Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys

Is the Israeli Lobby Running Scared? Or Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys
by Robert Dreyfuss
Is the Israel lobby in Washington an all-powerful force? Or is it, perhaps, running scared? Judging by the outcome of the Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman affair this week, it might seem as if the Israeli lobby is fearsome indeed. Seen more broadly, however, the controversy over Freeman could be the Israel lobby's Waterloo.

Let's recap. On February 19th, Laura Rozen reported at that Freeman had been selected by Admiral Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, to serve in a key post as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC, the official in-house think tank of the intelligence community, takes input from 16 intelligence agencies and produces what are called "national intelligence estimates" on crucial topics of the day as guidance for Washington policymakers. For that job, Freeman boasted a stellar resumé: fluent in Mandarin Chinese, widely experienced in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, and an ex-assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration.

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Occupation of Iraqi Artists

The Ongoing Occupation of Iraqi Artists
by Dahr Jamail
For centuries, artists, writers, and intellectuals have been meeting in Baghdad’s teahouses over tulip-shaped glasses of sweet lemon tea, cigarettes, and shisha pipes.

A car bomb detonated near one of the oldest teahouses a year-and-a-half ago, causing massive destruction around the area. When it reopened recently, Mohammed Al-Mumain, a 59-year-old biology teacher resumed his visits there. The portly, jovial teacher brought tea for my colleague and I before settling to talk,
“The mind needs art and education. I come here because the lamp needs electricity. The lamp of my mind, like that in all of us, needs to discuss and review life continually. That feeds me. When I come here I feel like a teenager again. All that I need, the old culture along with the new, I find here.”
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Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel

Statement by Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel
by F4P
Dear Colleagues; Several F4P members are signatories to this statement, and are aware that it was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail (as an op-ed). For the rest, please help this important statement get into broad circulation - pass it on to your networks (faculty, community, MPs, university presidents, unions etc.).  You may also wish to write to the Star and Globe editorials and express your dismay that they have chosen not to publish it.
Over 150 Jewish Canadians signed a statement expressing their concerns about the campaign to suppress criticism of Israel that is being carried on within Canada.  The signatories include many prominent Canadians, including Ursula Franklin O.C., Anton Kuerti O.C., Naomi Klein, Dr. Gabor Mate, and professors Meyer Brownstone (recipient of Pearson Peace Medal), Natalie Zemon Davis, Michael Neumann, and Judy Rebick. 

The signatories are particularly concerned that unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism deflect attention from Israel’s accountability for what many have called  war crimes in Gaza.  They state that B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have led campaigns to silence criticism of Israel on university campuses, in labor unions and in other groups. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff unquestioningly echo the views of these particular Jewish organizations.   
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Rome Is Burning - So Let's Attack Iran

The American Rome Is Burning - So Let's Attack Iran
by Eric S. Margolis
Iran has haunted every U.S. administration since the days of President Jimmy Carter. While running for president, Barack Obama proposed opening talks with Tehran and trying to end the long Cold War between the United States and Iran. Obama's sensible idea was greeted with the deepest dismay by ardent supporters of Israel and Rambo Republicans who want to see the US go to war with Iran, a nation of 70 million, and destroy its nuclear infrastructure.

Now, as the United States fights for its economic life, the Iran question and its alleged nuclear weapons program have again become an issue of major contention. Officials in the Obama administration and the media issued a blizzard of contradictory claims over Iran's alleged nuclear threat, leaving us wondering: who is really charge of U.S. foreign policy?
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How the Permanent Power Structure Is Trying to Stop Obama

by Danny Schechter (Author of Plunder)
Some things don’t change. Obama may be in the White House, shuffling between the safety of the center and the language of change (“changeguage?”), firm in his commitment to the doctrine of neo-prog pragmatism which  all too often requires the abandonment of ideas and ideals that could offend both the right and wrong people.

image: He is in office, but is he in power?

The mistake that many make is to confuse the trappings of symbolic power with the exercise of real power. Truth be told, real power is exercised mostly by unchecked private interests, lobbyists and our media. They have the power to obstruct policies, stir up controversies and orchestrate pressure to kill measures they don’t like. They are well-funded minority and work skillfully in the shadows and through highly paid PR practitioners.
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Uranium Along the Iditerod Trail

Alaska Natives protest uranium exploration on Iditarod Trail
by Brenda Norrell   
A coalition of Alaskan Indigenous Peoples, Alaskan citizens, students and community organizations are demonstrating support for students protesting Uranium activity in the traditional cultural use areas near the Arctic Inupiat community of Elim.
Alaskans from various organizations and communities gathered at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod on March 7th, downtown Anchorage, to demonstrate support for the students and community of Elim. Students in Elim will be protesting uranium as dog mushers race through the Elim checkpoint 123 miles from Nome.

Funny Murray, an Inupiaq Para-professional in Elim, says that the students are leading the effort to raise awareness on the uranium’s destructive impacts to the environment, ecosystem and people.
“The Elim Students Against Uranium (ESAU) researched how uranium development can cause damage to the health of the environment, plants, animals and people. They (ESAU) are speaking up for environmental justice here in Elim, the Bering Sea and the Arctic.”

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Messages from Gaza

I Want to Write
by Mohammed M. Mustafa
Dear All - My name is Mohammed M. Mustafa from Gaza, Palestine. I can read, speak and understand English very well. But I like to express my opinion.

Here is a story compiled with photos on how Israel killed innocent Palestinians. In the photo there is a building that belongs to a Palestinian family in Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza. With prior warning, Israeli Army destroyed the house by missile in an air strike.
Residents of the house received a 5-minute warning; five minutes were enough for them to leave their house, and for the cameraman to station his camera, but for the man on bicycle, he had no choice, and received no warning.
Take a look at the photos, please.
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Prideful Tormentor: Bush Boasts of Torture

Bush Boasted about Tortured Captive
by Jason Leopold
About the time President George W. Bush was boasting of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s capture in late 2002, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing was undergoing waterboarding, according to top-secret documents released in a New York federal court case.
One heavily censored page of what appears to be a CIA internal report about the torture of “war on terror” detainees reads: “Interrogators administered [redacted] waterboard to Al-Nashiri.” The same page indicates that a dozen of 92 destroyed videotapes of the CIA’s interrogations were of detainees undergoing brutal treatment. “There are 92 videotapes, 12 of which include EIT [enhanced interrogation techniques] applications,” the page says.

Though U.S. officials confirmed more than a year ago that al-Nashiri and two other detainees were subjected to the drowning sensation of waterboarding, the page, which was released on Friday, represents rare documented evidence that the technique, regarded as torture at least since the Inquisition, was used against prisoners in American custody.
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Prisons, Profits, and the Banality of Evil

Lost Liberty Blues: Prisons, Profits, and the Banality of Evil
by Chris Floyd   
Lamar Alexander is certainly one of the biggest non-entities in the history of modern American politics.
Picture: Chain gang, Pitt County, North Carolina, 1910 (Many thanks to R. Coalson for the pic, from Shorpy, the vintage photo blog)
You would have to range far and wide to find a more negligible, pointless, unproductive figure on the national level than Alexander, the senior U.S. senator from Tennessee; indeed, you'd be hard-pressed to find such a one on the smallest school board or city council in the remotest corner of the country.

And like Bush with his Crawford dude ranch, Alexander adopted an entirely faux pose as a soil-of-the-soil type in a cynical campaign ploy. Perhaps only George Walker Bush could match Alexander in the "coasting through life with corporate coddling" sweepstakes. Like Bush, Alexander was once a Republican governor who did almost no work in office, letting the Democratic leaders of the state legislature -- with whom he had some cozy business entanglements -- handle the nitty-gritty of governing while he whiled away the hours greasing wheels for his cronies and cutting sweetheart deals to enrich himself. [For details on some of these wheels and deals, see here, here, here, here and here.]

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Obama and the Declarative "I"

Signing Statementing Our Way to Empire
by David Swanson
President Obama's second signing statement has generated a great deal of news coverage referring to it as his first. And the coverage largely suffers from the shadow of Obama's predecessor (and of Bush's fat sidekick), not to mention the shadow of Obama's recent statement about signing statements.

Let's get a few things out of the way: Obama has not abused power to the extent Bush and Cheney did, and he would have to work very hard to do so. I voted for him. I'm confident McCain-Palin would have been much worse. I support many things Obama has done in his first month-and-a-half and can't recall ever approving of a single thing that came out of the White House in the previous eight years other than George W. Bush's suitcases and his traitorous criminal self.

But I'm a citizen, not a fan. We don't need summer soldiers, spectators, or cheer leaders. We need a little honesty. If you want to praise unconstitutional presidential power because of the current president's brand name, you may actually be the explanation for the recently reported decline in religion in America: you've decided to worship a political party instead.
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Rachel Corrie Redux: Israeli Defense Force Guns Down American Peace Activist

American citizen critically injured after being shot in the head by Israeli forces in Ni’lin
by ISM (International Solidarity Movement)
An American citizen has been critically injured in the village of Ni’lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister.
Tristan Anderson, in critical condition following head shot

Tristan Anderson from California USA, 37 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and has been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in his forehead where he was struck by the canister. He is currently being operated on.

Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500m. I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed.
– Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) - International Solidarity Movement
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I See Through You: B.C.'s Proposed 'Recognition Act'

Seeing Through Campbell's 'Recognition Act'
by C. L. Cook
Gordon Campbell's B. C. Liberal Party announced last week the proposed introduction of an act in the legislature that would on its face address the centuries old injustice done to First Nations peoples in the Queen's [sic] lands of "British Columbia." 
Vancouver Sun columnist, Vaughn Palmer
It's a fine sentiment, and all the more surprising coming from the party that in its very first attempt at governance, way back in 2001, made a blatant grab for the authority to do as it willed with the unceded territory of the province. In that move, the B.C. Liberals rightly failed, but what does Campbell mean by this latest manoeuvre; could it be a great revelation on the party's figurative road to Damascus, or is it merely a shallow pre-election ploy to sway the province's racists to their natural place at Gordo's bosom? 
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