Syria | Egypt | Iraq–Iran | Palestine

Joshua Landis: Should the Use of Chemical Weapons Prompt a US Attack in Syria? (Syria Comment)
Say NO to another U.S. War, BEFORE the Bombs Fall! (International Action Center)
Elizabeth O’Bagy: The Opposition Advances in Damascus (Institute for the Study of War)

Despite significant gains in Homs province, Syrian government forces are struggling against opposition forces on other fronts. In Damascus, opposition forces have mounted a major offensive, entering many government-held areas and gaining new ground. Although the government has gone on the counter-offensive, opposition forces have been able to maintain their advance and prevented government forces from storming a number of critical areas in the city. These gains reveal the extent to which the opposition is able to adapt to changes in the operating environment, and prove that the Syrian government lacks the capacity to conclusively defeat the insurgency despite increased assistance from external allies.

Dale Gavlak, Yahya Ababneh: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack (MintPress News)

Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.

Will the National Coalition of Revolutionary Forces in Eastern Ghouta Be Able to Unite the Revolutionary Forces? (Syrian Observer)
Pentagon may be involved in Chemical Attack in Syria: US Intelligence Colonel Hacked Emails (Global Research)
Raphaël Lefèvre: The Brotherhood Starts Anew in Syria (Majalla)

While the Egyptian Brotherhood makes global headlines and Tunisia’s Ennahda Party struggles to remain in power, very little is publicly known about the state of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood. In recent weeks, much has been made of the decrease in the group’s influence over the Syrian National Coalition (SNC). In contrast, not a lot has been said on the Brotherhood’s actual influence inside Syria and its strategy for the revolution. How exactly does the movement plan on dealing with recent trends in the conflict, such as the rise of Islamic extremism in opposition ranks?

Anthony Dworkin, Daniel Levy, Julien Barnes-Dacey: Eight things to consider before intervening in Syria (European Council on Foreign Relations)

What are the goals of intervention? – The chemical weapons dilemma – The problem with evidence – The legality challenge – The military dynamic of western intervention – Impact on the trajectory of the Syria conflict – Impact on the region – A diplomatic alternative?

Syria Statement (International Crisis Group)

Debate over a possible strike – its wisdom, preferred scope and legitimacy in the absence of UN Security Council approval – has obscured and distracted from what ought to be the overriding international preoccupation: how to revitalise the search for a political settlement.

Brown Moses Blog (Blogspot)
Mariana sent this link:
Rebeldes sirios confirman a una periodista su implicación en el ataque con armas químicas (RT)
And here’s a remarkable article in German:
Hans-Christof Kraus: Und ihr denkt, es geht um einen Diktator (Frankfurter Allgemeine)

Der aktuelle Konflikt um ein Eingreifen oder Nicht-Eingreifen in den syrischen Bürgerkrieg ist deshalb so brisant, weil sich in dieser Frage der Gegensatz zwischen zwei radikal unterschiedlichen geostrategischen und weltpolitischen Konzeptionen manifestiert. Den Amerikanern und der westlichen Seite geht es nicht oder nicht vorrangig darum, der bedauernswerten syrischen Bevölkerung zu helfen, sondern um Einflussnahme auf die Neugestaltung des Landes nach einem voraussichtlichen Sturz des derzeitigen Regimes, obwohl man mit diesem bisher stets gut zusammenarbeiten konnte. Mehrere, seit längerem geplante, für den Westen wichtige Öl- und Gaspipelines stehen auf dem Spiel, die Saudi-Arabien und Qatar mit dem östlichen Mittelmeerraum und der Türkei verbinden und deshalb partiell durch syrisches Gebiet führen sollen.

David Hearst: Why Saudi Arabia is Taking a Risk by Backing the Egyptian Coup (Information Clearing House)

King Abdullah fears the Muslim Brotherhood, which challenges the kingdom’s claim to be the protector of Islam.

The military’s new massacres in Egypt (Socialist Worker)
Yoav Bar: Enter the BAD Guys (Free Haifa)
Haitham Mohamedain released, but charged with “terrorism” against the state (MENA Solidarity Network)
Mohamed Malik, Mohamad Omar: Egypt During the Reign of the Lunatics (CounterPunch)

Shane Harris, Matthew M. Aid: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran (Foreign Policy)

The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen …
In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

Lea Frehse: Haidar Eid: holding our breath in Gaza (Alternative Information Centre)

Egypt | Britain | Laura Poitras | Gay rights | Iran | KPÖ

Pepe Escobar: A message from our (Saudi) sponsors (Asia Times)

The Egyptian junta is about to let former despot Hosni Mubarak out of the box in the name of defending the interests of the “Egyptian people”. Take it as a message from the House of Saud, which loves Mubarak as one of its own. … “Arab Spring? What Arab Spring?”

Adam Gabbatt: US insists it has not stopped aid to Egypt as pressure mounts on Obama (Guardian)
Patrick Kingsley: Egypt’s cruellest week (Guardian)

Most so-called liberals have thrown their lot in with the army, since the current environment has forced almost everyone into a with-or-against-us mindset. …
Spurred on by a jingoistic and uninquiring media (some Egyptian television presenters cried with joy on air the day Morsi was overthrown) much of Egyptian society is convinced that the former president’s supporters are wholly a terrorist force bent on making Egypt part of some wider Islamic state. “We are not against any protesters – but we are against terrorists. We have a war with terrorists,” says Mohamed Khamis, a spokesman for Tamarod, the grassroots campaign that successfully encouraged millions to march against Morsi in June. …
But the central charges – that most Brotherhood supporters are violent, that their two huge protest camps were simply overgrown terrorist cells, and that their brutal suppression was justified and even restrained – are not supported by facts.

Heiko Khoo: Whither the Egyptian revolution (

Rob sent this link:
Peter Maass: How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets (New York Times)
He also sent this article (it’s behind a paywall):
Hung Ho-fung: China’s Rise Stalled (New Left Review)

Obama’s poodles at work:
Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours (Guardian)
Glenn Greenwald: Detaining my partner was a failed attempt at intimidation (Guardian)
Jonathan Watts: David Miranda: ‘They said I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate’ (Guardian)

Rob wrote that Miranda’s case is by no means the first time that British police have abused Schedule 7 in this way. They have been using it to seize activists at ports for questioning because detainees are not allowed a lawyer, can be imprisoned if they fails to answer all questions put to them, and any documents in their possession can be seized and copied. One example of this that the media completely ignored is the repeated detention – five times – of two researchers for Corporate Watch on their way back from the West Bank and Golan:
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000: A police snooping tool to protect private profit (Corporate Watch)

Further bizarre events:
Julian Borger: NSA files: why the Guardian in London destroyed hard drives of leaked files (Guardian)

A threat of legal action by the government that could have stopped reporting on the files leaked by Edward Snowden led to a symbolic act at the Guardian’s offices in London

Spencer Ackerman: White House: US government wouldn’t force reporters to destroy computers (Guardian)

The UK government insisted that the Guardian surrender or destroy computers containing classified information leaked by Edward Snowden. The White House has said that it would not be “appropriate” for the US government to destroy leaked government secrets obtained by media organisations in the way ordered by the British government.

Nicholas Watt, Spencer Ackerman, Josh Halliday and Rowena Mason: UK and US at odds over destruction of Guardian hard drives (Guardian)
Steve Horn: What The US And Russia Are Really Quarreling Over: Pipelines (MintPress News)

Christopher Carbone: Have gay rights groups abandoned Bradley Manning? (Guardian)

Mainstream LGBT rights groups like Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD have stayed quiet about Manning. … Why has Manning, whose revelations about the US Army’s actions epitomize social justice in action, gotten the cold shoulder from the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)? The silence of these groups has been deafening. …
First, Manning is the opposite of everything that these groups seek to portray as the image of “gay Americans”. I use those quotes because the majority of LGBT Americans don’t conform to these upwardly mobile, white, polished, virile male stereotypes. Manning doesn’t look like CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. …
Second, organizations like the HRC, which had net assets of over $32.7m at the end of last year and claims more than a millions members and supporters, happens to have the financial backing of major military industrial corporations, including Lockheed Martin, which is sponsoring the HRC’s upcoming national gala in Washington DC and Booz Allen Hamilton, a corporate partner for the national event, as well as Northrop Grumman a sponsor of their Los Angeles gala. …
There was no quid pro quo, however, the HRC and GLAAD know exactly where their bread is buttered. The Human Rights Campaign spent millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours to lobby for the repeal of Don’t ask, don’t tell, ensuring that patriotic and law-abiding gays and lesbians can continue to serve in the US military and fight its wars in far-flung places. …
GLAAD has had Goldman Sachs (that bastion of awesomeness) as a patron of its media awards in the past and Verizon (remember those agreements with the NSA?) as a supporter …

Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Richard Norton-Taylor: CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian coup (Guardian)

Declassified documents describe in detail how US – with British help – engineered coup against Mohammad Mosaddeq

Shimon Gapso: If you think I’m a racist, then Israel is a racist state / אני גזען? (Haaretz)
Neve Gordon: Being Honest About the Dominant Zionist Narrative (CounterPunch)

Gapso’s clear-sighted analysis of the dominant Zionist narrative speaks volumes about Israel’s state in the new millennium. With jingoist pride he reveals the logic of exclusion that defines the current Israeli political and social landscape. The novelty is not so much in what he says, but that he is has no shame in saying it. The only thing that he forgets to mention, however, is that racism is not “natural,” something one is born with or should be proud of, but rather a trait one acquires by internalizing the horrific lie that certain human beings are less than fully human.

Gabriel Kuhn: The Curious Success of the Communist Party in Graz, Austria (CounterPunch)

Egypt | Palestine–Israel | Fukushima

Alistair Beach: Egypt’s day of shame: Scores killed and hundreds more injured as government declares war on Islamists (Independent)
Nermeen Shaikh, Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous: Massacre in Cairo: Egypt on Brink After Worst Violence Since 2011 Revolution (Democracy Now)

At least 525 people were killed in Egypt on Wednesday when security forces cracked down on two protest camps filled with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood says the actual death toll tops 2,000, and has called new rallies for today. The Egyptian military has defended the crackdown and declared a state of emergency.

Patrick Kingsley: Egyptian PM defends crackdown on pro-Morsi camps as [official] death toll rises to 525 (Guardian)
Military crackdown: Egypt’s Tiananmen Square (Guardian)

The Egyptian military’s bloody assault on its own people marks a point of no return for the government.
Egypt’s military-installed government crossed a Rubicon on Wednesday by sending in the security forces to clear the camps of demonstrators demanding the reinstatement of President Mohamed Morsi. Within hours, the contours of the landscape the country had entered became brutally clear: 235 confirmed deaths and the possibility of many more; running battles breaking out in cities around the country; a state of emergency; night-time curfews imposed on 10 provinces. The bloodshed caused by interior ministry troops opening fire with shotguns, machine guns and rooftop snipers on largely peaceful sit-ins took its first major political casualty on Wednesday evening. The leading liberal who had supported the military coup, Mohamed ElBaradei, resigned as acting vice-president. …
Today, military rule has been revealed for what it is, and anyone thinking that it will be temporary or last for just one month has got to be supremely optimistic.

Robert Fisk: What Muslim Will Ever Trust the Ballot Box Again? (CounterPunch)
Sheri Berman: Marx’s Lesson for the Muslim Brothers (New York Times)

Karl Marx wrote that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. He had in mind the Revolution of 1848, when a democratic uprising against the French monarchy collapsed into a Bonapartist dictatorship just as the French Revolution had six decades earlier.
In 1848, workers joined with liberals in a democratic revolt to overthrow the French monarchy. However, almost as soon as the old order collapsed, the opposition fell apart, as liberals grew increasingly alarmed by what they saw as “radical” working class demands. Conservatives were able to co-opt fearful liberals and reinstall new forms of dictatorship.
Those same patterns are playing out in Egypt today — with liberals and authoritarians playing themselves, and Islamists playing the role of socialists. Once again, an inexperienced and impatient mass movement has overreached after gaining power. Once again, liberals have been frightened by the changes their former partners want to enact and have come crawling back to the old regime for protection. And as in 1848, authoritarians have been happy to take back the reins of power.

Alberto Cruz: El suicidio de la izquierda árabe (CEPRID)

[C]ualquiera que tenga los ojos abiertos, no ya la mente, tiene que ver que si la izquierda árabe comenzó a ser irrelevante en la década de 1990 tras el golpe militar en Argelia, con la postura que ha adoptado en Egipto de apoyo al golpe militar y los llamamientos en el mismo sentido que está haciendo en Túnez sólo tiene un futuro: la nada.
Ha habido muchos analistas que se han dado cuenta que se puede hacer un paralelismo entre el golpe en Argelia de 1992 y el de Egipto en 2013, pero se cuidan muy mucho en decir que el golpe en Argelia fue impulsado por la Unión General de Trabajadores y el Partido de la Vanguardia Socialista. El Frente Islámico de Salvación había ganado las elecciones en la primera vuelta, iba a revalidar su triunfo en la segunda y eso había que evitarlo a toda costa. La UGT y el PVS no tuvieron ningún reparo en buscar el apoyo y la colaboración de los empresarios, agrupados en la Unión de Empresarios Públicos, y de los intelectuales, agrupados en la Coalición para la Cultura y la Democracia.

Robert Fisk: Any other ‘statesman’ who negotiated peace like John Kerry would be treated as a thief (Independent)

Has John Kerry no shame? First he cuddles up to both Palestinians and Israelis and announces the renewal of a “peace process” which the Palestinians don’t trust and the Israelis don’t want. Then Israel announces that it will build 1,200 new homes for Jews – and Jews only – on occupied Palestinian land. And now Kerry tells the Palestinians – the weak and occupied Palestinians – that they are running out of time if they want a state of their own.
Any other “statesman” involved in any other dispute who told an occupied people that if they didn’t make peace their occupiers would steal even more of their land, would be regarded as an outcast, a fellow thief, a potential criminal.

Andrew DeWit: Water, Water Everywhere: Incentives and Options at Fukushima Daiichi and Beyond (Japan Focus)

[I]t is now clear that several hundred tons of radiation-contaminated water is entering the ocean per day.

Andrew DeWit: In the Dark With Tepco: Fukushima’s Legacy for Nuclear Power (Japan Focus) / 東京電力の闇のなかで――核エネルギーがこうむるフクシマの遺産 (原子力発電_原爆の子)

Egypt | Kampuchea | Trayvon Martin | Slavoj Žižek | Iraq

This is a long article about the various forces behind the coup that brought down the Muslim Brotherhood president Mursi of Egypt:
Talal Asad, Ayça Çubukçu: Neither Heroes, Nor Villains: Egypt After Morsi (Jadaliyya)
Patrick Kingsley: Egypt’s army chief calls for show of support from citizens (Guardian)

Egypt’s army chief, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has called for millions of citizens to go out on the streets on Friday to back the military and police, prompting concerns that he is seeking a popular mandate for a violent crackdown on supporters of the overthrown president, Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement has already planned 35 mass Islamist rallies for Friday. Sisi’s intervention creates the possibility of a bloody factional showdown that evening, and stokes fears that it is the army general, rather than the civilian government he installed, following Morsi’s removal on 3 July, who now has the greatest influence in Egypt.

Agencies: More than 100 Morsi supporters killed in Egypt clashes (Guardian)

Al Jazeera’s Egypt television station reported that 120 had been killed and some 4,500 injured in the early morning violence near Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawia mosque.
Reporters at the scene said firing could still be heard hours after the troubles started. … The clashes started after police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Morsi supporters who tried to extend the sit-in in eastern Cairo. … Well over 200 people have died in violence since the overthrow of Morsi, most of them Brotherhood supporters.

Patrick Kingsley, Peter Beaumont: Egypt: scores killed as army launches offensive against Muslim Brotherhood (Observer)

Over 100 supporters claimed dead as soldiers are accused of shoot-to-kill policy to clear protest urging Morsi’s release

Patrick Kingsley: Egypt restores feared secret police units (Guardian)

Police brutality also went unchecked under Morsi, who regularly failed to condemn police abuses committed during his presidency. But Ibrahim’s move suggests he is using the ousting of Morsi – and a corresponding upsurge in support for Egypt’s police – as a smokescreen for the re-introduction of pre-2011 practices.
Ibrahim’s announcement came hours before Egypt’s interim prime minister was given the power to place the country in a state of emergency – a hallmark of Egypt under Mubarak.
“It’s a return to the Mubarak era,” said Aida Seif el-Dawla, a prominent Egyptian human rights activist, and the executive director of a group that frequently supports victims of police brutality, the Nadeem centre for rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture.
“These units committed the most atrocious human rights violations,” said el-Dawla. “Incommunicado detentions, killings outside the law. Those were the [units] that managed the killing of Islamists during the 1990s. It’s an ugly authority that has never been brought to justice.”

Martin Chulov: How the Middle East and US have reacted to Egypt’s post-Morsi regime (Guardian)

Despite ruling a conservative Islamic society, underpinned by sharia law, Saudi’s leaders have jumped on the demise of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood constituency, offering $5bn (£3.2bn) in aid and loans in recent weeks. The rush to offer charity stands in contrast to the past year, when next to nothing flowed from Riyadh’s coffers to Morsi’s government. The democratic process that brought Morsi to power was not welcomed by Riyadh …
The UAE has pledged $3bn in aid, a mix of deposits, grants and support for Egypt’s gas and oil sector. Kuwait has structured its support in a similar fashion. Abu Dhabi and Kuwait had been at best deeply suspicious of the Brotherhood movement, and uncomfortable with political Islam generally. …
Doha has clearly lost a significant constituency with the Brotherhood’s exit from power, having swung its formidable petro-wealth wholeheartedly behind Morsi, the only Arab state to offer such support.

Ramzy Baroud: Hated in Egypt (CounterPunch)

Among all the pretenses that the military junta could have conjured up, they chose to imprison Morsi for ‘links’ with the Palestinian movement Hamas. The leveling of such an accusation is quite telling. Gone are the days where Arab leaders were condemned for their ties with Israel, or affiliation with this western intelligence or that. The fact that Egyptian media and commentators would repeat the ‘accusation’ without any one raising the question “so what?”, is equally expressive of the state of political degeneration that exists in Egypt today.

Savath Pou: Cambodia on the road to civil war (Asia Times)

Cambodia’s thousands-strong community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have almost universally pledged allegiance to the CNRP and some have even sworn to sacrifice their own lives for the opposition if need be. They are, in fact, an extremely dangerous UXO (unexploded ordnance) planted in Cambodia by the West in general and by the United States of America in particular, to destabilize and destroy the CPP once and for all whenever the opportunity arises.
For instance, CNRP vice president Kem Sokha, a potential prime minister if the opposition wins the election, led the USAID, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and European Commission-funded Cambodian Centre for Human Rights before entering mainstream politics in 2008. He has since been frequently accused by CPP surrogates of serving as a stooge for Western interests. …
As long as the CNRP is run by Sam Rainsy, the biological son of the same Sam Sary who allegedly plotted with the US Central Intelligence Agency to kill then Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1959, and Kem Sokha, a rights defender-cum-politician who has consistently used the country’s poor and desperate for his own political ends, the risk of renewed conflict will remain in Cambodia.

Amy Goodman, Seema Iyer: Juror B29 Says Zimmerman “Got Away with Murder” (Democracy Now)
Imani Henry: Jail Zimmerman. Free Marissa Alexander & Cece McDonald! (Workers World)

Slavoj Žižek: Trouble in Paradise (London Review of Books)

And here’s a short history of the Iraqi Communist Part. (It strangely glosses over Soviet support for the establishment of the state of Israel, which is probably the heaviest burden for communists in the Arab world.)
Raza Naeem: The Coup That Destroyed Revolutionary Iraq (CounterPunch)

Greece | Egypt | CIA torture | Trayvon Martin

Matina Stevis, Ian Talley: IMF Concedes It Made Mistakes on Greece (Wall Street Journal)

The International Monetary Fund has admitted to major missteps over the past three years in its handling of the bailout of Greece, the first spark in a debt crisis that spread across Europe.
In an internal document marked “strictly confidential,” the IMF said it badly underestimated the damage that its prescriptions of austerity would do to Greece’s economy, which has been mired in recession for the last six years.

Serge Halimi: Back to a feudal Europe / Wettlauf ins Mittelalter (Monde diplomatique)

The speculators have extricated themselves without losing one cent of the loans they made to Greece at astronomical interest rates. Obviously, such skill in robbing Europe’s taxpayers for the benefit of the hedge funds qualifies the troika to make the Greek people suffer. There are also hospitals, schools and universities that could be closed without any opposition. And not just in Greece: it’s only by making such sacrifices Europe that will be able keep its place in the triumphal progress towards a new Middle Ages.

Esam al-Amin: The Grand Scam: Spinning Egypt’s Military Coup (CounterPunch)

Even before a single demonstrator went to Tahrir, Okaz, a Saudi daily newspaper preemptively published the details of the scenario that unfolded three days later when the military took over. The following day, Al-Ahram, an official newspaper and Egypt’s largest circulated publication, had the headline “Either Resign or Be Overthrown.” This report foretold in frightening details how the events would unfold, including the military ultimatum, the overthrow of Morsi, the arrest of the MB leaders, and the suspension of the constitution. By July 3 nightfall, Gen. Sisi announced the overthrow of Morsi, the suspension of the constitution, and the beginning of a political roadmap. It was exactly the same roadmap President Morsi announced earlier, and the opposition rejected. The only difference was his ouster. … Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke to the coup leader Gen. Sisi at least five times during the crisis. … Within days, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns went to Egypt and met with the coup leaders and their civilian enablers. …
By the time the assembled speakers behind Gen. Sisi led by ElBaradei, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and the Coptic Pope finished their blessings of the military coup, the security forces were in full force as hundreds of MB supporters including senior leaders were rounded up on the flimsy charge of instigating violence. … More than a dozen pro-Morsi media outlets including TV channels, websites, and newspapers were raided and closed. By July 8, the army killed over 80 pro-Morsi demonstrators and injured over 1000 when they were praying and protesting peacefully in front of the Presidential Guards Club, where Morsi is believed to be detained. So far, more than 270 people have been killed and thousands injured by the army and security forces across Egypt.

Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous: A Growing Divide in Egypt: As Army Outlines Transition Plan, Brotherhood Vow Revolt After Massacre (Democracy Now)

We turn now to Egypt, where members of the Muslim Brotherhood have called for an uprising one day after Egyptian armed forces shot dead more than 50 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi during a protest outside Cairo’s Republican Guard barracks where the deposed leader is believed to be held. Over 400 people were injured in the clashes. The army claims it acted in self-defense.

Patrick Kingsley: Killing in Cairo: the full story of the Republican Guards’ club shootings (Guardian)
Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous: With Deadly Crackdown, Is Egypt’s Military Repeating Same Mistakes of Post-Mubarak Transition? (Democracy Now)
Sharif Abdel Kouddous: “The Jailers Should Be Jailed” (Democracy Now)
Egyptian Liberals Embrace the Military, Brooking No Dissent (New York Times)

A hypernationalist euphoria unleashed in Egypt by the toppling of Mr. Morsi has swept up even liberals and leftists who spent years struggling against the country’s previous military-backed governments.

Wilhelm Langthaler: Democratic coup? / Demokratischer Putsch? (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Former CIA agent involved in rendition must be returned to Italy to face justice (Amnesty International)

Amnesty International is calling for the return of CIA agent, Robert Seldon Lady, to Italy to face justice for his part in the US-led rendition programme. “By his own admission, he participated in a kidnapping operation that resulted in a man being tortured. Seldon Lady evaded justice by leaving Italy before his trial. This time he should have to answer the charges against him in Italy in person,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

Barbie Latza Nadeau: CIA Agent Robert Seldon Lady: Italy’s Most Wanted (Daily Beast)

When CIA agent Robert Seldon Lady devised the plan to swoop Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, better known as Abu Omar, off a Milan street on a chilly February morning in 2003, he says he was just following orders from his American bosses. “Of course it was an illegal operation,” Lady told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper at the time. “But that’s our job. We’re at war against terrorism.”

Greg Miller, Karen DeYoung: Panama releases former CIA operative wanted by Italy (Washington Post)
Ken Hanly: The US double standard — Snowden versus Lady and Carriles (Digital Journal)

Panamanian officials claim that Lady had been detained at a border crossing with Costa Rica pending an extradition request from Italy. He was let go on the grounds that Panama does not have an extradition treaty with Italy and the documentation sent by Italian officials was “insufficient”. It was insufficient, I expect, to counteract a request by the US for him to be sent back home. … Panama has experience with what happens when you displease the US.

Norman Pollack: Obama, Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman Verdict (CounterPunch)

The verbatim transcript of Obama’s unscheduled appearance at the White House news briefing revealed all the human warmth of dead mackerel wrapped in yesterday’s paper. …
When Pres. Obama stated, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” or conversely, he could have been Trayvon Martin, he unwittingly put global millions in an uncomfortable position. No one wishes Mr. Obama dead (the thought liberated from that statement), but global millions, myself included, would like to see him leave office, whether by resignation or impeachment, but IN DISGRACE, in disgrace for his political treachery: his personal authorization of targeted assassination, his ties to Wall Street and posture of deregulation, his compulsive obsession with secrecy, and now, the horrid policy of mass surveillance, his diplomatic aggressiveness, as in the Pacific-first geostrategic framework of containing and isolating or weakening China, his chumminess with the the military and intelligence communities, …

Turkey | Guatemala | Egypt | Guantánamo | GM crops

Pepe Escobar: Erdoğan risks the ‘must go’ path (Asia Times)
M. K. Bhadrakumar: Petty burglars of the Malacca Strait (Asia Times)

“What’s in a name?” – one might ask. There could be a lot. In Washington on the fateful day of May 20, President Barack Obama decided to use the name Myanmar to refer to what he had insisted on calling “Burma”. The geopolitics of the Indian Ocean will never be the same again. White House spokesman Jay Carney explained that the United States would be henceforth “as a courtesy in appropriate setting, more frequently using the name Myanmar”. Diplomacy is indeed largely courtesy and the “appropriate setting” was the visit by President Thein Sein to the White House, which signified the formal launch of the US rebalancing strategy to the west of Malacca Strait.

Sibylla Brodzinsky, Jonathan Watts: Former Guatemalan dictator convicted of genocide and jailed for 80 years (Guardian)

Efraín Ríos Montt held to account for abuses in campaign that killed an estimated 200,000 and led to 45,000 disappearances

Louisa Loveluck: Egypt court rules upper house of parliament elected illegally (Guardian)
Samir Naji al-Hasan Moqbel: Gitmo Is Killing Me (New York Times)

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. … I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. … I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.

Paul Harris: Guantánamo Bay hunger strike worsens (Guardian)

President vowed last week to close controversial detention camp but 103 prisoners remain on strike, with many being force-fed

Detainees on hunger strike in Guantánamo Bay: An open letter to my military doctor (Guardian)

[Y]ou are in violation of the ethics of your profession, as the American Medical Association and the World Medical Association have made clear. … I cannot trust your advice, because you are responsible to your superior military officers who require you to treat me by means unacceptible to me, and you put your duty to them above your duty to me as a doctor. … I have some sympathy for your impossible position. Whether you continue in the military or return to civilian practice, you will have to live with what you have done and not done here at Guantanamo for the rest of your life. Going forward, you can make a difference. You can choose to stop actively contributing to the abusive conditions I am currently enduring.

Gary Younge: Hypocrisy lies at the heart of the trial of Bradley Manning (Guardian)

It is an outrage that soldiers who killed innocents remain free but the man who exposed them is accused of ‘aiding the enemy’

Suzanne Goldenberg: Asia curbs US imports of wheat after genetically modified sample found (Guardian)

GM variants are now the norm in US corn, cotton and soybeans, making up virtually all of the soybean crop last year. By some estimates, about two-thirds of US processed foods contain some GM ingredients.

Canada | Mali | Syria | Palestine/Israel | USA

May sent this article:
Martin Lukacs: Canada’s First Nations protest heralds a new alliance (Guardian)

Philippe Leymarie: Mali, a country divided / Au Mali, les belligérants s’impatientent (Monde diplomatique)
Alexander Mezyaev: Military Intervention in Mali: Special Operation to Recolonize Africa (Global Research)
Tony Cartalucci: US Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France “Comes to the Rescue” (Global Research)
Philippe Noudjenoume: Françafrique : Lettre ouverte au président François Hollande (Pambazuka)
Bernard Schmid: Doppelte Mission in Mali (Telepolis)

Harriet Sherwood: Russia condemns Israeli air strike on Syria (Guardian)
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad: Syrian rebels sidetracked by scramble for spoils of war (Guardian)
Wilhelm Langthaler: On vice-president Sharaa’s proposal for a political solution (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Israeli settlements symbolise the acute lack of justice experienced by the Palestinian people (UN Commissioner on Human Rights)
Cleansing the Jordan Valley (Haaretz)
Ken Klippenstein, Norman Finkelstein: The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights (CounterPunch)
Laila el-Haddad: What’s Really Going On at Rafah? (al-Shabaka)

The Rafah Crossing remains the sole passage in and out of Gaza for all its residents. At the present time, its operation and usage remains under the control of Egypt and managed by Israeli guidelines. And as last month’s incident demonstrates, the situation remains unstable and the Crossing itself unreliable. Unlike airports or traditional border crossings, it is still liable to be completely shut down at a moment’s notice, stranding both Palestinians, and their economy. So far, Egyptian policies on the crossing have not departed from those of years past. It remains to be seen whether the Mursi government’s meetings with Hamas can or will bring change.

Saree Makdisi: If Not Two States, Then One (New York Times)
Ali Abunimah: Mahmoud Abbas’ real “accomplishment” was not the UN vote on Palestine (AlJazeera)
Ramzy Baroud: The Palestinian Prisoners’ Intifada (CounterPunch)
Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: An infiltration thwarted, a Palestinian youth left to die (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
David Horowitz: A different Israel after January 22 (Times of Israel)

The elections [in Israel] will almost certainly yield a leadership that firmly rejects Palestinian statehood and adamantly champions settlement expansion — not so much because the electorate is swinging heavily to the right, but because the right has already swung heavily to the far right

Zeev Sternhell: הנחש משיל את עורו / Likud casts off its skin (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google News)

[C]ontrary to the Labor Party leader’s opinion, the average Israeli knows that the future of society will be decided in the territories. He also knows that the Likud intends to annex the territories without granting citizenship to its residents. Once that was a marginal, semi-subversive opinion – today it’s the viewpoint of the official leadership. Only Netanyahu, for fear of the Americans, is still playing the two-states game. Therefore, anyone who gives his vote to the right today is voting … in favor of an apartheid state in the full sense of the word.
The right has already decided that municipal autonomy is sufficient for the Palestinians: Self-rule and the right to self-determination are reserved for the Jews. In other words, the members of the Chosen People are entitled not only to the right to be their own masters, but to rule over the Palestinians as well. Such chutzpah … is unparalleled in today’s world. Suddenly in the post-colonial world comes a country that without batting an eyelash appropriates the right to enslave another nation, and calls itself an enlightened country that is fulfilling the Jewish people’s desire for freedom. … That’s how the Israelis are eliminating their country’s right to exist, with their own hands.
Annexing the territories is already creating a situation that no Western society can tolerate, because there is not a single country in the West that does not guarantee the equality of all the people living within its borders.

Gideon Levy: לאומנות השמאל / The racism of leftist nationalism (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google News)

The left-center bloc is no less racist and nationalist than the right. But unlike the right, it is racist and nationalist without emotion. …
Defense Minister Ehud Barak was the first to foster leftist nationalism when he said: “We are here and they are there.” That is, we also hate Arabs, but our solution is better. We’ll build a wall and let them rot behind it. We’ll give them a state and let them wallow in it. The main thing is for them to get out of our sight. … Tzipi Livni says correct things about the two-state solution, but she preaches from nationalist motives. She wants a state without (many) Arabs, a Jewish state, which she defines as a nationalist state. Israel for the Jews. Just like France for the French and Germany for the Germans. In French and German this sounds terrible; only in Hebrew does it pass muster. Not a word about morality and human rights for all.
Labor Party chief Shelly Yacimovich, meanwhile, makes firm and correct statements about social justice and discrimination, but she only wants justice for Jews.

Amy Goodman, Marcy Wheeler: Obama’s Cheney? “Assassination Czar” John Brennan Brings Legacy of Drone War and Torture to CIA Nod (Democracy Now)
Amy Goodman, Baher Azmy: 4 Years After Vow to Close Gitmo, Why Has Obama Signed NDAA Bill Barring Transfer of Its Prisoners? (Democracy Now)

Andre Vltchek: The Irrational, Racist Fear of China (CounterPunch)

Colombia | Egypt | Syria | Korea | “Fiscal Cliff”

Daniel Kovalik: The ICC and Colombia: Massacres Under the Looking Glass (CounterPunch)

Evan Hill, Ali Abdel Mohsen, Omar Halawa: Opposition forces gear towards a ‘no’ vote (Egypt Independent)
Esam al-Amin: Egypt’s Constitution, the Opposition, and the Dialogue of the Deaf (CounterPunch)
Alain Gresh: Gulf cools towards Muslim Brothers (Monde diplomatique)
Markus Bickel: Hamdin Sabbahi: „Der Geist der Revolution wird mit Füßen getreten“ (FAZ)

Paul Jay, Sami Ramadani: The Dangerous Global Consequences of a Syria Intervention (Tlaxcala)
Basel Dayoub: Syria: Religious Police Patrol Aleppo’s Countryside (al-Akhbar)

The Syrian opposition groups that have taken control of Aleppo’s countryside are deploying a religious police force to enforce new laws, such as barring women from driving and making prayer compulsory.

Bruce Cumings is a Korea specialist and one of the authors of Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran, and Syria, a book we discussed a few years ago.
Park Hyun: Bruce Cumings says sanctions have failed, time for dialogue with North Korea (Hankoryeh)
Park Hyun: Bruce Cumings: Park likely to continue Lee administration’s NK policy (Hankoryeh)
And here’s an old, but interesting article by Cumings reviewing books on Korea by Bradley Martin and Jasper Becker, followed by a short exchange between Bruce Cumings and Roderick MacFarquhar:
Bruce Cumings: We look at it and see ourselves (London Review of Books)

Newk Mindshaftgab: The Fact-Free Fiscal Cliff Debate (CounterPunch)

The History of Budget Deficits and Economic Growth in Relation to Taxes and Unemployment

Historic ruling on Europe’s role in CIA renditions (Amnesty International)

On 31 December 2003, the Macedonian authorities arrested El-Masri, who is [a German citizen] of Lebanese descent, after he entered Macedonia from Serbia.
They held him incommunicado, subjecting him to enforced disappearance, repeated interrogations and to ill-treatment, until 23 January 2004 when they handed him over to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents.
As part of the covert, US-led rendition and secret detention programme, the CIA transferred El-Masri to a secret detention facility in Afghanistan.
There he was held unlawfully in secret, not charged with any crime and his detention was not subject to judicial review. He did not have access to a lawyer. His whereabouts were not acknowledged and he was held incommunicado. As a result he was subjected to enforced disappearance for over four months. While in Afghanistan, he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.
On 28 May 2004, El-Masri was put on a plane and flown to Albania where he was released.

Ian Cobain: MoD pays out millions to Iraqi torture victims (Guardian)

The [British] Ministry of Defence has paid out £14m in compensation and costs to hundreds of Iraqis who complained that they were illegally detained and tortured by British forces during the five-year occupation of the south-east of the country.

Joshua Brollier: The Struggle for Land Rights Near the Gaza Border (MRzine)

Israeli Occupation Forces shot and wounded an unarmed 22-year-old farmer, Mohammed Qdeih, from behind. … Under the siege, Israeli “closed military zones” have confiscated up to 35 percent of Gaza’s arable land, which was previously used for fruit and olive orchards, wheat, and various vegetables. With nearly half of Gaza’s population designated as “food insecure” by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the farming industry having been crippled from the inability to export products under the Israeli blockade, this land is essential for the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and residents of Gaza.

Eva Bartlett: Gaza fisherman jailed for serving Hamas coffee (Electronic Intifada)

Shortly after Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire agreement on 21 November, the Israeli navy abducted thirty Palestinian fishermen from Gaza’s waters, destroyed and sank a Palestinian fishing vessel, and confiscated nine fishing boats in the space of four days.

Ali Abunimah: Israeli embassy’s Christmas message of hate: Bethlehem Palestinians would “lynch” Jesus and Mary as “Jews” (Electronic Intifada)

The offensiveness of the message needs no further elaboration, but Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem will find it particularly galling given that it is Israel, with its wall surrounding their city, and other violent manifestations of the occupation, which has done most to strangle the home of the Nativity. … For several years, Shimon Gapso, the notoriously racist mayor of the Israeli settlement of “Upper Nazareth” in the Galilee, has banned Christmas trees, calling them a provocation. …
This is not the first time the Israeli embassy in Dublin has been responsible for messages that are even more unhinged than typical Israeli government propaganda. In June, Nurit Tinari-Modai, the deputy ambassador, made headlines when she proposed a plan to personally smear Palestine solidarity activists – especially Israelis – to “humiliate and shame them” as suffering from psychological and sexual problems.

Death surge linked with mass privatisation (Oxford University)

As many as one million working-age men died due to the economic shock of mass privatisation policies followed by post-communist countries in the 1990s, according to a new study published in The Lancet … During the 1990s, former communist countries underwent the world’s worst peacetime mortality crisis in the past 50 years – with over three million avoidable deaths and 10 million ‘missing’ men, according to the United Nations.

Egypt | Syria | Palestine/Israel | USA

Wael Eskandar: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Militias in Action: A Firsthand Account (Jadaliyya)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Mursi: pharao or revolutionary? (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Ernesto Cardenal, Samir Amin, etc.: Yes to Democracy, No to Foreign Intervention! ‍‍(MRzine)
Leo Gabriel, Evangelos Pissias, Wilhelm Langthaler, Fernando Romero-Forsthuber: The war in Syria or The threads of a blood drained carpet (LabourNet Austria)

Yinon Cohen, Neve Gordon: Why Abbas’s Bid to the United Nations General Assembly Was Too Little, Too Late (CounterPunch)
Dennis Bernstein: An Interview With Professor Francis Boyle (CounterPunch)

Why the US Threatened to Cut Off Aid to the Palestinians if They Pursued and Were Granted Observer Status at the UN

Chaim Levinson: אז איפה זה בכלל E-1? / What is area E-1, anyway? (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Leila Farsakh: Palestine refuses to disappear (Monde diplomatique)
Yara Sa’di: Israel’s repression of Palestinian students reached new level during Gaza attack (Electronic Intifada)
Ali Abunimah: Apartheid Lines: Video shows Israeli public bus driver refusing to let Palestinians ride (Electronic Intifada)

Palestinian laborers from the West Bank are members of an occupied population with virtually no rights or protection. They are exploited to do low-paid work in Israel’s apartheid economy, and then subjected to Jim Crow-like discrimination. Unlike Rosa Parks, they are not even given the back of the bus. They can’t ride the bus at all.

Editorial: ייבוש לצורכי נישול / Drying out the Palestinians (Haaretz)

Since the beginning of the year, Israel has destroyed 35 rainwater cisterns used by Palestinian communities, 20 of them in the area of Hebron and the southern Hebron Hills. … Leaving Palestinian communities disconnected from infrastructure, declaring large areas as firing zones and destroying cisterns are part of an intentional policy since the early 1970s. Its goal is to leave as few Palestinians as possible in the majority of the West Bank (today’s Area C, under Israeli civil and military control), to expedite Jewish settlement and thus make it easier to annex these areas to Israel.

Or Kashti: בחירות הם רוצים / In Israel, democracy is delayed for Bedouin (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Harriet Sherwood: Israeli separation wall threatens world heritage site of Battir’s ancient terraces (Guardian)

Israeli environmentalists and even the state parks authority are backing Palestinian villagers’ attempts to preserve landscape

Amira Hass: ‘You have to demolish them while they’re small’ (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

So Supreme Court President Asher Grunis said shortly before a partially built mosque in the West Bank was pulled down.

William Saletan: Get Real, Israel (Slate)

Renaud Egreteau: Burma’s civil wars (Mondi diplomatique)

Eric Bailey: An Interview With Noam Chomsky on Obama’s Human Rights Record (CounterPunch)
Mark Graham: USAID in Afghanistan (CounterPunch)

Whatever beneficence USAID has doled out over the years has come with a heavy price for Afghans and a heavy price tag for Americans. In fact, USAID is not an aid organization by any common understanding of the term, if by aid we mean helping people who are suffering out of the kindness of our hearts. Instead, USAID functions primarily as an instrument of counterinsurgency and as a pipeline by which public money moves into private hands.

South Africa | Syria | Egypt | Israel/Palestine | Han Suyin

David Smith: South Africa mine massacre photos prompt claims of official cover-up (Guardian)

Police in South Africa have been accused of planting weapons on the bodies of dead miners as part of an official cover-up of the Marikana massacre, in August.
Damning photographic evidence was presented to an independent commission of inquiry examining the deaths of 46 people during nearly six weeks of violent strikes at the Lonmin-owned mine.

Karin Leukefeld: Gefangene ermordet (junge Welt) / Haltet den Dieb. Massaker in Syrien (junge Welt)

Mai Shams El-Din: New Salafi party has curious policy mix (Egypt Independent)

Gideon Levy: רוב הציבור היהודי תומך באפרטהייד (Haaretz) / Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel (Israeli Occupation Archive) / Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel (Haaretz)

Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formallhy annexes the West Bank. A majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state’s Arab citizens, a survey shows.

Gideon Levy: נא להכיר: הישראלים (Haaretz) / Apartheid without shame or guilt (Israeli Occupation Archive) / Apartheid without shame or guilt (Haaretz)
Moshé Machover: On Israeli Apartheid (Israeli Occupation Archive)

In my opinion the whole semantic discussion of Israeli “apartheid” skirts around the fundamental question: the underlying political economy of Zionist colonization. …
Zionist colonization and the Israeli settler state differ in a fundamental respect from apartheid in its original, South-African sense. South-African colonization and its settler state were based on exploiting the labour power of the indigenous people. These people were harshly oppressed and severely discriminated; but their presence was vital for the political economy of the settler state. They were an asset. Zionist colonization, in contrast, is more like the colonization of North America and Australia: based not on keeping the natives as a source of exploitable labour power but on excluding them by various forms of ethnic cleansing. The natives are not a source of surplus for the settlers; instead, they themselves are surplus to requirements.
This is much worse for the indigenous people than South-African apartheid, because it is much more difficult to undo.

John Gittings: Han Suyin obituary (Guardian)
Ananth Krishnan: Han Suyin: writer, goodwill ambassador (The Hindu)
Desiree Tresa Gasper: Splendid memories of Dr Han (The Star)
Margalit Fox: Han Suyin Dies; Wrote Sweeping Fiction (New York Times)
Mei Jia: Writer Han Suyin dies at 95 in Lausanne (China Daily)
Alison Lake: Han Suyin, Chinese-born author of ‘A Many-Splendoured Thing,’ dies at 95 (Washington Post)
Jason Chow: Han Suyin, Author of ‘A Many-Splendored Thing,’ Dies at 95 (Wall Street Journal)
And here’s a much more hostile article from the same outlet:
Hugo Restall: A Cheerleader for Mao’s Cultural Revolution (Wall Street Journal)
François Bougon: Han Suyin, écrivain et avocate fidèle du régime maoïste (Le Monde)