehood. Blackmail is one answer, the other is simply that the stakes are higher than Palestinian statehood and the US is willing to put up with world approbation for the sake of the higher level of gamesmanship that is being played by the US, Israel and their security buddies.

From NY Times

Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay


Published: January 15, 2011

Ralph Langner, an independent computer security expert, solved Stuxnet.

The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where neat rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal.

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

From Christan Science Monitor

From the man who discovered Stuxnet, dire warnings one year later

Stuxnet, the cyberweapon that attacked and damaged an Iranian nuclear facility, has opened a Pandora’s box of cyberwar, says the man who uncovered it. A Q&A about the potential threats.

By Mark Clayton, Staff writer / September 22, 2011

One year ago a malicious software program called Stuxnet exploded onto the world stage as the first publicly confirmed cyber superweapon – a digital guided missile that could emerge from cyber space to destroy a physical target in the real world.

It took Ralph Langner about a month to figure that out.

While Symantec, the big antivirus company, and other experts pored over Stuxnet’s inner workings, it was Mr. Langner, a industrial control systems security expert in Hamburg, who deciphered and tested pieces of Stuxnet’s “payload” code in his lab and declared it a military-grade cyberweapon aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Days later, he and other experts refined that assessment, agreeing Stuxnet was specifically after Iran’s gas centrifuge nuclear fuel-enrichment program at Natanz.

After infiltrating Natanz’s industrial-control systems, Stuxnet automatically ordered subsystems operating the centrifuge motors to spin too fast and make them fly apart, Langner says. At the same time, Stuxnet made it appear random breakdowns were responsible so plant operators would not realize a nasty software weapon was behind it.

In the end, Stuxnet may have set back Iran’s nuclear ambitions by years. But it also could prove a Pyrrhic victory for its still-unknown creator – a sophisticated cyberweapons nation state that Langner argues could be the US or Israel. Like the Hiroshima bomb, Stuxnet demonstrated for the first time a dangerous capability – in this case to hackers, cybercrime gangs, and new cyberweapons states, he says in an interview.

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus. Video. From Australia TV 1

Link below.

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.

or simply go to the site

From PC World

Was Stuxnet Built to Attack Iran’s Nuclear Program?
By Robert McMillan, IDG News

A highly sophisticated computer worm that has spread through Iran, Indonesia and India was built to destroy operations at one target: possibly Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.

That’s the emerging consensus of security experts who have examined the Stuxnet worm. In recent weeks, they’ve broken the cryptographic code behind the software and taken a look at how the worm operates in test environments. Researchers studying the worm all agree that Stuxnet was built by a very sophisticated and capable attacker — possibly a nation state — and it was designed to destroy something big.

Though it was first developed more than a year ago, Stuxnet was discovered in July 2010, when a Belarus-based security company discovered the worm on computers belonging to an Iranian client. Since then it has been the subject of ongoing study by security researchers who say they’ve never seen anything like it before. Now, after months of private speculation, some of the researchers who know Stuxnet best say that it may have been built to sabotage Iran’s nukes.

Last week Ralph Langner, a well-respected expert on industrial systems security, published an analysis of the worm, which targets Siemens software systems, and suggested that it may have been used to sabotage Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. A Siemens expert, Langner simulated a Siemens industrial network and then analyzed the worm’s attack.

From Wikipedia article on Stuxnet

In May 2011, the PBS program Need To Know cited a statement by Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, in which he said, “we’re glad they [the Iranians] are having trouble with their centrifuge machine and that we – the US and its allies – are doing everything we can to make sure that we complicate matters for them”, offering “winking acknowledgement” of US involvement in Stuxnet. According to the British Daily Telegraph, a showreel that was played at a retirement party for the head of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Gabi Ashkenazi, included references to Stuxnet as one of his operational successes as the IDF chief of staff.

From Security Dark Reading

Stuxnet Changes Terrorism Equation, Says Former CIA Official

The attack marks a turning point for counterterrorism efforts, making cyber a potential threat to any nation’s domestic security

Aug 03, 2011 | 02:06 PM |
By Robert Lemos, Contributing Editor
Dark Reading

BLACK HAT USA 2011 — Las Vegas — The ability of the Stuxnet cyberattack to physically impact equipment has made cybersecurity significantly more important for U.S. domestic security strategy, a former counterterrorism official told attendees during the opening keynote at the Black Hat Security Briefings in Las Vegas.

Until now, the primary worry of the U.S. government’s counterterrorism groups has been stated by CBRN, which listed threats in order of likelihood: chemical, bacteriological, radiological, and nuclear, said Cofer Black, vice president for global operations for threat analysis firm Blackbird Technologies, and a 30-year veteran of the CIA’s counterterrorism efforts. Since Stuxnet, terrorism concerns have morphed into KBC: kinetic, bacteriological and cyber, he said.

From Global Politician

Stuxnet: First Phase in now-aborted Israeli Military Attack on Iran

Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/28/2010

Stuxnet is a worm which attacks Siemens SCADA industrial controls. It uses various vectors to enter a system and spread through a network. It leverages two zero-day software vulnerabilities (largely patched by Microsoft by now) and two pilfered digital certificates from Taiwan. It was developed by the resurrected Lishka le-Kishre Mada (Laka”m) in the Office of the Prime Minister: the same unit that handled Jonathan Pollard when it was headed by Rafael (Rafi “the Stinker”) Eitan in the 1980s. Its aim was to attack the PCs and, later, the industrial controls of the Iranian uranium-enrichment facility in Natanz (not in Bushehr, as the Iranian misinformation campaign would have it).

The worm contains a “time-bomb” in the form of an Easter egg: a backdoor kernel rootkit. It was set to be activated on Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement). The key to its activation was steganographically disguised as a snippet of minacious Biblical text. Following the incapacitation of the facility in Natanz, Israeli forces were to follow with a multi-frontal military attack (for details, see below).

Yet, it was not to be. Netanyahu called it off on September 1, 2010, following a phone call from Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State. Former Bush administration officials also warned Israel against civilian casulaties incurred by a cloud of radioactive fallout should an attack on physical facilities be attempted after the end of August.

Obama invited the leaders of Israel and Palestine (as well as Egypt and Jordan) to Washington for a peace conference in early September 2010 in order to forestall an imminent Israeli attack on Iran scheduled for September 18-20, 2010. Israel exacted a price for its newfound transigence in American jet fuel and spare parts deliveries as well as access to enhanced intelligence sharing.

Some African Economies

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Current economic conditions of Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angloa and Mozambique.

Zambia has had stable growth around 6-7 percent for the last decade. Mostly based on copper but there seems to be some diversification.

Zambia Development Agency Impressed with Zambia’s Growth Rate

By admin - Mon Sep 20, 7:24 pm

The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has revealed that Zambia’s non traditional exports have recorded a significant growth rate of 18.8 percent despite the economic crisis.
ZDA Director General Andrew Chipwende says the Non Traditional Exports in 2009 stood at about 1.4 billion dollars despite the global economic and financial crisis at the time.
Mr. Chipwende has further stated that Zambia’s foreign Direct Investment inflow has equally been significantly high with Zambia having been ranked number 24 of 141 countries assessed.
German Ambassador to Zambia, Frank Meyke emphasized the importance of trade in economic development.
Mr. Meyke said the Germany government will work within the context of MDG 8 in strengthening partnerships through enhanced economic activities.
He further called for increased trade between the two nations noting that Zambian exports to Germany stood at 34 million Euro’s while imports were at 21 million Euros’.

Zimbabwe - Grwoth is recent due to the ending of inflationary practices and the unity government bringing some stability. This is a country that should be wealthy and could be again with a stable government.

Zimbabwe’s economy is growing at a brisk pace despite continuing political uncertainty. Following a decade of contraction, Zimbabwe’s economy recorded real growth of 5.9% in 2010. But the government of Zimbabwe still faces a number of difficult economic problems, including a large external debt burden and insufficient formal employment. Zimbabwe’s 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. The government’s land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs, turning Zimbabwe into a net importer of food products. The EU and the US provide food aid on humanitarian grounds, though on a smaller scale than before. Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. The power-sharing government formed in February 2009 has led to some economic improvements, including the cessation of hyperinflation by eliminating the use of the Zimbabwe dollar and removing price controls. The economy is registering its first growth in a decade, but will be reliant on further political improvement for greater growth.

Botswana has had growth based on the Diamond market and thus is fairly volitle. 2009 was bad, 2010 was good and 2011 is mediocre.

Botswana GDP Growth Rate

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Botswana contracted 2.20 percent in the first quarter of 2011 over the previous quarter. Historically, from 2005 until 2011, Botswana’s average quarterly GDP Growth was 1.08 percent reaching an historical high of 16.80 percent in June of 2009 and a record low of -16.10 percent in March of 2009. Botswana is considered as a middle-income country having been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa during the last decade. Diamond extraction is the main factor behind high growth rates in recent years. It accounts for more than one-third of GDP; almost all export earnings, and half of the government’s revenues. Other key sectors are tourism, financial services, subsistence farming, and cattle raising. This page includes: Botswana GDP Growth Rate chart, historical data, forecasts and news. Data is also available for Botswana GDP Annual Growth Rate, which measures growth over a full economic year.

Namibia has an economy based on minerals, diamonds and uranium mining. Due to conservative fiscal policies the country has managed to keep its debt levels within reason.

The Namibian economy grew by 4.2% in 2010, following a 0.7% contraction in 2009. Growth was due primarily to a rapid recovery in diamond and uranium mining activities, but also to credit extension. The sustained improvement in global demand for mineral products is expected to maintain gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2011 with a slight rise to 4.8% in 2011, and then a minor drop to 4.6% in 2012.

Outputs in mining recovered as global demand improved, while agricultural outputs recovered due to good weather conditions. Manufacturing has not only remained resilient amid the global downturn but also expanded in 2010. However, construction contracted in 2010 driven mainly by the decline in residential building construction, which was caused by the tightening of credit and a high level of household indebtedness.

Namibia implemented strong and co-ordinated counter-cyclical fiscal and monetary policies to shield the economy from the effects of the global economic downturn. Fiscal stimulus measures together with the sharp decline in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts may lead to a fiscal deficit of 2.3% of GDP in 2010/11. Namibia is one of the five member states of the SACU. Due to prudent fiscal management during the years immediately prior to the 2009 recession (2005-08), levels of public indebtedness have remained moderate.

Angloa has been dependent on oil for most of its recent history and has suffered from the world recession and collapse of oil prices, but it is looking better for 2011.

Angola’s economy is largely dependent on the oil sector and it was hard hit by the collapse in oil prices and demand in 2009. For years one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Angola’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth was just 3.4% in 2010, stalled from 2.4% in 2009 (and down from 13.3% in 2008). Despite the recovery in oil prices, growth was hampered by government arrears in construction and infrastructure payments. The outlook is good however and growth is expected to reach 7.5% in 2011 buoyed by high oil prices and by the resumption of the government’s Public Investment Programme (PIP).

Efforts to bolster the exchange rate in 2009 led to a sharp decrease in monetary reserves. This prompted an overhaul of monetary policy set out in a new constitution that was approved in February 2010. The Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) now shares responsibility for interest and exchange rate policies with the Ministries of Planning and Finance. With budgetary and current account balances beginning to recover in 2010 on the back of rising oil prices, monetary policies are expected to loosen in 2011 to foster private sector activity.

While the non-oil sector has expanded by an average of 14% over the past four years, economic diversification remains shallow.

Mozambique has been recording steady growth with the debt reduction policies that have been put in place. It is still one of the poorest countries in the world.

At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world’s poorest countries. Socialist mismanagement and a brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation. In 1987, the government embarked on a series of macroeconomic reforms designed to stabilize the economy. These steps, combined with donor assistance and with political stability since the multi-party elections in 1994, have led to dramatic improvements in the country’s growth rate. Fiscal reforms, including the introduction of a value-added tax and reform of the customs service, have improved the government’s revenue collection abilities. In spite of these gains, Mozambique remains dependent upon foreign assistance for more than half of its annual budget, and the majority of the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country’s work force and smallholder agricultural productivity and productivity growth is weak. A substantial trade imbalance persists although the opening of the Mozal aluminum smelter, the country’s largest foreign investment project to date, has increased export earnings. At the end of 2007, and after years of negotiations, the government took over Portugal’s majority share of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectricity (HCB) company, a dam that was not transferred to Mozambique at independence because of the ensuing civil war and unpaid debts. More electrical power capacity is needed for additional investment projects in titanium extraction and processing and garment manufacturing that could further close the import/export gap. Mozambique’s once substantial foreign debt has been reduced through forgiveness and rescheduling under the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC initiatives, and is now at a manageable level.

The strongest second quarter growth was in the tertiary sector, notably in transport and communications, which grew by 8.5 per cent.

The primary sector grew by 7.5 per cent. This was mostly accounted for by a growth of 7.8 per cent in agriculture, livestock and forestry. In fisheries, there was growth of 6.1 per cent.

World Conference On Racism

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Where is the Western media coverage of the World Conference on Racism? I searched the web and got, Workers World, the Communist Party Paper in the USA, IPS the Independent Press Service in Europe, An old Huffington Post Article about the USA not going to the conference from last June and an article in the supposedly independent Haaretz from Israel telling countries that are allied to Israel not to attend. Most of the European countries have joined the US in its boycott but most of the rest of the world is attending. I guess it is news not fit to print. No news from the New York Times, Washington Post or LA Times. But Fox managed to put in an opinion piece three weeks ago to trash the event. The piece in Fox is written by a Hudson Institute hack Anne Bayefsky who has put versions of the same story wherever she can find an editor willing to publish.

Interestingly the Voice of America, had nothing to say about the US boycott, only that the UN was commemorating the tenth anniversary of the original conference. This is for foreign consumption so it would make sense that it would have nothing about the US backing Israel. It mostly is a transcript of the Secretary General’s statement.

The propaganda wars continue.

From Terraviva

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 22, 2011 (IPS) - A “boycott” by more than a dozen Western nations, including the United States, Germany, Canada and Israel, failed to derail a high-level meeting on racism and xenophobia hosted by the 193-member General Assembly.

An overwhelming majority of member states, virtually all of them from the developing world, participated in Thursday’s meeting aimed at commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) adopted at the 2001 world conference on racism in the South African port city of Durban.

From Huffington Post

US To Boycott World Conference Against Racism

UNITED NATIONS — The Obama administration said Wednesday it will boycott a world conference against racism being held at U.N. headquarters in September.

The United States will not participate in the 10-year commemoration of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism because the Durban process “included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism,” Joseph E. Macmanus, acting U.S. assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, wrote in a letter to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

From Workers World

Meeting against racism set for U.N.
By Dolores Cox

Published Sep 22, 2011 9:55 PM

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 2001 U.N. Durban (South Africa) World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. To commemorate the event there will be a high-level United Nations General Assembly meeting on racism in New York City on Sept. 22.

In 2001 the “Durban Declaration — Programme of Action” was adopted, declaring among other things that “slavery and the slave trade are crimes against humanity and should have always been so, especially the trans-Atlantic slave trade.” And, regarding the Palestinian struggle, Zionism was equated to racism.

From Haaretz

Latest update 18:52 22.09.11

Durban III conference opens in New York amid allegations of anti-Israel bias

Counter-convention draws Jewish leaders and prominent supporters of Israel; 13 countries refuse to take part in Durban III.
By Shlomo Shamir and Natasha MozgovayaTags: Durban conferenceUNanti-Israel

As the Palestinian statehood bid draws increasing support at the United Nations convention in New York, key member states have distanced themselves from a conference marking the ten-year anniversary of the Durban anti-racism conference in South Africa, in which both the United States as well as Israel stepped out due its alleged anti-Israel agenda.

Israel has asked friendly nations to stay away from this year’s event.

From Fox News

As U.N.’s ‘Durban III’ Approaches Where Are the Moral Leaders?

By Anne Bayefsky

Published September 02, 2011

Today, Germany became the latest country to pull-out of a UN “anti-racism” conference scheduled for New York on September 22, 2011.

Dubbed “Durban III” after the global hatefest which took place in South Africa in 2001 and ended three days before 9/11, the U.N. gambit is headed for a showdown.

While the U.N. deliberately planned their meeting to “commemorate” the Durban fiasco for September, hoping it would attract the hundreds of world leaders already in New York for the annual opening of the General Assembly, nine states have now cried foul and bowed out, including the U.S. and Israel.

From Voice Of America

September 22, 2011

UN Renews Commitment Against Racism

Joe DeCapua

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said while much has been done to combat racism and xenophobia, much remains to be done. He spoke on the 10th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action.

The document was adopted in Durban in 2001 at the U.N. World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. At the time it was called an “innovative and action oriented agenda to combat all forms of racism.”

CIA And DOD Drones In Africa

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Wikileaks has again proved its merit with more exposed diplomatic cables providing a wealth of background information for reporters. It is interesting that the Washington Post has deemed it important that the President of Seychelles wants to have exclusive authority in allowing the US to weaponize its drones that are based on the island nation. What is not mentioned is what the payoff is to the ruling elite and how much the people of Seychelles are getting screwed in the process, not to mention the people who will be victims of the increased drone activity. These drones will be placed in a position where a wide swath of East Africa will be accessible. As the Wall Street Journal article more honestly notes.

It is interesting that the Prime Minister of Seychelles is opposed to using drones against pirates calling them “misguided youth.” That may be a humanitarian gesture, or an indication of an interest in the pirate operations. Whatever is the case the USA is expanding the net in which its secret war against all comers is being waged to include more of Africa. Nigeria and West Africa should be next. We already see them all over North Africa.

From the Washington Post

“U.S. assembling secret drone bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, officials say

U.S. Africa Command/Major Eric Hilliard - The Seychelles, where the U.S. had temporarily stationed MQ-9s under the operational authority of U.S. Africa Command, now houses a base where a small fleet of “hunter-killer” drones resumed operations this month.

By Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller, Published: September 20

The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, U.S. officials said.

One of the installations is being established in Ethi­o­pia, a U.S. ally in the fight against al-Shabab, the Somali militant group that controls much of that country. Another base is in the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, where a small fleet of “hunter-killer” drones resumed operations this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned aircraft could effectively patrol Somalia from there.

The U.S. military also has flown drones over Somalia and Yemen from bases in Djibouti, a tiny African nation at the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. In addition, the CIA is building a secret airstrip in the Arabian Peninsula so it can deploy armed drones over Yemen.

The rapid expansion of the undeclared drone wars is a reflection of the growing alarm with which U.S. officials view the activities of al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia, even as al-Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan has been weakened by U.S. counterterrorism operations.

The U.S. government is known to have used drones to carry out lethal attacks in at least six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The negotiations that preceded the establishment of the base in the Republic of Seychelles illustrate the efforts the United States is making to broaden the range of its drone weapons.

The cables, obtained by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, reveal that U.S. officials asked leaders in the Seychelles to keep the counterterrorism missions secret. The Reapers are described by the military as “hunter-killer” drones because they can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs.

To allay concerns among islanders, U.S. officials said they had no plans to arm the Reapers when the mission was announced two years ago. The cables show, however, that U.S. officials were thinking about weaponizing the drones.

During a meeting with Seychelles President James Michel on Sept. 18, 2009, American diplomats said the U.S. government “would seek discrete [sic], specific discussions . . . to gain approval” to arm the Reapers “should the desire to do so ever arise,” according to a cable summarizing the meeting. Michel concurred, but asked U.S. officials to approach him exclusively for permission “and not anyone else” in his government, the cable reported.”

From the Wall Street Journal

“SEPTEMBER 21, 2011.U.S. Expands Drone Flights to Take Aim at East Africa .


WASHINGTON—The U.S. military is deploying a new force of armed drones to eastern Africa in an escalation of its campaign to strike militant targets in the region and expand intelligence on extremists, officials said.

The military has reopened a base for the unmanned aircraft on the island nation of Seychelles to intensify attacks on al Qaeda affiliates, particularly in Somalia, defense officials told The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. has used the Seychelles base for flying surveillance drones, and for the first time will fly armed MQ-9 Reapers from the Indian Ocean site, supplementing strikes from a U.S. drone base in Djibouti.

The move comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials have stressed a need to urgently follow up on the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May with operations to destroy his terrorist organization.

U.S. officials say they are concerned that al Qaeda—under pressure from U.S. operations in Pakistan—is moving to expand operations through its affiliates in East Africa, and that a new charismatic militant leader could emerge there.

The U.S. military has long operated a base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, and has already used drones against militants in Somalia.

The new Seychelles base, with the Reaper deployment, will allow for more flights and improved operational security, giving the military a better chance at uncovering and destroying al Qaeda training camps in East Africa, officials said. Militants can sometimes spot and track drones that fly over land from the base at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti—something that will be more difficult at an island base.

The Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, is about 920 miles east of the southern tip Somalia, and about 650 miles northeast of Madagascar. The new base will help increase surveillance of pirates operating in the waters off Somalia. A senior defense official said the U.S. hasn’t yet used the Reapers deployed the Seychelles to conduct armed reconnaissance on pirate ships, but the option is open to use the drones to strike at pirates who have mounted attacks.

“A Reaper can fly 1,150 miles from base, conduct missions and return home, military officials said. The time a drone can stay aloft depends on how heavily armed it is.

The MQ-9s are operated by the Air Force from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. An Air Force team on the ground in the Seychelles launches and lands the drones as they start and finish their missions.

Officials declined to specify what countries could be reached from the Seychelles base. However, based on the official range, an aircraft could conduct missions in Somalia and other countries in eastern Africa. A Reaper could also likely reach Yemen, if it were to land in Djibouti rather than return to the Seychelles.

Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, the prime minister of Somalia, said he didn’t object to U.S.-run drones targeting members of al Shabaab, an Islamic militant group with links to al Qaeda, inside Somalia. But he said he expects to be consulted and have such operations coordinated with his government.

He said he would object, however, to the drones killing Somali pirates. “That’s a different issue,” he said. “These are just disillusioned youths who need an alternative livelihood.”

Ronald Jumeau, the Seychelles ambassador to the U.S., said in an interview that his country welcomes the presence of the Reapers. “For the U.S. to base such military materiel in our country, it shows trust on the side of the United States,” he said.

Gen. Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, said he has seen ties between al Shabaab in Somalia, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa, and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.”

Counter-Terrorism in West Africa

Counter-Terrorism in North Africa

Propaganda Wars As Palestine Bids For Statehood At UN

Monday, September 19th, 2011

The various parties with interests in the Palestine-Israel question are gearing up for a propaganda show down at the UN. Iran is demanding that Hamas be included in the PLO position, and they are emphasizing the refusal to recognize Israel while they push for Palestinian statehood and the right to return for the exiles. The USA is backing Israel with an eye to the Jewish vote in the USA and the Israel lobby in Congress.

Turkey under the Justice and Development party has pushed to reassert itself in the region. Israel by refusing to apologize for the killing of Turkish citizens on the Gaza flotilla in 2010 has made itself an enemy out of a former ally, Turkey. Congress is flexing its powers over government funding of foreign aid to warn Turkey to back off on its support of the Palestinian State initiative.

Russia seems to have decided to throw its support behind the Palestinian bid. China seems to be in favor of Palestine statehood as well warning the USA against using the veto in the UN. Pro-Israel lobbyists are promoting scare tactics threatening the world with nuclear war if Palestine gains Statehood. Obama seems to have decided to go all out arriving in New York to back up Hillary Clinton in promoting Israel’s interests. Great Britain and France have not indicated how they would vote but popular support is for a Palestinian State.

From the Wall Street Journal

“SEPTEMBER 19, 2011, 1:38 P.M. ET.US intensifies effort to head off UN showdown .

NEW YORK — The United States pressed ahead Monday with intensive talks aimed at averting a showdown over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this week, asking key Muslim ally Turkey not to allow its rift with Israel to grow wider and hoping to coax cooperation from a noncommittal Russia.

As President Barack Obama and other world leaders headed to New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly session, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met her Turkish counterpart and was to see Russia’s foreign minister later in the day.”

From Business Insider

China Warns The U.S. Against Vetoing Palestine’s UN Request

Robert Johnson|Sep. 17, 2011, 9:06 AM|7,171|55

A state-run Chinese newspaper has warned of rising Mid-East conflicts if the U.S. vetoes Palestine’s bid for UN membership next week.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is expected to request UN induction next Friday, while Washington warns the move will be “counter-productive”.

The China Daily says, “If the US chooses to fly in the face of world opinion and block the Palestine UN bid next week, not only will Israel become more isolated but tensions in the region will be heightened even more. “The majority of the international community deems an independent state as the inalienable right of the Palestinians” (via AFP).”

From Tehran Times

“Hamas must have a voice in decisions on Palestine: Larijani

On Line: 19 September 2011 16:35

TEHRAN – Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani says any decision on Palestine must be made in consultation with Hamas.

On a Palestinian statehood recognition bid at the UN, he said on Monday the two-state solution is not going to resolve the issue of Palestine.

Larijani said there is no option but resistance, and Muslim countries should stand by Palestinians on this matter because they cannot pin their hopes on the Westerners, including Americans, or the UN.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to apply to the UN Security Council for a full UN membership of a Palestinian state.”

From Haaretz

“Hamas: We may back Palestinian state that does not recognize Israel’s existence

Gaza strongman Ismail Haniyeh reiterates criticism of Abbas-led statehood bid at UN, saying no Palestinian leader has the mandate to forfeit ‘one inch’ of historic Palestine.

Hamas supports the formation of an independent Palestinian state that does not recognize Israel’s existence and which does not concede “one inch” of historical Palestine, Hamas’ Gaza leader said on Sunday.

Last week, Hamas voiced its objection to an upcoming Palestinian bid to gain recognition at the United Nations, saying that such an effort infringes on the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.”

From the LA Times

“Palestinian state looms as key issue for Obama at U.N.

Obama turns to a vexing set of questions surrounding the security of Israel and the effort by Palestinian leaders to gain UN recognition of their own state.

Efforts by the U.S. and Israeli diplomats to head off the request appear to have failed, and Obama now faces the growing possibility of casting the promised U.S. veto before the UN Security Council.

In opposing either request Obama risks igniting anger in the Middle East, at a time when his foreign policy plan involves trying to build bridges.

But the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is expected to overshadow the other discussions this week. Usually a carefully scripted affair, this year’s General Assembly convenes amid uncertainty about when and how, exactly, the Palestinians will make their move.

The pressure continues to build as Obama prepares to meet on Tuesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Leading pro-Israel members of Congress today urged the president to launch a “diplomatic offense” to stop what they see as Turkey’s move toward confrontation with Israel.

Ties between Israel and Turkey have frayed badly in the wake of the 2010 conflict over a Turkish aid flotilla to Gaza, and Erdogan recently announced the Turkish military will protect future shipments.

Turkey is shifting to “a policy of confrontation, if not hostility toward our allies in Israel,” the bipartisan group of senators said in Monday letter to Obama, urging him to “outline Turkey’s eroding support in Congress” in his meeting with Erdogan.”,0,3552678.story

From Al-Ahram Weekly

“Warning against a Palestinian state

Among ordinary Palestinians, especially the majority who live outside the occupied territories as refugees, another debate has taken hold: stoked by a legal opinion submitted by Guy Goodwin-Gill, an expert in international law at Oxford University.

Goodwin-Gill flags two warnings about the PA’s putative statehood bids. First, he asks, would the substitution of the Palestine Liberation Organisation by a State of Palestine at the UN weaken the former’s status as the sole legitimate representative (SLR) of the Palestinian people wherever they reside? And, second, what would be the impact of this on the refugees’ right of return to homes and properties in what was Mandate Palestine but is now Israel?

The answer has created discord among Palestinians. Refugee activists have demanded “clarity” from the PA that any move to a member or observer state at the UN will not harm either the PLO status as SLR or Palestinian refugee rights. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has assured them it won’t.”

“From Israeli-American Rennassance Institute

Creating “Palestine” Behind the Twisting Roadways of Obama Foreign Policy

by Louis Rene Beres

In short, a Palestinian state – any Palestinian state – would plainly enlarge the risks of both worldwide terrorism, and regional nuclear war.”

From the Telegraph

Turkey backs Palestinian statehood

Turkey’s prime minister has set himself on a collision course with the US by calling on the international community to support a Palestinian bid for statehood when presented to the UN next week.

Prime Minister Erdogan speaks during the news conference in Cairo Photo: REUTERS

By Adrian Blomfield, Ramallah

7:35PM BST 13 Sep 2011

Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told Arab foreign ministers in Cairo that recognition of a Palestinian state was “not an option but an obligation”.

“It’s time to raise the Palestinian flag at the United Nations,” Mr Erdogan told his audience. “Let’s raise the Palestinian flag and let that flag be the symbol of peace and justice in the Middle East.”

The prime minister’s appeal significantly raised the diplomatic temperature days before Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, is due formally to submit his statehood initiative to the Security Council.

He will later set out his arguments in an address to the UN General Assembly a week on Friday. The bid for statehood has polarised international opinion.

Risking the wrath of the Arab world, President Barack Obama has signalled his determination to give full US backing to Israel by vetoing the application.


Russia supports Palestinian bid to win UN statehood: envoy
Sep 12 09:16 AM US/Eastern

Russia supports the Palestinian bid to win UN statehood despite resistance from Israel and the United States, Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday.
“We will, of course, be voting for any of the Palestinians’ proposals,” Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “We are saying that whatever you decide to do, we will support you.”

From Huffington Post World Positions on Palestinian Statehood

From RIA Nostovi

France offers compromise over Palestine’s UN bid

14:08 19/09/2011

TEL AVIV, September 19 (RIA Novosti)

Paris is to offer Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas a compromise plan for the Palestinian Authority to gain non-full UN member status, in a bid to avert a showdown that could kill off the faltering Middle East peace process, the London-based Arabic-language paper al-Hayat said on Monday.

From Computer Sense Technology

“Great britain under pressure to alter tack on Palestinian statehood political election

The uk is arriving beneath increasing U . s . pressure to oppose a Palestinian wager for statehood in the Un in a few days amid claims the reason is quiet about the subject is undermining prospects for serenity in the centre Eastern side.

From Euronews

“Europeans back UN recognition of Palestinian state

12/09 17:54 CET

A large number of Europeans back the creation of a separate Palestinian state, a new opinion poll shows. The research carried out by YouGov in France, Britain and Germany came as activists erected a giant flag outside the EU in Brussels ahead of a key UN debate on the issue next week.”

Gypsies And Travelers Under Attack

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Gypsies have been under assault in Europe seemingly forever. Like the Jews, they have been favorite targets of prejudice. Travelers in England and Ireland seem to suffer from prejudice although not to the same degree of violence as in Eastern Europe where there are killings of Gypsies. Recently France kicked many gypsies out of the country as did Germany when it evicted many Roma who had gone there to escape the violence around the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the ethnic violence in the subsequent states in the region.

In the USA gypsies and travelers are under surveillance from the police and often are blamed for petty larceny and remodeling scams. There are quite a few Gypsy heritage sites geared for those with suspected gypsy ancestry who want to reminisce about the more free-wheeling days of the past.

I have personally met gypsies on a few occasions. My favorite was when I was working at a street fair in Manhattan back in 1981, as a block monitor. Gypsies came to me asking to occupy the unoccupied spots on the block. I told them they could until the lessees showed up at which time they would have to leave. The gypsies gave me a hundred dollars a spot. I made a lot more money off of them than I did from the fair, which was only paying something like $10 an hour. By midday there was a battle brewing because one of the gypsies refused to leave when the lessee showed up. The management got involved and the gypsy and I got kicked out. I didn’t mind I had made about $300 - $400 so far that day and even if the gypsies didn’t make out, I did. Tom Sawyer had nothing on me. But back then I was living hand to mouth and every buck counted.

From NY Times’

“As Economic Turmoil Mounts, So Do Attacks on Hungary’s Gypsies

Prejudice against Roma — widely known as Gypsies and long among Europe’s most oppressed minority groups — has swelled into a wave of violence. Over the past year, at least seven Roma have been killed in Hungary, and Roma leaders have counted some 30 Molotov cocktail attacks against Roma homes, often accompanied by sprays of gunfire.”

From Der Spiegel Online

“Anti-Roma Protests Turn Violent in the Czech Republic

By Frank Brunner in Nový Bor, Czech Republic

Nestler is a 36-year-old official of the far-right “Workers’ Party for Social Justice,” or DSSS, by its Czech initials. DSSS is a successor party to the neo-Nazi group Dlnická Strana (DS), which was banned a year and a half ago by the highest Czech administrative court. One reason the court gave for the ban was that Dlnická Strana organized rallies that led to pogrom-like riots against the Roma.

For the last several weeks, far-right extremists have been back on the offensive. They’re worried — again — about the Roma minority in the Czech Republic. In a part of Bohemia called Šluknovský výbžek, near the border with the eastern German state of Saxony, a bitter feud is raging between ethnic Czech locals and several hundred Roma. Interior Minister Jan Kubice has sent a detachment of 250 police to the region to quell any more problems, but he’s had to admit that the situation had lurched out of control.”,1518,786495,00.html Evictions of Gypsies from France. Travelers evicted outside London.

From BBC on German Evictions of Gypsies to Kosovo.


“There are an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 Irish Travelers in Britain, where they are recognized as a distinct ethnic minority by the government. Their roots - and their broad brogue - lie in Ireland, but many have been in Britain for generations.

For centuries, Travelers roamed the country’s roads, finding work as itinerant laborers, scrap dealers, and horse traders.

But during the past few decades, laws limiting unauthorized camping, economic changes, and a desire to see their children educated led many to settle down - sometimes legally, on land provided by the government, and sometimes without permission.”

Guardian.UK coverage of Dale Farm Eviction

English Travelers Online Newsletter

Gipsy and Traveler Liason Groups Newsletter in England

Romani Studies Site

From Gypsy Lore Society site.

“Gypsy and Traveler Groups in the United States

Cale: Spanish Gypsies, or Gitanos, are found primarily in the metropolitan centers of the East and West coasts. A small community of only a few families.

English Travelers: Fairly amorphous group, possibly formed along same lines as Roaders (see below), but taking shape already in England before their emigration to the US starting in early 1880s. Associate mainly with Romnichels. Boundaries and numbers uncertain.

Hungarian-Slovak: Mainly sedentary Gypsies found primarily in the industrial cities of northern U.S. Number in few thousands. Noted for playing “Gypsy music” in cafes, night clubs and restaurants.

Irish Travelers: Peripatetic group that is ethnically Irish and does not identify itself as “Gypsy,” although sometimes called “Irish Gypsies.” Widely scattered, but somewhat concentrated in the southern states. Estimates vary but about 10,000 should be close to the actual numbers.

Ludar: Gypsies from the Banat area, also called Rumanian Gypsies. Arrived after 1880. Have about the same number of families as the Rom, but actual numbers are unknown.

Roaders or Roadies: Native born Americans who have led a traveling life similar to that of the Gypsies and Travelers, but who were not originally descended from those groups. Numbers unknown as not all families studied.

Rom: Gypsies of East European origin who arrived after 1880. Mostly urban, they are scattered across the entire country. One of the larger groups in the US, possibly in the 55-60,000 range.

Romnichels: English Gypsies who arrived beginning in 1850. Scattered across the entire country, but tend to be somewhat more rural than the other Gypsy groups. Many families are now on their way to being assimilated, hence estimation of numbers depends on criteria used.

Scottish Travelers: Ethnically Scottish, but separated for centuries from mainstream society in Scotland where they were known as Tinkers. Some came to Canada after 1850 and to the United States in appreciable numbers after 1880. Over 100 distinct clans have been identified but total numbers not known.

Sinti: Little studied early group of German Gypsies in the United States consisting of few families heavily assimilated with both non-Gypsy and Romnichel populations. No figures are available.

Yenisch: Mostly assimilated group of ethnic Germans, misidentified as Gypsies, who formed an occupational caste of basket makers and founded an entire community in Pennsylvania after their immigration starting 1840. Because of assimilation current numbers are impossible to determine.

This inventory leaves out several Gypsy groups that have immigrated since 1970 due to the unrest and renewed persecution in Eastern Europe after the collapse of Communism. They have come from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, the former Yugoslavian area, and possibly other countries. They number in few thousands by now, but their numbers are likely to increase.

Another Roma Site.

Gypsy horse fair in Appleby England

“The police response to incidents of crime at the fair has been to adopt a heavy-handed, zero-tolerance and authoritarian approach to the event. There have been many scenes, particularly at the recent fair in 2010, where police have actually causedproblems by their over-zealous rules. For example, a number of witnesses saw a police officer ordering a pony and trap to be moved from outside a pub which the landlady had herself authorised to park there and did not want to be moved. This caused annoyance among the travellers but the police continued with their treatment.”

Gypsies as con artists

From Gypsy Roma Traveler Leeds site.

“Roma Characteristics

The following characteristics apply to the many Roma groups and communities around the world:
•Roma may be nomadic, semi-sedentary, or sedentary
•Roma may live in trailers (caravans), horse-drawn wagons (vardos), or housing
•Roma speak Romanes though fluency and knowledge varies according to usage
•Roma may live in rural or urban areas
•Some Roma have not historically accessed formal education and are non-literate, while others have and achieved a great deal
•Most Roma have always referred to themselves as Rom or Roma, meaning “Man” or “People.” Many UK Roma, who have been here for many centuries would call themselves Gypsy or Traveller.

The Romani language has many spoken dialects, but is of Indo-Aryan origin. The root language of Romani is ancient Punjabi with loan words borrowed from the many countries the migrations of the Roma have taken them. The spoken Romani language is varied, but all dialects contain some common words in use by all Roma.”

Truthfully Speaking

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The world is an ovoid. Ovid is a poet who wrote the Metamorphosis. The universe is expanding, a cracked egg spreading across the frying pan of the void. This is the way the world turns round, in a sad twist of the fates, loss of memory has made humanity childlike in its fumbling around the cosmic room, the space of which is darkened, like Plato’s cave. Never to be open again, in the Elysian Fields, in the Bombay Gardens, in the Shanghai Co-Prosperity Sphere, all of it collapsed, frozen, lost, like there is nothing more to be, but being. The problem with living is that life is being dragged through the mud.

This is hyper-rational thinking, or sub-rational, depending on your perspective. I don’t know about the world. or rather I know it too well, the down and dirty parts, the rat fink, sell your mother for a fix world, that I have known, had my nose rubbed in it and survived, barely, with a body deliberately disabled, chained, linked to one place with red flags all around wired together to rip and trip any attempt at escape. I have thought of escape, hitting the road, making for the border, whatever, but its over, there is no escape. I am here, with my life facing life as a ward of the state. My failed kidneys are like a bolt hammered through my flesh, attached to a chain made of plastic tubing and a ball out of a machine that keeps my blood clean.

Its not me, I, I have only had experiences, and these experiences have made me a little crazy. Watching the deities move in a temple full of chanting devotees, watching the farmer with the water buffalo on the Ganges flood plain as if it were outside of time. That moment in Sri Mayapur was as timeless as any other I have experienced. Such short moments, such infinities of pain in between. All the drugs to deaden the experience of the daily drudgery as a working slob, with dyslexic phrasing as well.

My roommate just interrupted and we spent an hour or so rambling on about his sex life until I changed the subject and we got to talk about my experience with aliens and his experience trying to make wine from green grapes, then my experience smuggling my girlfriend across the Mexican border, and then his experience when his sailboat collapsed and he had to swim out to save his sister and they got stuck on Anacapa Island off the coast of Ventura where he and his family had to spend the night until the coast guard got them the next day. I told him that was heroic of him. Then I told him how I had been stabbed, had bottles smashed over my head, and I still managed to survive to live to tell the tale. I was making a brie spread with green grapes and raw garlic on Wasa crisp bread. The roommate then left to get some ice for his Pepsi and I went to hook up to my dialysis machine where I am now as I write between episodes of Boondocks on Adult Swim.

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