George Will’s Irrepressible Conflict With Facts

by Max Blumenthal

George Will had a horrible run in Israel. Luckily for him, the Washington Post does not correct errors if they advance Israeli hasbara

Conservative columnist George Will was recently in Israel. His trip resulted in a series of laughably error-laden columns revealing not only a crude view of the Israel-Palestine conflict and obsequious admiration for Bibi Netanyahu, but a lack of knowledge about major historical events in his own country.

In his third column, Will begins his mutilation of history in a passage about the Peel Commission. He wrote:

In 1936, when the British administered Palestine, the Peel Commission concluded that there was “an irrepressible conflict” — a phrase coined by an American historian to describe the U.S. Civil War — “between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country.” And: “Neither of the two national ideals permits” a combination “in the service of a single state.” The commission recommended “a surgical operation” — partition. What followed was the Arab Revolt of 1936 to 1939.

Asad Abukhalil has already nailed Will for getting the date of the Peel Commission report wrong. It was 1937, not 1936. And the Arab Revolt broke out in Palestine before the Peel Commission introduced its findings. I would also add that David Ben Gurion privately accepted the Peel Commission’s recommendations because he saw them as the basis for a later partition that would gift the Zionist settler minority with major port cities like Jaffa and Haifa and throw the Palestinian Arabs back to the hinterlands. Moshe Sharett, a future prime minister of Israel, remarked about the Peel Commission, “the [Palestinian] Arab reaction would be negative because they would lose everything and gain almost nothing ….”

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The Assault on Wikileaks

You’ll be seeing plenty more of this in the days and months ahead. Wikileaks has been the target of black propaganda and dirty tricks since the day it released the Baghdad massacre video. Recently even Amnesty International (which brought you the Gulf War of 1991 with false claims about Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti babies out incubators) and Reporters without Borders (which was mighty outraged when Venezuela closes down a broadcaster invovled in an attempted coup, but seemed remarkably understanding when France shut down a Palestinian television channel) joined the Pentagon in the attempts to discredit Wikileaks, blaming it for endagering the lives of Afghan collaborators. It now emerges that the latest attempt to defame Julian Assange was another lie. The powers that be seem not to realize that as each propaganda sally misses the mark, Wikileaks’s stature grows further.

Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blower website Wikileaks, has categorically denied Swedish sexual abuse charges launched against him.

The country’s prosecution authority has dropped an arrest warrant for a rape charge, but a separate molestation accusation is still under investigation.

WikiLeaks has been criticised for leaking Afghan war documents.And despite warnings from the Pentagon, the website is preparing to release a fresh batch of classified documents.

In an exlusive interview with Al Jazeera, Assange said that the accusations are part of a “smear campaign” against him.

First they came for the Muslims; then they came for the Roma…

One would have thought it was too soon for France to forget its Vichy past.

After destroying their homes and giving them $383, France is flying 700 Roma people to Romania and Bulgaria. The government has been dismantling Roma settlements, saying they were havens for illegal trafficking, child exploitation, begging and prostitution. But Romania’s foreign minister says he’s worried France’s action is creating xenophobia. Al Jazeera’s Estelle Youssouffa looks at the man leading the French drive for security and public order.

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Israel lobby pushes US to attack Iran

Secret files declassified in America have revealed covert public relations and lobbying activities by Israel. The documents were obtained by Pulse contributor and IRMep director Grant F. Smith. Alison Weir, the new president of the Council for National Interest, comments on the release of the documents, on the influence of the lobby on the media, and its role in pushing the US toward war with Iran.

Why Pakistan isn’t getting the aid it needs

by Beenish Ahmed

United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon has called the recent floods in Pakistan the worst humanitarian disaster he has ever witnessed. With over 20 percent of the country under water, contagious diseases run rampant while the delivery of vital goods and services are all but halted by gushing water and broken roads.

While the 1500 projected dead in Pakistan is a minuscule sum compared to the 100,000 lives lost in the earthquake that ravaged Haiti at the onset of this year, or the 250,000 killed by the South East Asian Tsunami of 2004, exponentially more people are adversely affected by the flood. As cruel as the reality seems, the amount of aid needed cannot be measured in terms of death toll, but in terms of those who continue to live amidst the rubble of their former lives.

The plights of those who survive when all around them falls to a state of ruin is especially heart-wrenching, and tuning in to such atrocity has not come without a response of great empathy. An outpouring of donations to relief work came from all corners of the world as it watched the aftermath of hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and now a catastrophic flood. Still, with such widespread devastation hitting the globe with frightening regularity, the amount that sympathetic souls can give, especially those who are themselves hard-pressed by a recession of epic proportions is seemingly on the decline.

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John Pilger on the rebranding of the US occupation of Iraq

Legendary journalist John PIlger speaks to Riz Khan about the ostensible US withdrawal from Iraq. In his otherwise sensible commentary, Pilger claims that troops will remain to protect oil contracts, which of course doesn’t make much sense because all the major contracts are held by Russian, Norwegian, Chinese and French companies.

US combat forces have left Iraq, but who should be held accountable for the invasion and occupation that has left hundreds of thousands dead? Veteran investigative journalist John Pilger joins the show to discuss.

Also see this this important article in which Pilger defends Wikileaks, whose founder Julian Assange is now the subject of an international smear campaign.

An Open Letter to BBC Panorama’s Jane Corbin

Aloha Jane,

The author Ken O'Keefe being interviewed by Jane Corbin

As you know Panorama airedDeath in the Med’ this week. Well Jane, I have been in the media game long enough to know that moral depravity and lack of integrity are qualities that are rewarded rather than discouraged in your field of work. With such experience it is impossible for me to take commitments from someone like yourself seriously, and that is why I recorded our conversation clandestinely, a conversation in which you confirmed the agreement that was made between the BBC and myself with yourself and Alys as BBC representatives. In that agreement it was clear that I would agree to the interview if only you included the fact that we let the commandos go. Knowing that was the agreement and anticipating that I was going to confirm it once more after the interview you said;

Well its the point about we didn’t kill the commandos, we had them in… that will be in there don’t worry. (laughing) That’s, that is important for us because obviously they would say they felt their lives were in danger, to which the corollary is, well their lives could have been in danger but we let them go. I think that’s a very strong point.

So, instead of your team honouring its commitment to me, you instead aired a farcical report with multitudes of half-truths, lies, omissions and importantly, Israeli commandos who escaped rather than being set free. Let us be frank Jane, the reason for that is because it is impossible to square the whole angle that we are “terrorists” and extremists” and killers, if we let them go. It just doesn’t fit. So for BBC in this case, when the facts do not work, you lie. In an attempt to justify this, the BBC has written an insulting letter in defence of your fallacious fairytale; this is due to the torrent of complaints that have resulted from Death in the Med.

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Why Wikileaks must be protected

by John Pilger

On 26 July, Wikileaks released thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan. Cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians are documented. In file after file, the brutalities echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday and Basra, little has changed. The difference is that today there is an extraordinary way of knowing how faraway societies are routinely ravaged in our name. Wikileaks has acquired records of six years of civilian killing for both Afghanistan and Iraq, of which those published in the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times are a fraction.

There is understandably hysteria on high, with demands that the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is “hunted down” and “rendered”. In Washington, I interviewed a senior Defence Department official and asked, “Can you give a guarantee that the editors of Wikileaks and the editor in chief, who is not American, will not be subjected to the kind of manhunt that we read about in the media?” He replied, “It’s not my position to give guarantees on anything”. He referred me to the “ongoing criminal investigation” of a US soldier, Bradley Manning, an alleged whistleblower. In a nation that claims its constitution protects truth-tellers, the Obama administration is pursuing and prosecuting more whistleblowers than any of its modern predecessors. A Pentagon document states bluntly that US intelligence intends to “fatally marginalise” Wikileaks. The preferred tactic is smear, with corporate journalists ever ready to play their part.

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Bin Laden’s Rising Influence In America

by M. Junaid Levesque-Alam

American leaders are always trying to assess Osama bin Laden’s level of influence over Muslims.

They should look at his influence over their own countrymen.

The aversion to a proposed Muslim center near Ground Zero shows that it is Americans, not Muslims, whose thinking the terrorist leader has most successfully recast to his advantage.

The detractors strengthen and draw strength from bin Laden; their hot prejudice bolsters his assertion that America despises Islam and betrays an acceptance of his claim that he embodies the faith.

Reception

At first, the proposal to build the 12-story facility two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center aroused scant disapproval. It was even welcomed as an opportunity to reaffirm America as a land of tolerance and reclaim Islam as a religion of moderation.

The group behind the project, Cordoba House, pitched the facility (which would include restaurants, bookstores, art exhibits, a pool, an auditorium, and a prayer space) as a means of bridging divides between faiths. Its board of directors draws from various faiths, and its mission statement promotes intercivilizational understanding.

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Who is welcome on the territory of the French Republic?

by Najate Zouggari

June 2009, Palais de Versailles: French president Nicolas Sarkozy declares in a major policy speech that the “burqa is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.” Sarkozy does this while ignoring the fact that the women wearing this garment are as French as he is. In this fiercely republican discourse taking place in a monarchist palace he also declares that the burqa “is not the idea that the French republic has about a women’s dignity” while missing  another point — this “idea” about women’s dignity did not allow French women to vote until 1944. French women earned their right to vote after Turkish women, whose access to European citizenship is now denied by Sarkozy.

By extension, the ideas the French republic has about its Muslim community can be understood through the 750 euro joke of Minister Brice Hortefeux: “We always need one [Arab, Muslim]. When there’s one, that’s alright. It’s when there are a lot of them that there are problems.” With these words, he echoed the presidential “inflammatory language” against minorities and the poor: Sarkozy once referred to people living in impoverished areas “scum.” But Nadine Morano (Secretary of State for Family Affairs) asked Muslims (not the President) to speak properly by saying: “I want them to love France when they live here, to find work and not to speak in slang. They shouldn’t put their caps on back to front,” as if all Muslims in France live in suburbs, wear either a cap or a burqa, and need to be reminded that France can never be their real home.

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