Doha, Political Islam, A Darfur Deal, and DC

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Greetings folks. I’m departing Doha in a few hours after having spent an interestin day at the Sheraton here watching the Sudan/Darfur peace agreement signing ceremony — as well as participating in a significant conference titled “Political Islam: Options and Priorities” sponsored by the Al Jazeera Center for Studies.
I’ll post more on the conference when the video of the meeting is posted (though I think most of it will be in Arabic — we’ll see).
Back to DC Wednesday.
Consider this an open thread — a polite and civil open thread.
No, I’m not pictured in the YouTube video above. I’m on the cutting room floor.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

43 comments on “Doha, Political Islam, A Darfur Deal, and DC

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see Marcus is back on the scene with more of his crap. After crudely accusing Carroll of anal sex with arabs, is there really anyone here that wants to read any of his disgusting spew, or finds any credibility in his lopsided nattering?
    Perhaps Wig-wag and Nadine will welcome him back onto the scene, as they seem to feel a certain comraderie with such people.

    Reply

  2. marcus says:

    Concerning the cave in hebron: If it wasnt for hebrew/jewish record keeping(ie;the bible) the arabs wouldnt even know who their forfathers were.
    and thats a fact-jack

    Reply

  3. marcus says:

    No people have ever established a soverign national entity in the land of Israel since the ancient kingdom of Israel,none , not one. The interient peoples who have occupied the land have been transient; as if they were waiting for the true inhabitants to return. WELL<WERE BACK !!

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Straight from the propaganda arm of AIPAC, starring this Israel ass kissing SOS, Hillary Clinton…..
    http://www.aipac.org/130.asp#33762
    Clinton: “Serious Deficiencies” in Goldstone Report
    In a letter to Clinton, lawmakers called the Goldstone Report ‘a tool to delegitimize Israel.’
    In testimony before Congress on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there were “serious deficiencies” in the Goldstone Report, The Jerusalem Post reported. “The whole concept of self-defense and the right to self-defense is not one that was adequately addressed or even taken into consideration in the report, Clinton said. The U.N. General Assembly on Friday is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would require Israel to be subject to an independent investigation on its actions during Operation Cast Lead. Ninety-five members of Congress have signed onto a letter urging Secretary Clinton to “[communicate] to [her] counterparts around the world that defending the right to self-defense for Israel, the United States, and all free democracies is an important American foreign policy priority.”
    http://www.aipac.org/130.asp#33762
    Is Obama really so naive and inept that he thinks there can be middle east peace while we have Hillary Clinton as our SOS? Or was his rhetoric in regards to improving our relationship with the Global Muslim community pure unadulterated garbage?
    Fire this SOS before she does more damage. She shoulda handled Bush’s middle easstern policies, not Obama’s.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Mitchell Reportedly Threatened to Resign Over Stalled Peace Talks
    by Jason Ditz, February 26, 2010
    Though the Obama Administration’s official meetings with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak centered mostly on planning more moves against Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists that she did bring up the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip.
    “We discussed it at length,” Clinton told reporters, “we hope to see progress there.” According to New America Foundation analyst Daniel Levy, Secretary Clinton was pressed repeatedly by both officials and private citizens on Gaza during her visit to the Gulf region. “It undermines the credibility of the United States,” Levy noted.
    US officials have brought up the possibility of easing the Gaza blockade several times, but Israel’s Netanyahu government has not budged, leading many to believe that the US comments are more lip-service than anything else.
    Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip has been on for years, but since the 2009 invasion of the strip Israel has tightened it severely, allowing only the bare minimum of food and medicine into the strip and leaving enormous amounts of reconstruction aid useless, as they refuse to allow the importation of building materials.
    The Obama Administration has made Israeli peace talks a high priority officially, but has made no real progress, with President Obama declaring that peace was “just really hard.” Arab officials say that George Mitchell, Obama’s envoy in charge of the peace process, has become so frustrated with the lack of progress and the State Department’s pro-Israel bias that he has threatened to resign.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2010/02/26/clinton-insists-she-pressed-israeli-dm-on-gaza-blockade/
    Clinton is full of shit.
    “Pressed”???
    We “pressed” Netanyahu how? By burying the Goldstone Report? By promising for further aid, in billions? By refusing to counter Netanyahu’s arrogance with strong public statements? By complimenting Netanyahu’s FICTICIOUS “concessions?
    Considering Clinton’s favorable standing with AIPAC, and her “diplomatic” rhetoric, designed to drive a wedge between us and any chances at constructive diplomacy with Iran or Syria, who is naive enough to think that she can, or will, take a hardline stance against settlemnent expansion or the blockade?
    If anyone oughta pack up and go home, its Hillary. The only people that can possibly be happy with her performance thus far, is Netanyahu himself, and the Israel first citizens here, such as the supporters of AIPAC, or these braying bigoted jennys like Nadine or Wig-Wag.
    “….has become so frustrated with the lack of progress and the State Department’s pro-Israel bias ….”
    Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? Who the hell is Hillary working for? Us, or Israel?

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  6. Don Bacon says:

    Obama had to have experience at Defense, ‘cuz rhey kind of run things everywhere, but State is a now a backwater, with the SecState reduced to being the Head Criticizer of other countries which are not as worthy as the US of A. Hillary’s good at that, so she’ll do. There are very few prominent foreign governments she hasn’t yet picked on.

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  7. Don Bacon says:

    Well, POA, what do you expect? Hillary’s CV is not exactly replete with diplomatic achievements. One might even say that she is completely unqualified for the job of US Chief Diplomat, but Obama had to park her somewhere out of the political traffic.
    This will all work out. Remember the Best and the Brightest and the damage they did; the stupider they are the less damage they can do.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Syria and Iran affirm ties, rebuff Washington
    Phil Sands, Foreign Correspondent
    Last Updated: February 26. 2010 10:56AM UAE /
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, left, waves for photographers as he walks with Bashar Assad, the Syrian president, upon his arrival at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus yesterday. Bassem Tellawi| / AP Photo
    DAMASCUS // Syria and Iran reaffirmed their close alliance yesterday, publicly rebuffing recent attempts by the United States to drive a wedge between them.
    The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al Assad, promised increased co-operation in the face of US pressure on Tehran and a new American diplomatic offensive aimed at Damascus. Mr al Assad pointedly rejected Washington’s goal of weakening the Syrian-Iranian alliance, and accused the US of following a new colonial agenda in the Middle East.
    “We hope that others don’t give us lessons about our region and our history,” he said after meeting with Mr Ahmadinejad in the Syrian capital. “We are the ones who decide how matters will go and we know our interests. We thank them for their advice.”
    continues…
    http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100226/FOREIGN/702259822/1001
    Gee, whatta suprise, eh??? Ya think our premier “diplomat”, Hillary, woke up this morning and said, “Oh damn, you mean Syria ISN’T going to sever its relationship with Iran”?
    Who the fuck does she think she’s fooling? Since when does alienation and demonization open constructive diplomatic channels?

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    Health care summit takeaway:
    Frank Luntz seems to think that the Repubs need to associate the Senate bill with:
    TOO many words
    Too fast
    30 million welfare recipients (oh, did Obama pick this one up quickly!)
    dirty sheets (of paper)
    used and soiled
    dirty deals
    and some more dirt
    and sickness
    While the Rep “plan” is apparently:
    clean sheets (of paper)
    Fresh start
    New beginning
    Babies — the good kind
    simple
    short
    3 million covered is a lot of people
    market-based because the market is GOOD
    The rhetorical strategy is a thing to behold.
    Obama’s grasp of policy details is a thing to behold. The man is smart. And he knows things.
    Harkin’s use of “segregation” is interesting. Don’t think it’ll fly, but it is interesting.
    The stories of sad and sick people who have lost insurance pulls at the heart strings. But if you don’t have heart for others, and your insurance is working, then these kinds of stories might aggravate rather than bring out empathy. I don’t know about this strategy as a dominant one.
    The bits of dis/mis-information were dealt with fairly well except that Paul Ryan needed to be handled a little more clearly.
    Obama should be out and about, talking w/o the ‘prompter way more often. He’s so sharp, so well knows the policy, so makes it clear he is considering the other side, but sadly the other side is really worried about Luntz talking points.
    Hope the ‘pubs figure out that talking points ONLY work when you get no talkback — like on Fox News. Also hope that O’Reilly continues to realize he has a duty to the country, to the truth, to break away from the talking points glue and starts pushing back far more. He’s still influential, ‘pubs will still come on his show, but there has to be more to the world than ‘pub dominance. Policy matters a lot more than party.
    The fundamental philosophical differences thing is inaccurate. It’s not philosophy that’s the problem, it’s not size of gov’t or involvement of gov’t. It’s simple game theory. Gov’t exists to get us out of game theoretic lousy outcomes. We’re stuck with free riders, dilemmas, sub-optimal outcomes all over the place unless we compel behavior via the gov.
    Are there any Republicans who don’t support robust patent law? Copyright law? These legal systems are designed to stop free riding on one another’s words and ideas. Same thing holds for the insurance market. Robust stopping of free riding, robust stopping of taking care only of oneself is necessary for better social outcomes.
    It takes a government to make a fair market.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…because that is EXACTLY what she is saying by demanding that Syria sever its relationship with “sever its relationship with IRAN”
    Ooops.

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  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hillary Clinton “Demands Syria Sever Relationship With Iran”.
    Why does Obama allow our Secretary 0f State to exercise this kind of pseudo diplomacy? Does this warmongering jenny actually think Syria is going to “sever” its “relationship with Iran”???
    This kind of rhetoric is NOT designed to open diplomatic channels. Its ONLY purpose is to demonize both Syria and Iran in the minds of the American public.
    Hillary, if honest, would say that “we are not going to engage Syria diplomatically”, because that is EXACTLY what she is saying by demanding that Syria sever its relationship with Syria. I can’t think of much else that pisses me off as much as these pieces of shit, LIKE HILLARY AND OBAMA, thinking that the citizens of this country are so fuckin’ ignorant that they can’t read between the lines on such blatant deceptions.
    If Steve is serious, and truly wants to see us nurture a constructive relationship with Syria, you would think he’d be all over Hillary’s doublespeak and false “diplomacy”. But instead, he seems to consider criticism of Hillary off limits, (for whatever reason), and is content to offer us a somewhat tempered version of the neo-con spin on Iran’s nuclear intentions.
    Hillary’s diplomatic efforts towards Iran were a pathetic joke, (basically; “We will engage them, but it won’t work and we will have to apply more stringent sanctions”). And her laudatory remarks about Netyanyahu’s fictitious “concessions” are only equaled on the ludicrous meter by her refusal to call Netanyahu to task for telling us to go screw ourselves over the settlement issue.
    And now she goes to work on Syria. Oh goody. Why muck up just two foreign policy arenas when you can make a trifecta of it, eh?
    Obama ain’t stupid. So why is he allowing Hillary to derail the import and credibility of his Cairo speech? Or was his Cairo speech never intended to match actual policy?

    Reply

  12. Outraged American says:

    Ron Paul on assassinations and our new policy to assassinate
    Americans. This video could be titled “Why OA became a Ron Paul
    Republican”
    http://tinyurl.com/yayvjwf
    or
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2010/02/25/ron-paul-on-
    assassinations/

    Reply

  13. DonS says:

    POA, I’ve pondered your link regarding Syria @10:26 and it is hard to see Hillary’s aggressive and negative posture towards Syria outside of a pro-Israel frame. But, moreover, it’s hard to see her promoting a positive approach towards countries she does not consider friends. Her personality, and perhaps her star status would seem to demand she downplay her rhetoric, except for occasional emphasis. Maybe she is trying just that but is constitutionally unable. It’s not as if the US isn’t powerful enough that we cant afford to emphasize affirmative direction, even to appear generous. Leave the caveats for the back channel. Syria in particular does not seem to be a nation that we should be bashing in public diplomacy since they have shown willingness towards cooperation on number of issues important to the US.

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    Does anyone who’s not a Zionist shill still seriously doubt that Israel is an apartheid state?
    Tel Aviv presents: Municipal program to prevent Arab boys from dating Jewish girls. They patrol the streets at night to make sure that nice Jewish girls are not dating Arabs.
    http://coteret.com/2010/02/24/tel-aviv-presents-municipal-program-to-prevent-arab-boys-from-dating-jewish-girls/
    Lynch mobs next?

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Clinton Downplays Prospect of Warming Syria Ties
    Demands Syria Sever Relationship With Iran
    by Jason Ditz, February 24, 2010
    Speaking today before a Senate subcommittee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to downplay the prospect of improvement in ties with Syria, saying that there was only a “slight opening” that might be built upon, and that the US had a “lot of issues” with Syria.
    continues…
    http://news.antiwar.com/2010/02/24/clinton-downplays-prospect-of-warming-syria-ties/
    Here we see, once again, Clinton’s bizzarro concept of “diplomacy”. What the fuck is this woman doing in the role of SOS??? After succeeding in completely screwing up any chance for constructive “engagement” with Iran, now the crazy warmongering AIPAC queen is using the same sort of “diplomacy” with Syria. Obama has chosen Administration players that are unwilling and unable to advance the basic tenets that he made a platform of while conning the American people out of their votes. If this is Hillary’s idea of “diplomacy”, is Obama too much the political coward to put Hillary on a short leash? How many chances at engagement, with how many countries, is he going to allow her to fuck up?

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  16. DonS says:

    Carroll, thanks for the reply. The standard for Congress upholding the Constitution, or mutually winking at each others graft, is so offensive. Especially when we citizens are told that the country just can’t afford to provide health care to its citizens, or that banksters must be allowed to make obscene profits and bonuses. Today Obama announces he wont insist on a free standing financial regulatory agency (Guess Elizabeth Warren was right again).
    (ps, I sympathize with your keyboard problem; I’ve cycled through a couple a new ones the past year, and each is different; the sensitivity gets me too)

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Listen to the Heroes of Israel
    by John Pilger, February 25, 2010
    I phoned Rami Elhanan the other day. We had not spoken for six years and much has happened in Israel and Palestine. Rami is an Israeli graphic designer who lives with his family in Jerusalem. His father survived Auschwitz. His grandparents and six aunts and uncles perished in the Holocaust. Whenever I am asked about heroes, I say Rami and his wife Nurit without hesitation.
    Soon after when we met, Rami gave me a home videotape that was difficult to watch. It shows his daughter Smadar, aged 14, throwing her head back, laughing and playing the piano. “She loved to dance,” he said. On the afternoon of 4 September, 1997, Smadar and her best friend, Sivane, had auditions for admission to a dance school. She had argued that morning with her mother, who was anxious about her going to the centre of Jerusalem. “I didn’t want to row,” said Nurit, “so I let her go.”
    Rami was in his car when he turned on the radio to catch the three o’clock news. There had been a suicide bombing in Ben Yehuda shopping precinct. More than 200 hundred people were injured and several were dead. Within minutes, his mobile phone rang. It was Nurit, crying. They searched the hospitals in vain, then the morgue; and so began, as Rami describes it, their “descent into darkness.”
    Rami and Nurit are two of the founders of the Parents Circle, or Bereaved Families Forum, which brings together Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones. “It’s painful to acknowledge,” he said. “but there is no basic moral difference between the [Israeli] soldier at the checkpoint who prevents a woman who is having a baby from going through, causing her to lose the baby, and the man who killed my daughter. And just as my daughter was a victim [of the occupation], so was he.” Rami describes the Israeli occupation and the dispossession of Palestinians as a “cancer in our heart.” Nothing changes, he says, until the occupation ends.
    Every “Jerusalem Day” – the day Israel celebrates its military conquest of the city – Rami has stood in the street with a photograph of Smadar and crossed Israeli and Palestinian flags, and people spit at him and tell him it was a pity he was not blown up, too. And yet he and Nurit and their comrades have made extraordinary gains. Rami goes to Israeli schools with a Palestinian member of the group, and they show maps of what ought to be Palestine, and they hug each other. “This is like an earthquake to children who have been socialized and manipulated into hating,” he said. “They say to us, ‘You have opened my eyes.’”
    In October, Rami and Nurit sat in the Israeli High Court while the state counsel, “stammering, unprepared, and unkempt,” wrote Nurit, “stood like a platoon commander in charge of new recruits and refuted … the allegations.” Salwa and Bassam Aramin, Palestinian parents, were there, too. Tears streaked Salwa’s face. Their ten-year-old daughter Abir Aramin was killed by an Israeli soldier firing a rubber bullet point-blank at her small head while she was standing beside a kiosk buying sweets with her sister. The judges seemed bored and one of them remarked that Israeli soldiers were rarely indicted, so it would be best to forget it. The state counsel laughed. This was normal.
    “Our children,” said Nurit at a rally last December to mark the anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza, “have learned this year that all the disgusting qualities which anti-Semites attribute to Jews are actually manifested among our leaders: deceit, greed, and the murder of children … What values of beauty and goodness can we squeeze into such a sophisticated apparatus of brainwashing and reality distortion?”
    Rami now tells me the High Court has decided to investigate the case of Abir Aramin after all. This is not normal: it is a victory.
    “Where are the other victories?” I asked him.
    “In America last year, a Palestinian and I spoke five times a day in front of thousands. There is a big shift in American public opinion, and that’s where the hope lies. It’s only pressure from outside Israel – from Jews especially – that will end this nightmare. People in the West must know that while there is a silence, this looking away, this profane abuse of Israel’s critics as anti-Jew, they are no different from those who stood aside during the days of the Holocaust.”
    continues…….
    http://original.antiwar.com/pilger/2010/02/24/listen-to-the-heroes-of-israel/

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/science/earth/25quake.html?hp
    Since it’s an open thread, here’s a topic change. Proactive earthquake-proofing in Turkey. Note the emphasis on construction problems, urban poverty and crowding, and emergency preparedness. And, ummm, construction problems.
    So modify my original claim, or not. Clearly, sitting around and saying OH NO we can’t build against a NATURAL disaster would seem not to be Turkey’s policy. Indeed, it looks like these people see it as a human problem, not as a natural problem

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Why Neocons Hate Muslims
    by Jacob G. Hornberger
    While there has been much discussion over why Muslims hate Americans, much less attention has been given to why neocons hate Muslims. While it might be true that some neocons hate Muslims for their religious and cultural values, I think there is a better explanation for their hatred. I think the real reason that neocons want to kill Muslims so badly is that people in the Middle East, who are predominately Muslim, have refused to accept the domination of the U.S. Empire, especially in the aftermath of the Cold War, when the U.S. became the world’s sole remaining empire. That refusal has earned them the everlasting enmity of American neocons.
    Think about the U.S. invasions and regime-change operations in Grenada and Panama. Once they were completed, the citizens of both of those countries meekly accepted the new order of things. They quickly embraced the newly installed pro-U.S. regimes. No terrorist attacks. No violent insurgencies in either country. Instead, full and complete acceptance of the new world order.
    Not so, however, in Iraq and Afghanistan. In both countries, large numbers of people have refused to do what the people of Grenada and Panama did. Instead, Iraqis and Afghanis have refused to kowtow to the Empire. In both countries, both men and women have refused to accept its invasions, occupations, and regime-change operations. Countless Iraqis and Afghanis have even been willing to sacrifice their lives in resistance to the foreign interference with their countries, much as they did when the British Empire and the Soviet Empire invaded Iraq and Afghanistan in the past.
    Consider Iraq. After the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. Empire imposed possibly the most brutal sanctions in history on the Iraqi people. Year after year, Iraqi children were dying from infectious illnesses arising from untreated water and sewage owing to the inability to repair water-and-sewage treatment plants that the Pentagon had intentionally destroyed during the war.
    Why did U.S. officials continue the sanctions year after year for more than 10 years knowing that they were causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children? Because the Iraqi people, most of whom happened to be Muslim, obstinately refused to comply with U.S. demands to oust Saddam Hussein from power. For that obstinacy, they needed to be punished. That’s what the sanctions were all about. (See this link for a compendium of excellent articles on the sanctions on Iraq.)
    U.S. officials emphasized that the sanctions would be lifted once Iraqis complied with U.S. demands to oust Saddam from power and install a pro-U.S. regime. Even though the sanctions never succeeded in ousting Saddam from power, when “Sixty Minutes” asked U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children had been worth it, she replied that such deaths were, in fact, “worth it.” After all, what better way to punish people for recalcitrance to the Empire than to maintain a system that kills their children? (See “Albright Apologizes” by Sheldon Richman.)
    Consider Iran. The reason that neocons hate Iran is the independence that Iran shows toward the Empire. If the Iranian regime were to adopt the subservient and obedient attitude toward the Empire that, say, Libyan military strongman and terrorist Mohammar Qadaffi has adopted or, for that matter, that the pro-U.S. Shah of Iran adopted, everything would be hunky dory.
    The neocon mindset about Muslims is much like the mindset of plantation owners in the Old South. As long as the slaves were obedient, respectful, and subservient, everything was fine. Oh, sure, slaves would periodically complain about their condition in life but, by and large, such complaints were considered acceptable. What was not acceptable was resistance and opposition to slavery itself, especially when it turned violent. That was when a message had to be sent. Such an uppity attitude simply could not be tolerated.
    And that’s the way neocons view Muslims in the Middle East. They’re just too uppity. Like the slaves in the Old South, it was incumbent on the people in those countries to accept the new world order after the fall of the Berlin Wall. When the U.S. Empire spoke, they were supposed to listen, submit, and obey.
    But as we all know — from the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, the attacks on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the attacks on 9/11, and the violent resistance to the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan — there are people in the Middle East, who just happen to be Muslim, who, unlike the citizenry of Grenada and Panama, have refused to submit to the Empire and obey its commands. And that is what has earned them the everlasting hatred of the neocons.

    Reply

  20. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Feb 25 2010, 2:12AM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Oh no!…somebody got a dime besides Israeli Jews.
    Look at that, $135,00 went to help Israeli Arabs get housing…shocking!
    Israel needs that money to buy more bulldozers to knock down Arab houses so Israeli Jews can move into new houses.
    2.3 million a year to help Israeli Arabs…why that’s getting close to 3 billion a year!
    “Between 2002 and 2008, a total of $14 million was granted to various Israeli NGOs through the EIDHR. My investigation of the NGOs that received funding revealed that the lion’s share of the money benefited two groups:
    Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. $5.5 million
    was directed specifically to causes for Palestinians such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s project “Building a Better Future: Empowering the Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem to access their planning and house [sic] rights” which received $135,000.
    A further $7m. went specifically to programs that benefit only Israeli Arabs such as the al-Awna fund’s “Master Plan for the Unrecognized Beduin Villages: Securing minority rights for housing and social services” which received $263,000. Even when the EIDHR funded programs for women it did so only for programs for Beduin or Israeli Arab women, except for a token $100,000 it gave to an organization called Isha le Isha (Woman to Woman) which helps fight women trafficking.
    There was not one cent directed specifically towards any of the numerous and diverse Jewish communities in Israel: Ethiopians, Russians, Yemenites, Persians or Jews from the Caucasus. The only mention of Jewish citizens as potential recipients was in a grant to the Mossawa Center, the advocacy center for Arab citizens in Israel.

    Reply

  21. nadine says:

    Speaking of shadow lobbies, how about the European countries who pay for Israeli NGOs that aid only Arabs (Israeli or Palestinian), never Jews, unless they are IDF soldiers who are ‘engcouraged’ to give testimony that will support war crimes charges against the IDF?
    ___________________
    The question is whether the EU funding of these organizations constitutes the creation of a shadow lobby. The EIDHR doesn’t directly sue Israel on behalf of the freedom of movement of Palestinians. Instead it funds local NGOs that do. Furthermore the EIDHR sends $8.4m. in funding directly to NGOs in the Palestinian territories on top of the money it gives to Israeli NGOs whose projects only benefit Palestinians.
    In every other country in the world, the EIDHR directs its funding towards large-scale projects supporting “democracy” and “civil society.” In Egypt it gave $10m. (2003-2008), none of which went specifically towards projects for the minority Coptic Christians.
    It is time for those, especially in Europe, who speak about a “Jewish/Israel” lobby to recognize that for eight years Europe has directed a concerted effort towards establishing a European lobby in Israel that discriminates against its Jewish population and supports some radical NGOs.
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=169478

    Reply

  22. Carroll says:

    This just cracks me up. I tried to find out how much foreign aid Israel gives other countries but searches bring up nothing.
    Ynet News
    Deputy FM: Israel will increase aid to S. America in return for support
    Published: 02.24.10, 10:25 / Israel News
    Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said “Israel intends to increase the aid it sends to South American and Latin American states, but in return it expects support from them in the UN.”
    Speaking at a conference of the heads of Latin American Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Ayalon called on those present to “stop the Iranian advance into South American states.”>>>>>>
    Best comment at DU on the subject:
    “7. Let me get this straight. We are giving Israel 6 billion dollars in aid, and now they… want to give it to some South American countries if they will support Israel, is that right?
    We are so fucked up as a country that we must consider ourselves just stupid.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Feb 24 2010, 10:48PM – Link
    Have you gone to TIP’s site and looked at the sitting congressmen/senators on their board?
    Go look…I assume they still have them listed.
    Absolute conflict of interest.

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    I would add this in particular about congressional loyalities, undue influence and conflicts of interest.
    What Brzezinski said the WP today about “Abdication” of American interest to Israel in their demand for war with Iran.
    “Those advocating such an attack not only overlook the fact that such an incident might be designed to draw the United States into war with Iran but, even worse the fact that U.S. acquiescence..
    “would mean nothing less than abdicating to Israel the decision on whether to go to war.”
    Such an abdication is hardly in America’s interest, and it is not the way that decisions involving American lives should be made.”

    Reply

  25. carroll says:

    Sorry for the repeat.
    I cannot get use to the keyboard on this laptop, it’s driving me crazy…it’s way too sensitive.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    DonS
    “Now with the common denominator in the briefs brought by each of you being sensitivity surrounding issues relating to Israel I really would be interested in some honest reflection on the implications of these relative behaviors.”
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Mine is pretty simple and straight forward.
    I don’t condone deception or conflicts of interest, hidden or not, in those that do or try to influence decisions or policies made by the United States.
    But I hold elected representatives to a higher standard.
    1) Because elected office is the highest trust in the land. Being invested with the special power of government to affect the lives of citizens and welfare of the country demands the highest ethics and being above reproach in all circumstances. It is therefore expected the position will not be used in any way for any type of personal purpose.
    US Presidents have to put their financial assets into a blind trust for good reason. So they won’t be tempted to use the office for personal gain, or open themselves to accusations of conflicts of interest in their decisions.
    As for Ackerman using his pork request to sneak another $10,000,000 in taxpayer’s money out of the country for aid to Israel in the midst of our own health care, unemployment and financial crisis…..that speaks for itself.
    When you hold an elected office in the US Congress you represent not only your district constituents and swear to uphold the constitution, you also assume a judiciary duty to the welfare of the whole country.
    Whether Ackerman’s request goes through or not it shows how he uses the resources and treasure of the American people for his own personal loyalties and personal favorites and not for the benefit of America and Americans.
    Unfortunately there are a lot of Ackerman’s in congress on both counts…that’s why we have a broken government.
    For added context see my comment on the US Cuba policy.

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    DonS
    “Now with the common denominator in the briefs brought by each of you being sensitivity surrounding issues relating to Israel I really would be interested in some honest reflection on the implications of these relative behaviors.”
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Mine is pretty simple and straight forward. I don’t condone deception or conflicts of interest, hidden or not, in those that do or try to influence decisions or policies made by the United States.
    But I hold elected representatives to a higher standard.
    1) Because elected office is the highest trust in the land. Being invested with the special power of government to affect the lives of citizens and welfare of the country demands the highest ethics and being above reproach in all circumstances. It is therefore expected the position will not be used in any way for any type of personal purpose.
    US Presidents have to put their financial assets into a blind trust for good reason. So they won’t be tempted to use the office for personal gain, or open themselves to accusations of conflicts of interest in their decisions.
    As for Ackerman using his pork request to sneak another $10,000,000 in taxpayer’s money out of the country for aid to Israel in the midst of our own health care, unemployment and financial crisis…..that speaks for itself.
    When you hold an elected office in the US Congress you represent not only your district constituents and swear to uphold the constitution, you also assume a judiciary duty to the welfare of the whole country.
    Whether Ackerman’s request goes through or not it shows how the he uses the resources and treasure of the American people for his own personal loyalties and personal favorites and not for the benefit of America and Americans.
    Unfortunately there are a lot of Ackerman’s in congress on both counts…that’s why we have a broken government.
    For added context see my comment on the US Cuba policy.

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Stuart Littlewood – How Low will Israel Stoop to Win the Propaganda War?
    One of the main goals of PTT has been to debunk, uncover and counter the ways that Israel and its advocates use the tools of propaganda. They are very good at their propaganda, especially because they have the economic possibilities to exploit it to its maximum potential. PTT (and Peacepalestine blog before it) has been analysing the Hasbara Handbook and The Israel Project on many occasions. One of The Israel Project’s most devious aspects is that it was “born” to look like it was just a lot of caring individuals, young mothers, especially, who wanted to express their beliefs in the way they were convinced that Israel was getting bad press that it didn’t deserve, and with their free time and good will, they would be benefitting the cause close to their hearts. As they were just regular folks like you and me, we wouldn’t even think of looking at it as a major propaganda or marketing ploy, nor in any way directly related to Israel, which, in fact, it is all of those things and more. The “moms” were a fake (in fact, they don’t even promote themselves that way anymore, since everyone discovered that Miri Eisin, in the photo, one of the “moms” ,is Olmert’s Press Advisor) and it is precisely what we’d all fear and suspect it was. This is but one aspect of TIP which makes it an item worth looking into and exposing. We are in the process of compiling our own “Counter Hasbara Guidebook”, an on-going project, and the new additions to the revised version of TIP give us more stimulus to achieve this project. In the meantime, we offer this excellent commentary by Stuart Littlewood, a companion piece to the Balles article we published yesterday. -mary rizzo
    “The Israel Project”, a US media advocacy group, has produced a revised training manual to help the worldwide Zionist movement win the propaganda war, keep their ill-gotten territorial gains and persuade international audiences to accept that their crimes are necessary and conform to “shared values” between Israel and the civilized West.
    It’s a clever document.
    The manual teaches how to justify the slaughter, the ethnic cleansing, the land-grabbing, the cruelty and the blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and make it all smell sweeter with a liberal squirt of the aerosol of persuasive language. It is designed to hoodwink us ignorant and gullible Americans and Europeans into believing that we actually share values with the racist regime in Israel and that its abominable behaviour is therefore deserving of our support.
    Israel is hoping for a public relations massacre. The other side – the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization – don’t take communications seriously and have neglected to correct Israeli distortion. They are happy, it seems, for Israel’s one-sided definitions to prevail, which of course makes the task for Israel so much easier. This latest propaganda offensive is potentially the “coup de grace” to finish off the tormented Palestinians. See it here.
    And the manual will no doubt serve as a communications primer for the army of cyber-scribblers that Israel’s Ministry of Dirty Tricks is recruiting to spread Zionism’s poison across the internet.
    This quote at the beginning sets the tone: “Remember, it’s not what you say that counts. It’s what people hear.”
    Top priority: demonize Hamas
    The manual’s numerous messages are aimed at the mass of “persuadables”, primarily in America but also in the UK. The strategy from the start is to isolate the democratically-elected Hamas and to rob the resistance movement and the Palestinian population of their human rights.
    “Clearly differentiate between the Palestinian people and Hamas. There is an immediate and clear distinction between the empathy Americans feel for the Palestinians and the scorn they direct at Palestinian leadership. Hamas is a terrorist organization – Americans get that already. But if it sounds like you are attacking the Palestinian people (even though they elected Hamas) rather than their leadership, you will lose public support. Right now, many Americans sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, and that sympathy will increase if you fail to differentiate the people from their leaders.”
    Continues…….
    http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/09/17/stuart-littlewood-how-low-will-israel-stoop-to-win-the-propaganda-war/

    Reply

  29. nadine says:

    While we’re posting I/P stories, here’s an interesting human interest story: the son of a Hamas founder converts to Christianity, and turns out to have been one of Shin Bet’s best sources for over ten years. He talks at the end about how Hamas cannot moderate or make peace. Listen up, guys: this man knows how they think and act from the inside out.
    _________________________________________
    The son of a leading Hamas figure, who famously converted to Christianity, served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service’s most valuable source in the militant organization’s leadership, Haaretz has learned.
    Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.
    The exclusive story will appear in this Friday’s Haaretz Magazine, and Yousef’s memoir, “Son of Hamas” (written with Ron Brackin) will be released next week in the United States. Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007 and going public with his conversion.
    Yousef was considered the Shin Bet’s most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname “the Green Prince” – using the color of the Islamist group’s flag, and “prince” because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement’s founders.
    During the second intifada, intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker with no close relation to the Fatah figure). Yousef was also responsible for thwarting Israel’s plan to assassinate his father.

    “So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” said the handler, named in Yousef’s book as Captain Loai. “People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize. He certainly deserves it.”
    Loai makes no secret of his admiration for his former source. “The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money,” he says. “He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives. His grasp of intelligence matters was just as good as ours – the ideas, the insights. One insight of his was worth 1,000 hours of thought by top experts.”

    With his memoir, Yousef hopes to send a message of peace to Israelis. Still, he admits he is pessimistic over the prospect of Israel signing a peace agreement with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, let alone Hamas.
    “Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis,” he said. “Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1151941.html

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Open thread, eh???? Has anyone noticed that this Administration doesn’t push back against Netanyahu’s lies and arrogance?
    Ha’aretz: “Defense Ministry reveals West Bank settlement freeze abuses”
    By Chaim Levinson and Haaretz Service
    Security sources have found and made public 28 incidents of settlements violating the ten-month building freeze in the West Bank declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz learned on Monday.
    Responding to an appeal made by Meretz MK Haim Oron to clarify alleged settlement freeze infringements, deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai, responded by that saying “The court order to halt construction has been given out. The implementation of the building freeze will be examined.”
    On Monday, Vilani released a list of settlements violating the building freeze, which included Tekoa, Etz Efraim, Revava, Alfe Menashe, Ma’ale Shomron, Psagot, Beit Arye, Emanuel, Kedumim, Barkan, Beitar Illit, Ma’ale Addumim and Kfar Etzion.
    The left wing group Shalom Achshav claims there are building violations also in the settlements of Kokhav HaShahar, Nili, Kiryat Arba, Elazar.
    These violations are in addition to outpost building, which has continued at a steady pace.
    On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation discussed a privately sponsored bill on compensating settlers hurt by the recent construction freeze. The bill, initiated by MK Danny Danon (Likud), is supported by 16 MKs from different parties and suggests setting up a compensation system modeled on the one used for the evacuees of the disengagement from Gaza in 2005.
    “This bill requests a claims committee be set up, in order to assist and transfer compensations to the settlers of Judea and Samaria,” the introduction to the bill read.
    “The committee would have four members: A representative from the Prime Minister’s Office, a representative of the Interior Ministry, a representative of public interest to be appointed by the justice minister in consultation with chairmen of local councils the area, and a magistrate judge – appointed by the justice minister in consultation with the director of the courts – who will chair the committee.”
    “The committee would be responsible for determining a claimant’s eligibility for compensation, the scope of his eligibility and the sum of his compensation,” the document continues. “It will be set up no later than 60 days after the date marking the beginning of the construction freeze, and it will operate a Web site that provides access to contact the committee and see its details, schedule and decisions.”
    The bill sets the deadline for claims at five years after the beginning of the freeze, and says the committee will be obliged to pay out the compensation no later than 60 days after its decision. Compensation claims would be filed either in writing or through the committee site, the proposition said.
    JTA: “Many settlements violating building freeze, Israel says”
    February 15, 2010
    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 29 West Bank settlements have violated the construction freeze, Israel’s Defense Ministry reported.
    Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai on Monday released a list of the settlements that have continued construction despite a 10-month freeze announced in late November by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Peace Now said Monday that it had identified five additional settlements that also have continued building despite the freeze.
    The freeze, which does not cover buildings for which a foundation had already been laid before its start, was announced in a bid to bring the Palestinians to the peace negotiating table, but the Palestinians have refused to resume negotiations until all construction in all settlements and eastern Jerusalem is halted.
    Vilnai said officials have attempted to enforce the freeze in the settlements listed as violators, including issuing demolition and stop work orders. Other measures could be taken, he said. Construction equipment also has been confiscated.
    BBC News: “Israeli settlers ‘still building'”
    At least 29 Israeli settlements in the West Bank are violating a government-ordered pause in building activity, the Israeli Defence Ministry has said.
    The information was released in response to a question asked in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.
    A pressure group says there are at least four more settlements disregarding the government order.
    The group, Peace Now, says Jewish settlers are working during the night and on the sabbath to avoid notice.
    Peace Now says building work is continuing in at least 33 settlements in violation of an order to stop made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November.
    Stalled talks
    The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said they have learned the government was looking at ways to enforce the no-building rule.
    In November, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a 10-month cessation of building new settlements.
    According to Peace Now, building on existing settlements has continued.
    The information was released by the defence ministry following a question asked by Haim Oron of the left-wing Meretz party.
    US attempts to revive peace talks have stalled over the Jewish settlement issue.
    Palestinians say they will not return to peace talks unless Israel stops settlement building in the West Bank.
    Israel has a long-standing commitment under an existing peace plan to stop settlement growth.
    But the Israeli government has temporarily curbed construction as a goodwill gesture, though not in East Jerusalem.
    All settlements in the the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
    Ynet: “Defense Ministry: Building in 29 settlements despite freeze”
    by Efrat Weiss
    While the cabinet’s announcement of a construction moratorium imposed in West Bank settlements stirred up a fury of public debate, in actuality, settlement building continues, and not just at a negligible pace.
    Official numbers from the Defense Ministry show that violations of the building freeze orders were found in no less than 29 settlements. Peace Now reported that they have information about construction in five additional settlements being carried out behind the backs of Civil Administration inspectors. The leftist organization claims that work is being done on Saturdays when inspectors are not on duty.
    The figures were presented by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai in response to a query issued by Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron. Topping the list of settlements are some of the larger settlements such as: Maale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Alfei Menashe, Beitar Illit, and Emanuel.
    In addition, violations were also recorded in Nokdim, where Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lives, and the nearby settlement of Tekoa. Also on the list of violators were Revava, Ma’ale Shomron, Matityahu, Beit Aryeh-Ofarim, Kedumim, Kfar Etzion, and more.
    Vilnai also reported that designated enforcement efforts have been initiated against the said violators, including demolition and stop work orders. In his response, he said that Defense Ministry officials are looking into the option of imposing additional enforcement measures in accordance with their priorities and in line with all relevant considerations.
    The deputy minister reported that construction equipment was confiscated in a number of instances. Peace Now responded angrily to these incidents, as well as to the work being done on Saturdays, and claimed that building is being carried out during the night in order to evade inspectors.
    Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said in response to Vilnai’s report: “Minister Begin was correct when he assured the settlers that the building freeze has no real significance.”
    Jerusalem Post: “29 settlements defy freeze order”
    BY TOVAH LAZAROFF
    Twenty-nine West Bank Jewish communities are in violation of the 10-month moratorium on new construction in the settlements, according to Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i.
    He made the statement in writing, in a mandated response to a direct question posed to him by Meretz chairman Haim Oron, through a question and answer system in the Knesset.
    He added that enforcement action had been initiated, including the issuance of demolition orders. Further action is being weighed, he said.
    Although he gave his response on January 26, Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that Oron received it only a few days ago.
    Peace Now circulated it to the media on Sunday night. It added that it believes there have been violations of the housing-start moratorium in 33 settlements.
    The NGO has posted two videos on YouTube to show that settlers are building illegally. Peace Now has alleged that in Talmon and Neria, workers have been working during Shabbat.
    It further alleged that the Ministry of Construction and Housing had allowed contractors in the Betar Illit settlement to market homes frozen by the moratorium and as such, not yet built.
    Settlements that Vilna’i said had violated the freeze include: Adam (Geva Binyamin), Oranit, Eilon Moreh, Alfei Menashe, Elkana, Beit Aryeh, Betar Illit, Barkan, Givat Ze’ev, Har Gilo, Talmon, Yakir, Kfar Eldad (Nokdim), Kfar Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim, Ma’aleh Shomron, Matityahu, Nokdim, Imanuel, Etz Efrayim, Psagot, Zufim, Kedumim, Rosh Zurim, Revava, Shadmot Mechola, Sha’arei Tikva and Tekoa.
    Although he spoke of 29 violations, he listed Givat Ze’ev twice.
    Peace Now added that it believed the settlements of Elazar, Kochav Hashahar, Nili, Kiryat Arba and Kfar Tapuach were also ignoring the moratorium.
    The moratorium allows work to continue on 3,000 Jewish homes in the West Bank that had foundations in place at the end of November.
    The moratorium requires that work be halted on all homes that lacked a foundation.
    The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip denounced the Peace Now report.
    It charged that Peace Now, like other organizations funded from abroad, was part of an organized campaign of lies and half truths designed to harm both the state of Israel and the settlement movement.
    “We’re talking about people who have never planted a tree, or built a home, but who are placing a stick in the wheels of the Zionist enterprise,” the council said in a statement it released to the media.
    It noted with satisfaction the fact that the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria reached 320,000 in 2009, a 5.5 percent increase over the previous year.

    Reply

  31. Carroll says:

    Here’s another jewel.
    We sure do know how to spread crony capitalism…oops!…I mean…democracy..don’t we?
    Sounds like home.
    From the Washington Post:
    Afghanistan’s biggest private bank — founded by the Islamic nation’s only world-class poker player — celebrated its fifth year in business last summer with a lottery for depositors at Paris Palace, a Kabul wedding hall. Prizes awarded by Kabul Bank included nine apartments in the Afghan capital and cash gifts totaling more than $1 million. The bank trumpeted the event as the biggest prize drawing of its kind in Central Asia.
    Less publicly, Kabul Bank’s boss has been handing out far bigger prizes to his country’s U.S.-backed ruling elite: multimillion-dollar loans for the purchase of luxury villas in Dubai by members of President Hamid Karzai’s family, his government and his supporters.
    The close ties between Kabul Bank and Karzai’s circle reflect a defining feature of the shaky post-Taliban order in which Washington has invested more than $40 billion and the lives of more than 900 U.S. service members: a crony capitalism that enriches politically connected insiders and dismays the Afghan populace.

    Reply

  32. JohnH says:

    Lee Smith comes up with pretty slim pickins. What Washington policy wonk is not having his bills paid by businesses, many of them foreign? Maybe Wigwag could do some investigation into politicians’ conflicts of interest with Israelis spying on the DOD. Never heard a peep out of Wigwag about Israeli spying!
    Or he could complain about truly prominent people buying POTUS pardons.
    Hmmm–Marc Rich comes to mind, the man whom Bill Clinton pardoned after his wife made sizable charitable donations to Israeli charities, the Democratic Party, and the Clinton library.
    Will Wigwag for once apply a consistent standard and condemn Marc Rich’s pardon? And why not call for all think tanks and lobbying organizations (AIPAC) to reveal their sources of funding? Now that would be rich!!!

    Reply

  33. DonS says:

    You’ve got a point Wig wag; and so do you Carroll. I think I understand, wigwag, in the most generous way, why you seem to be interested in trashing the Leveretts (though you say “Let’s hope not” [the salacious allegations/or innuendos, are true]). One always wishes our pundits and bloggers to be all above board — and you do acknowledge that Hillary actually has reasonably complied. But I must say, on the scale of scandal, it seems to me that Ackerman is far more egregious. Now with the common denominator in the briefs brought by each of you being sensitivity surrounding issues relating to Israel I really would be interested in some honest reflection on the implications of these relative behaviors. Wigwag, I also understand the relevance of the Leveretts to this blog, and why you might grind this axe (brought to us originally, if I recall, by Nadine). That aside, can you acknowledge a difference in magnitude and importance between Leveretts and Ackerman. And is Ackerman’s credibility “eviscerated” as you say Leveretts might be if the connection Smith finds so troubling is true? Or is it not potentially another example of how in Washington all phases of human activity seem to intermix, including the ‘business’. One difference, of course, is that Ackerman is an elected official of the United States of America sworn to uphold the Constitution, so help him G-d. Strange juxtaposition Wigwag and Carroll have brought. No?

    Reply

  34. Carroll says:

    Posted by WigWag, Feb 24 2010, 5:09PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Somehow the Leveretts connections don’t seem to compare with misuse of a US representative’s office.
    “Monday, January 11, 2010
    Ackerman’s “honest graft” exposed by Daily News
    From the Daily News:
    Rep. Gary Ackerman hosted a meeting between Israeli officials and a defense contracting firm whose stock he later sold at a big profit, in which he had invested money – and made a big profit, a Daily News probe has found.
    The Queens Democrat put no money down when he obtained private stock in the company, Xenonics Inc., relying on $14,000 borrowed in 2002 from the company’s top shareholder, a longtime friend.
    The sweetheart loan required no collateral and had no written payback date, a potential violation of House ethics rules.
    When the company went public, its stock soared. Ackerman says he repaid the loan at 6% interest and sold the stock for more than $100,000 in 2005 and 2006.
    House ethics rules bar members of Congress from using Congressional resources to promote commercial enterprises, stating: “The prohibition against use of House resources to support unofficial undertakings clearly applies to support of business endeavors.”
    The rules also require written repayment plans for any loans Congress members take out. Ackerman confirmed he had no such written plan for the 2002 loan.”
    But I am even more disgusted by Ackerman’s use of pork projects to funnel yet more taxpayer money abroad to Israel. $10,000,000 to be exact.
    Especially when having just watched the coverage of poor Americans standing in line at free medical clinics to get help.
    Congressman Ackerman Announces FY 2010 Project Requests
    (Washington, DC) – In compliance with House rules and the Democratic Majority’s pledge to increase the transparency of the appropriations process, Congressman Ackerman announces the following project requests that he has received for consideration and submission in the FY 2010 appropriations process:
    #American Friends of Ashdod Emergency Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY) – Medical Facility in Ashdod, Israel – $10,000,000 – Funding would be used to construct a medical center in Israel’s fifth largest city.”
    Of course legally this isn’t treason but it ought to be. Most Americans would view it as “taking” aid and comfort “away” from this country and it’s citizens particulary since it’s their own money he’s giving away when it’s desperately needed for our own people.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    From the “that’s very interesting department,” Lee Smith has a new expose in the on-line magazine, Tablet, exposing a potentially serious conflict of interest by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett.
    Here’s a link to the article,
    http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/26398/grand-bargainers/
    And here’s the money line:
    “We don’t know of a single ‘Western scholar’ or ‘policy wonk’ … who thinks that access to the Iranian regime is going to make them powerful, rich, or both,” Flynt Leverett and his wife, Hillary Mann Leverett, recently wrote on their website, raceforiran.com… I obtained several emails sent by the Leveretts and pertaining to their business, one of which is a November 2007 message inviting Trita Parsi to one of their “background dinners.” These dinners, which the Leveretts present as a kind of salon, help to generate business for an energy and consulting firm called Stratega, who’s CEO happens to be Hillary Mann Leverett. The guests that night included representatives from Norway’s Statoil company, including Ali Ghezelbash, an owner of Atieh Bahar, which is an Iranian consulting firm that in the past facilitated business with Iranian industries, especially in the energy sector, controlled at one time by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. In 2006, Statoil was fined $21 million for a 2002 bribe securing “development of a critical Iranian petroleum project.”
    Does anyone remember the scandal over Peter Galbraith’s constant commentary about Iraqi Kurdistan without mentioning his financial interests in Kurdish oil exports? If Smith is to be believed, it looks like the Leveretts did something very similar.
    To be fair to Mann-Leverett, she does disclose on her bio at her blog that she is the CEO of Stratega, which she calls a “risk consulting firm,” but I am not aware of any occassion when the Leveretts have revealed to the readers of their blog that they have a financial interest in the outcome of decisions made by the Iranian Government or that the sympathetic views they express about that Government might enrich them by benefiting their business interests.
    If true, this is a very damaging revelation that will eviscerate the credibility of the Leveretts. It would also show very poor judgment and would be a real insult to their loyal readers.
    The Leveretts need to respond to Lee Smith’s damaging allegations if they want to maintain any credibility at all. They also need to come clean about how their business interests, their think tank work, their blog and their role as increasingly prominent pundits intersect. Failure to provide appropriate disclosure will be a serious mistake and will look very bad.
    But maybe Lee Smith has it all wrong. Let’s hope so.

    Reply

  36. samuelburke says:

    this is from juancole dot comm
    “Wednesday, February 24, 2010
    Gates wants Europe to beggar itself on War Expenditures the
    Way the US Has
    US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decries Europe for general
    anti-war sentiment, unwillingness to beggar itself with
    expenditures on war.
    http://juancole.com/
    But as far as I can tell, Europe is the world’s largest economy
    and got there without any recent substantial wars except those
    the US dragged it into. Moreover, the fastest-growing economy
    for the past nearly 30 years has been China, which spends a
    fraction on their military of what the US spends on its, and,
    aside from a skirmish with Vietnam in the early 1980s, has been
    at peace. Apparently massive war expenditures are unrelated to
    economic growth or prosperity. ”

    Reply

  37. Don Bacon says:

    SecDef Robert Gates, Feb 23: “The demilitarization of Europe — where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it — has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st.”
    Those damned Europeans, they just don’t get it. War is peace! This message was authorized by Barack Obama.

    Reply

  38. samuelburke says:

    whats the name of that u.s colony in the middle east, you know the
    one, the one that reminds us that it is an autonomous region with
    democracy installed as its upmost principle.
    peace in our time.

    Reply

  39. Saadia says:

    That looks so interesting. I need to catch up with what’s going on in Darfur – will check SaveDarfur.org

    Reply

  40. Mr.Murder says:

    The refugee crisis is a huge item, similar to my prior human traffic concerns, these can pattern human rights advance for I/P.

    Reply

  41. Mr.Murder says:

    Was this a low key effort by Americans? To what extent did we play a role in bringing sides together?
    Gasoline jumped today, this kind of news should actually ease futures pricing and spur new development in markets.

    Reply

  42. MD says:

    The world is watching for this promised truce; let’s hope it turns out really good this time.

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    If this agreement sticks, then kudos are due to Major General (ret.) Scott Gration, Obama’s envoy to Sudan, who has done the hard and unpopular diplomatic work of conducting negotiations with Sudan and Chad to rebuild state-based security and isolate rebel groups.

    Reply

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