Long Roads to Freedom

Palestine and the South African precedent. Ronnie Kasrils spoke at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on March 20, 2009 — an Eden Springs-free venue — at a lecture organized by Pulsemedia.org and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

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Breaking With Israel

A new turn in US foreign policy? Justin Raimondo parses the signals.

America’s coming confrontation with Israel has been foreshadowed for quite some time by several under-the-radar signals, but the media has been too invested in the “special relationship” narrative to notice, at least until the Obama administration took the reins. In spite of the Bush team’s reputation for being the most pro-Israel White House ever, in the last year or so of the second term they had been moving steadily away from being Israel’s yes-man – for example, by tightening visa restrictions on the entry of Israelis into the US – and this trend culminated in the White House vetoing an Israeli strike on Iran. With the victory of the Israeli far-right in the recent Israeli elections, and the likelihood that the ultra-nationalist whack-job Avigdor Lieberman will serve in the new government as foreign minister, US-Israeli relations are headed for a crisis that will test the power of the Israeli lobby as it has never been tested before, and also provide an interesting lesson in the how and why of our foreign policy.

The recently reported Israeli air strike on Sudan, ostensibly conducted to intercept  arms bound for the Palestinian territories, was carried out in January – just as pressure on the Bush administration to attack Iran was reaching a well-orchestrated crescendo. Analysts interpret the raid as a signal to Iran that the Jewish state is ready, willing and able to lash out at its enemies, with or without US approval, and yet one cannot help thinking that it was just as much a signal to the Americans that Israel will no longer be constrained by the requirements of the “special relationship.”

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Chomsky On Gaza

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Christiana Voniati.

Voniati: The international public opinion and especially the Muslim world seem to have great expectations from the historic election of Obama. Can we, in your opinion, expect any real change regarding the US approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

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This counter-terror plan is in ruins. Try one that works

Seumas Milne writes that “ministers want Muslims to accept shared values. Luckily they already do, including opposition to wars of aggression.”

The British government’s brand new counter-terrorism strategy is already in disarray – and ministers have only themselves to blame. The souped-up plan to fight al-Qaida, confound dirty bombers, halt suicide attacks and confront “extremism” in the country’s Muslim community was unveiled by the prime minister with much fanfare on Tuesday. But even before the 175-page “Contest 2” document had been launched, the credibility of its promise to engage with the Muslim mainstream had been thrown into question by the decision of Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, to cut all links with the Muslim Council of Britain.

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Tom Hurndall: A brave man who stood alone

Tom Hurndall was murdered by the IDF in Gaza.   Mr Hurndall’s father described a “culture of impunity” saying “they just lied continuously … it was a case of them shooting civilians and then making up a story. And they were not used to being challenged.”  Now as Hurndall’s journals are to be published Robert Fisk writes “I wish I had met Tom Hurndall, a remarkable man of remarkable principle.”

I don’t know if I met Tom Hurndall. He was one of a bunch of “human shields” who turned up in Baghdad just before the Anglo-American invasion in 2003, the kind of folk we professional reporters make fun of. Tree huggers, that kind of thing. Now I wish I had met him because – looking back over the history of that terrible war – Hurndall’s journals (soon to be published) show a remarkable man of remarkable principle. “I may not be a human shield,” he wrote at 10.26 on 17 March from his Amman hotel. “And I may not adhere to the beliefs of those I have travelled with, but the way Britain and America plan to take Iraq is unnecessary and puts soldiers’ lives above those of civilians. For that I hope that Bush and Blair stand trial for war crimes.”

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Terrorist Children

‘Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists’, the Independent reports. Orwell could not have imagined this. This is Labour Party’s Britain, where a child can be criminalized for adopting “bad attitudes towards ‘the West'”! Soon enough, even infancy won’t protect you from the long hands of the state. Blair was more forthright. He had once told an interviewer that criminal behavior should be monitored even before birth (implying it is genetic). And now we got the bovine home secretary giving the most imaginative dystopians a run for their money. Notice the tone of the reporter (Mark Hughes, Crime correspondent). He treats this news as if he were reporting on a lost umbrella. Pathetic.

Drastic new tactics to prevent school pupils as young as 13 falling into extremism

Two hundred schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police scheme that aims to spot youngsters who are “vulnerable” to Islamic radicalisation.

The number was revealed to The Independent by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain’s most senior officer in charge of terror prevention.

He said the “Channel project” had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. The number has leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008.

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