Palestine | Scotland | USA

Ben Lynfield, Zachary Davies Boren: Israel claims 400 hectares in West Bank for ‘state use’ just days after the Gaza ceasefire agreed (Belfast Telegraph)
Chaim Levinson, Jack Khoury: Israel appropriates massive tract of West Bank land (Haaretz; via Google News)

Israel’s Civil Administration [Israeli newspeak for the military administration of civilians in the occupied territories] in the West Bank yesterday announced the takeover of 988 acres (3,799 dunams) belonging to five Palestinian villages between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. The move clears the way for construction of a new settlement named Gvaot.
The announcement follows the cabinet’s decision last week to take over the land in response to the June kidnapping and killing of three teenage Jewish boys by Hamas militants in the area.
Peace Now, which monitors settlement construction, said it was the largest Israeli appropriation of West Bank land in 30 years.

Elie Hanna: Palestinian Authority President Abbas to Qatari Emir Tamim: Meshaal is lying / Meshaal: Full partnership in the Palestinian Authority and a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders (al-Akhbar)
Ibrahim al-Amin, Wafic Qanso, Hassan Ileik, Maha Zureikat: Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: The Resistance in Gaza is on quest for tangible victory (al-Akhbar)

It is obvious that the Resistance is not looking for a symbolic victory to lift morale or for a face-saving way out, rather it is looking for a real achievement, namely, lifting the siege, even if it is costly. This is a point of strength for the Resistance, first, because it is the wish of all the Resistance factions in Gaza and secondly, because there is a real popular will on the issue of lifting the siege. Perhaps people disagree with Hamas on issues like running the Gaza Strip, power and government, and the factions may disagree in their positions regarding regional events but the question of lifting the siege is a unanimous, popular demand for all Gazans.

Nima Shirazi: Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, Now in Palestine (Wide Asleep in America)

In October 1964, Foreign Affairs published the lengthy essay, “In Defense of Apartheid,” by Charles A. W. Manning. Not only did Manning accuse outside meddlers and finger-waggers of refusing to acknowledge South Africa’s right to exist as an apartheid state, he also justified its racist policies as “a heritage from a complicated past.”…
The notion that advocating and legislating in favor of “human rights” and equality would be the death knell of the Israeli state – “national suicide” – perfectly articulates that inherent injustice of Zionism; indeed, it is a self-indicting statement…
In April 1953, on the eve of assembly elections in South Africa, Prime Minister D.F. Malan warned that outside forces – including “the United Nations, Communist Russia… as well as a hostile press” – were “trying to force upon us equality, which must inevitably mean to white South Africa nothing less than national suicide.”…
This sentiment was similarly articulated by Ehud Olmert, then the Israeli Prime Minister, in a 2007 interview with Ha’aretz. “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories),” he said “then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.”
Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

Lior Dattel: Poll: One-third of Israelis think about leaving (Haaretz)

Some 30 percent of Israelis would seriously consider leaving if they could, according to a poll commissioned by Israel’s Chanel 2, Israeli website Globes reported Sunday.

Adam Hudson: Perpetual war, indefinite detention, and torture: The U.S. and Israel’s shared values (al-Akhbar)

There is a free e-book by Prof Löwstedt, who teaches in Vienna:
Anthony Löwstedt: Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present. Gross Racist Human Rights Violations in Græco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, Israel/Palestine and Beyond (PDF). With a Foreword by Ilan Pappe, and a Postscript by Richard A. Falk. Wien: Gesellschaft für Phänomenologie und kritische Anthropologie, 2014.

Tariq Ali: Scots, undo this union of rogues. Independence is the only way to fulfil your potential (Guardian)
Scottish independence backed by Plaid Cymru leader (Scotsman)

Ford Sypher: Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq? (Daily Beast)

Lauren Gambino: Huge family detention centre to open in Texas for undocumented migrants (Guardian)

Federal officials are due to open a huge family detention centre in southern Texas that will house immigrant adults with children while they await deportation… Family detention centres operated by private prison companies have a poor track record, especially in Texas…
An obscure provision tucked into the Department of Homeland Security’s spending plan, known as the “bed mandate”, requires law enforcement officials to hold an average of 34,000 immigrants in detention each day. The quota keeps detention centres full, a huge boon for the for-profit corrections companies that get paid per bed. In 2013, … revenue [of the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America (CAA)] nearly topped $1.7bn (£1bn).

Dan Roberts: Trial of four Blackwater security guards hinges on belief, not reality, of a threat (Guardian)

The civilian vehicles caught up in the incident were so riddled with bullets and explosives that their contents could barely be identified, yet the convoy of four armoured vehicles in which the guards were riding was marked only by a handful of tiny dents and scratches of indeterminate origin.
And while the four Blackwater guards on trial for the deaths of 14 of the victims claimed they believed they were under attack by an insurgent car-bombing attempt, no weapons or explosives were found on any of the dead Iraqis, despite an extensive FBI investigation. Instead, the official US investigation led to three men facing manslaughter charges, one accused of murder, and a fifth admitting manslaughter of other victims and testifying against his former colleagues.
But the 12 jurors who sat through harrowing evidence from victims and their relatives were not asked to assess the proportionality of the response. Like so many controversial encounters with security forces the world over, the crux of case is not whether the dead Iraqis posed a threat to the Blackwater convoy, but whether the guards’ belief that they did was a reasonable one.

Palestine | Iraq | Ukraine | Nuclear Era | Korea | USA

Yoav Bar: Lessons from the Gaza War (Free Haifa)

The Israelis say they could conquer Gaza, but they didn’t do it. In fact, they already did it twice, in 1956 and in 1967. When they withdrew from Gaza in 2005 it was without agreement, after they paid a heavy price in two Palestinian intifadas. The fact that Gaza was not occupied again is the combine result of the expected resistance to the act of occupation and the memories of the resistance over 38 years of continued occupation. Any way you count it, the resistance is what keeps Gaza free of direct occupation.

More articles on Palestine:
Serge Halimi: Unfair and unbalanced (Monde diplomatique)

For decades, we have been told that Israel is “responding” or “retaliating”. The story is always that of a peaceful little state, poorly protected, without a single powerful ally, which manages to win through, sometimes without a scratch. And the confrontation always starts at the precise moment when Israel appears as the victim, shocked by misfortune — an abduction, an attack, an act of aggression, an assassination. A commentator will express indignation that rockets are being fired at civilians; then another will argue that the Israeli “response” was much more murderous. Score, one all, ball still in play.
And everything else, everything that matters, is forgotten: the military occupation of the West Bank, the economic blockade of Gaza, the colonisation of the land (1). News channels never take the time to go into details… How many people know, for instance, that between the Six Day war and the Iraq war, between 1967 and 2003, Israel failed to comply with more than a third of all UN Security Council resolutions issued, many of them concerning the colonisation of Palestinian land? A simple ceasefire in Gaza would therefore mean perpetuating a recognised breach of international law.

Alain Gresh: Gaza: Palestine first and last (Monde diplomatique)

More than a thousand Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, against some 40 Israelis, and the numbers are rising. But Gaza, the birthplace of Palestinian nationalism, has a long history of resistance.

Slavoj Žižek: Rolling in underground tunnels (Mondoweiss)

Today in Gaza, the Israeli military is fighting not only in underground tunnels, but also against the natives of the land. They are fighting not only against Hamas, but also against Palestine itself. They –alongside the West– are fighting against a nation that they have tried to expel from the land for almost 70 years now. They are fighting not only because of these tunnels, but also and precisely to conquer the land within which the tunnels were dug. The refugee camps in Gaza are living evidence of this enormous land robbery…

Special Focus: Gaza under Attack (Institute for Palestine Studies; a collection of recent articles)
Yitzhak Laor: The eternal cycle: Death and destruction in Gaza (Haaretz)

Immediately after the occupation of the territories, Israeli political and intelligence officials began to debate the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Gaza Strip, on the assumption that it would remain under Israeli control: to El-Arish in Sinai, to Iraq, to Morocco…
The Gaza Strip was a thorn in the Zionist imaginaire. No one knew what to do with it…
Eshkol said: “I want them all to go, even if they go to the moon.” …
Occupation engenders resistance. Cruel occupation engenders fierce resistance, and terrorism as well…
Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured in shelling and bombardments since 2004 in Operation Rainbow (May), Operation Days of Penitence (September-October), Operation Summer Rains (June-November 2006) and Operation Hot Winter (February-March 2008). Those with a short memory, who live only the last war, remember at least the atrocity the Olmert government brought to a peak in Operation Cast Lead (winter of 2008-09). There was never any real link between the events and the “responses” of the Israel Defense Forces. They were always opportunities for rampages…
The crueler the oppression became, the more extreme the resistance that followed.

Evo Morales endorses BDS, calls Israel a terrorist state (BDS Movement) / Más de 500 personalidades del mundo condenan ofensiva de Israel (Jornada)
Yitzhak Laor: Eliminating the Palestinians as a political entity (Haaretz)

The [Israeli] government is intent on destroying every political entity in the West Bank and turning the Palestinians into a marginalized, fragmented people.

Holocaust survivors condemn Israel for ‘Gaza massacre,’ call for boycott (Haaretz)

In response to Elie Wiesel advertisement comparing Hamas to Nazis, 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants publish New York Times ad accusing Israel of ‘ongoing massacre of the Palestinian people.’ …
“We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: Behind the IDF shooting of a 10-year-old boy (Haaretz)

It’s not clear why an Israeli soldier shot Khalil Anati in the Al-Fawar refugee camp. What is clear is that the shooter didn’t stay around long enough to offer assistance, or to watch the boy die…
Khalil Anati was 10 years and eight months old and came from the Al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the West Bank, when he was killed. An Israeli soldier had opened the door of his armored jeep, picked up his rifle, aimed it at the upper body of the boy, who was running with his back to the soldier, and cut him down with one bullet, fired from a distance of a few dozen meters.

Stephanie Nebehay, Allyn Fisher-Ilan: Palestinian children tortured, used as shields by Israel: U.N. (Reuters)

Palestinian children in the Gaza and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said.
“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.

Palestinian teen: I was used as a human shield in Gaza (+972)
Gideon Levy: The difference between children / ישראל מתחבאת מאחורי דניאל (Haaretz)

After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares.
Then came our first child and Israel went into shock…
An iron wall of denial and inhumanness protects the Israelis from the shameful work of their hands in Gaza…
We must admit the truth: Palestinian children in Israel are considered like insects. This is a horrific statement, but there is no other way to describe the mood in Israel in the summer of 2014.

John Jackson: What if Hamas fired rockets at Britain? (+972)

When Israeli spokesmen defend the IDF’s actions in Gaza by asking what you would do if rockets rained down on your home, the example of Northern Ireland can serve as one response.

PFLP salutes the Black struggle in the US: The empire will fall from within (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine)

Comrade Khaled Barakat said in an interview with the PFLP media outlets that “Police brutality, oppression and murder against Black people in the U.S., and against Latinos, Arabs and Muslims, people of color and poor people, has never been merely ‘mistakes’ or ‘violations of individual rights’ but rather are part and parcel of an integral and systematic racism that reflects the nature of the political system in the U.S.”
“Every time a crime is committed against Black people, it is explained away as an ‘isolated incident’ but when you see the massive number of ‘isolated incidents’ the reality cannot be hidden – this is an ongoing policy that remains virulently racist and oppressive. The U.S. empire was built on the backs of Black slavery and the genocide of Black people – and upon settler colonialism and the genocide of indigenous people,” said Barakat. “The people of Ferguson are resisting, in a long tradition of Black resistance, and we support their legitimate resistance to racist oppression.”

Amid fierce debate, members of German think tank take a stand on Gaza (MondoWeiss) / Erklärung einiger RLS-Stipendiat_innen, Ehemaliger, Vertrauensdozent_innen und Mitarbeiter_innen der Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung zum Gaza-Krieg (Inamo)

Justin Raimondo: ISIS: Made in Washington, Riyadh – and Tel Aviv (Information Clearing House)

ISIS didn’t just arise out of the earth like some Islamist variation on the fabled Myrmidons: they needed money, weapons, logistics, propaganda facilities, and international connections to reach the relatively high level of organization and lethality they seem to have achieved in such a short period of time. Where did they get these assets?
None of this is any secret: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the rest of the oil-rich Gulf states have been backing them all the way. Prince Bandar al-Sultan, until recently the head of the Kingdom’s intelligence agency – and still the chief of its National Security Council – has been among their biggest backers. Qatar and the Gulf states have also been generous in their support for the Syrian jihadists who were too radical for the US to openly back. Although pressure from Washington – only recently exerted – has reportedly forced them to cut off the aid, ISIS is now an accomplished fact – and how can anyone say that support has entirely evaporated instead of merely going underground?

Volodymyr Ishchenko: Ukraine’s Fractures (New Left Review)

I wouldn’t claim that Ukraine is more of a democracy than the other countries—better to say it’s a more competitive authoritarian regime. The political system that emerged in Ukraine was from the outset more pluralistic than those of, say, Russia, Kazakhstan or Belarus. One of the main reasons for this was the country’s cultural diversity: there were very significant regional differences between the east and the west, and these were reflected in electoral outcomes from the 1990s onwards. Any candidate who won the presidential elections would not be seen as legitimate by almost half the population, who would immediately voice strong opposition to him. The strength of regional identities also tended to politicize socio-economic questions very quickly. This was one reason why the neoliberal reforms were not carried out as rapidly as in Russia, for example—the political forces behind them were unable to build up the same kind of momentum. The difference is also apparent in Ukraine’s constitutional system, which was much less presidential than those of the other post-Soviet states. In Russia, 1993 was clearly a crucial moment, when Yeltsin imposed his will on parliament by force, sending the army into Moscow. Nothing like this happened in Ukraine.

Noam Chomsky: How Many Minutes to Midnight? On the Nuclear Era and Armageddon (Asia-Pacific Journal) / 「午前0時まで、あと何分?」~核時代とアルマゲドン (原子力発電 原爆の子)

If some extraterrestrial species were compiling a history of homo sapiens, they might well break their calendar into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NEW, the nuclear weapons era. The latter era of course opened on August 6 1945, the first day of the countdown to what may be the inglorious end of this strange species, which attained the intelligence to discover effective means to destroy itself, but, so the evidence suggests, not the moral and intellectual capacity to control their worst instincts.

“His latest book, Masters of Mankind, will be published soon by Haymarket Books,” they say. Actually, the German translation came out in March already: Die Herren der Welt. Vienna: Promedia, 2014.

Mel Gurtov: Time for the U.S. to Engage North Korea (Asia-Pacific Journal)

Sticks and carrots won’t get North Korea to give up its nukes. But a willingness to negotiate a peace treaty and provide security guarantees might.

Jordan Sargent: Cop Pens Touching Op-Ed: Do Everything I Say and I Won’t Kill You (Gawker)

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.

Ukraine | Egypt | Colombia | Iraq | Israel/Palestine | USA

Avedis Hadjian: Back in the USSR (Monde diplomatique)

It has looked like civil war in Ukraine, yet most Ukrainians don’t want any such thing, as shown by the 25 May election results. And pro-Russian separatists in the east mostly want to return to their old Soviet life.

Tariq Ali: Diary (London Review of Books)

Conversations in Cairo are punctuated by dates: 11 February (Mubarak’s fall), 24 June (Morsi’s election), 30 June (Sisi’s coup), which takes a bit of getting used to…
During and after the uprising Mubarak’s name stood for amorality, cynicism, duplicity, corruption, greed and opportunism. A few months after Morsi’s triumph at the polls, the same adjectives were being used to describe his rule, and soon it was being said that he was worse than Mubarak – a grotesque overstatement. The reality is that the Muslim Brotherhood, its supreme guide and its elected president were visionless sectarians, incapable of fulfilling the central demand of the uprising: ‘an end to the regime’. Morsi had no desire to unite the country by full-blooded democratisation: his ambition was to be an Islamist Mubarak.

Wilhelm Langthaler: Legitimizing the Pharaoh (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Martin Chulov: Iran sends troops into Iraq to aid fight against Isis militants (Guardian)

Tehran hints at cooperation with US to aid Nouri al-Maliki as jihadist group threatens to take Baghdad … Iran has sent 2,000 advance troops to Iraq in the past 48 hours to help tackle a jihadist insurgency, a senior Iraqi official has told the Guardian.

Martin Chulov: How an arrest in Iraq revealed Isis’s $2bn jihadist network (Guardian)
Florian Rötzer: ISIL bringt die Geopolitik durcheinander (Telepolis)
Rainer Hermann: Die Rache des Kreuz-Königs (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
Rainer Hermann: Die Sunniten vereinen sich zum Aufstand gegen Bagdad (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Die Rache des „irakischen Widerstands“ (Anti-Imperialist Camp)
And the poodle yaps:
Patrick Wintour, Tracy McVeigh, Mark Townsend: Tony Blair: west must intervene in Iraq (Guardian)

Larry Jagan: Suu Kyi shifts pre-election tack in Myanmar (Asia Times)

After two years of delicate accommodation, Myanmars military backed government and the main pro-democracy opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) are on a collusion course ahead of general elections scheduled for next year. An NLD-led campaign launched last month to amend the 2008 constitution is openly challenging the militarys political power and testing political stability ahead of the pivotal polls.

Nauman Asghar: Rohingya abuses expose Myanmar insecurities (Asia Times)

Hundreds of Muslims have been killed and more than 100,000 forced to flee their homes. Eighty percent of the population of the country consists of Buddhists, and Ashin Wirathu, the monk leader of the violent “969” movement, has attempted to justify lynching of Muslims in the name of defending Buddhism against the encroaching influence of Islam.
Ashin Wirathu’s claim appears absurd if we consider that Muslims constitute only 5% of Myanmar’s population…
Rohingyas, largely to be found in the western Rakhine State, were full citizens of Myanmar until 1982 when the military rulers deprived them of their status of citizenship by enacting legislation and hence compounded their miseries. As a stateless community, the Rohingyas don’t have access to state services and they are also denied political representation.
The Rohingyas face discriminatory treatment at all levels of interaction with the state. The minority have been subjected to discriminatory population control measures and travel restrictions. The Rohingyas are also required by law to seek from authorities a permission certificate for marriage…
The recent transition to democracy in Myanmar has not eased the situation for Rohingyas and no political leader in Myanmar has condemned the Buddhist violence in unequivocal terms. Aung Sun Auu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, also keeps mum, as she does not want to spoil her chances of securing the presidency next year by alienating the majority group.

William Barnes: Activist, racial angst in Myanmar (Asia Times)

None of the interviewees claimed intimate knowledge of the private thoughts of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi or indeed of the still-powerful generals. They were confident, however, that in the minds of the elite, Islam was an unwanted and unbidden complication.
This might help to explain why the Nobel peace prize winning democracy heroine Suu Kyi has notably failed to embrace the notion of Muslim “victimhood” in her homeland. It also shines light on prominent pro-democracy activist and former political prisoner Ko Ko Gyi’s proclamation that the Rohingya should not be considered an ethnic nationality of Myanmar.

Tom Farrell: The axis of Buddhist extremism (Asia Times)

Separated by race, language and the vastness of the Bay of Bengal, there is a striking convergence in the rhetoric of Myanmar’s and Sri Lanka’s Buddhist fundamentalist groups. Both fizz with triumphalism, belligerence and a fierce persecution complex. …
Sri Lanka is emerging from decades of ruinous civil war; Myanmar from decades of sclerotic military rule. Already resented by the majority Buddhist population during each country’s colonial period, Muslims in both nations bore the brunt of government or insurgent-led excesses after independence.
In Myanmar, alone out of the nation’s 135 officially recognized ethnicities, the Rohingya Muslim minority were stripped of their citizenship by General Ne Win’s ruling junta. Military operations in 1978 and 1991 sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh.
In Sri Lanka, Tamil insurgents expelled 60,000 Muslims from the rebel mini-state they established in the country’s north after 1990.

Peter Beaumont: Palestinian parliamentary speaker arrested in search for kidnapped teens (Guardian)

Israeli troops have arrested the speaker of the Palestinian parliament and Hamas member Aziz Dweik during a wave of detentions linked to a massive manhunt for three kidnapped teenagers.
An Israeli army statement on Monday said more than 40 suspects in the West Bank, “including Hamas leadership and operatives”, had been arrested, bringing the total number of arrests in the search to at least 150.

Alain Gresh: What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is negotiable (Monde diplomatique)

The US, chief guarantor for the Israeli-Palestinian talks for decades, is so habitually and instinctually pro-Israel that it can’t understand that the Palestinians even have a viewpoint, let alone what it is.

Ayelet Waldman: The Shame of Shuhada Street (Atlantic)

Chris Hedges: American Socrates (TruthDig)

We live in a bleak moment in human history. And Chomsky begins from this reality. He quoted the late Ernst Mayr, a leading evolutionary biologist of the 20th century who argued that we probably will never encounter intelligent extraterrestrials because higher life forms render themselves extinct in a relatively short time.

Scott Horton: The Guantánamo “Suicides” (Harper’s Magazine, March 2010)
Scott Horton: Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaykh: The Guantánamo “Suicides” Revisited: Did CIA Hide Deaths of Tortured Prisoners at Secret Site? (Democracy Now)
Mark Denbeaux, Charles Church, Ryan K Gallagher, Adam Kirchner, Joshua Wirtshafter: Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta (Seton Hall Public Law Research Papers, 15 May 2014)
Christopher Brauchli: Compassionate Torture (CounterPunch)

On May 23, 2014 a federal court entered an order permitting the folks at Guantanamo to continue force-feeding Abu Wa’el Dhiab so that he won’t die. Mr. Dhiab, a Syrian national, was captured in Pakistan 12 years ago and has been at Guantanamo ever since. He has not been charged with any crime and was cleared for transfer five years ago. At first he was not released because the government worried about how he’d be treated in Syria and later because of the civil war taking place there. Mr. Dhiab does not want to be at Guantanamo. He would rather be dead. Accordingly he has engaged in a hunger strike.

Carl Gibson: Pepper Spray Cop’s Settlement Sets Dangerous Precedent (Reader Supported News)

Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis police pepper-sprayed a group of sitting protesters in 2011. Amidst an autumn of federally-coordinated, violent police suppression of the Occupy movement, the incident in Davis was clearly one of the most heinous cases. A group of students had linked arms, sat down, and refused to move when the police came to evict their encampment. Lt. John Pike then casually exhibited a red can of military-grade pepper spray, nonchalantly strolled past the protesters, and doused them in orange gas, which led to the hospitalization several of the students. International outrage ensued. “Pepper Spraying Cop” became a widely-shared meme, and Pike was originally put on paid leave and eventually fired. The students sued, and a $1 million settlement was split between all 21 of them. Pike was just awarded $38,058 in disability payments, after claiming he suffered “emotional and psychological damage” from his attack on UC Davis students.

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 | 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)

Iraq | Syria | Korea | Palestine

John sent this link:
James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq – video (Guardian)

A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to organise the Iraqi security services

Joshua Landis: The Free Syrian Army Doesn’t Exist (Syria Comment)
As’ad AbuKhalil: Aron Lund on Syrian opposition groups (Angry Arab)
Julian Borger, Nick Hopkins: West training Syrian rebels in Jordan (Guardian)
Peter Lee: North Korean nukes: A useful stage device (Asia Times)
Tania Branigan: North Korea’s flamboyant threats are not as wild as they seem (Guardian)

Tom Wright, Therese Saliba: The Corries’ Ten-Year Quest for Justice (CounterPunch)
Mazin Qumsiyeh: Rethinking South Africa (Countercurrents)

Ronnie Kasrils, South African minister once said about Palestine: “This is much worse than apartheid..Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had Jets attacking our townships; we never had sieges that lasted months after months. We never had tanks destroying houses.”

Gideon Levy: כבר אי אפשר להגיד: אנטישמיות / UNICEF isn’t anti-Semitic (Haaretz via DuckDuckGo and Google)

Russia | Iraq | Palestine/Israel | China/Africa

Lee Sustar, Boris Kagarlitsky: The Struggle Emerges in Russia (CounterPunch)

John told me about these articles, both on the front page of the Guardian, and both Galloway and Bolton say the withdrawal from Iraq is a huge defeat for the United states:
George Galloway: Last Post in Iraq: this is the death knell of the American empire (Guardian)
John Bolton: Be warned, America’s withdrawal from Iraq heralds a world of instability (Guardian)

לא לטייח חקירת הרג המפגין / In Israel, the life of a Palestinian is cheap (Ha’aretz)
Aeyal Gross: דין לערבים, ודין שונה ליהודים / Jewish rock-throwers are more equal (Ha’aretz)

Ruth and Herb sent this link (for those who can get YouTube):
Helen Farnum, Georg Friedrich Händel: Hallelujah Corporations (revised) (YouTube)

And if you can get YouTube, this debate on China and Africa is worth watching:
Beware of the dragon: Africa should not look to China (YouTube)

This debate took place at Cadogan Hall in London on 28th November 2011.
Speakers for the motion: George Ayittey, Ana Maria Gomes
Speakers against the motion: Deborah Brautigam, Stephen Chan
Chair: Lindsey Hilsum
We all know that the Chinese are the neo-colonialists of Africa. They’ve plundered the continent of its natural resources, tossing aside any concern for human rights and doing deals with some of the world’s most unsavoury regimes. The relentless pursuit of growth is China’s only spur.
But is this picture really fair? In Angola, for example, China’s low-interest loans have been tied to a scheme that has ensured that roads, schools and other infrastructure has been built. China has an impressive track record of lifting its own millions out of poverty and can do the same for Africa. And is the West’s record in Africa as glowing as we like to think? After decades of pouring aid into Africa, how much have we actually achieved in terms of reducing poverty, corruption and war? So which way should Africa look for salvation — to the West, to China, or perhaps to its own people? Come to the debate and decide for yourself.

Greece | USA | Syria | Iran | Palestine

Δελτίο Τύπου ΚΟΕ: Ο λαός είπε βροντερό «ΟΧΙ» στη νέα κατοχή (Κομμουνιστική Οργάνωση Ελλάδας)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Papandreou setzt alles auf eine Karte (Antiimperialistische Koordination)

Global Revolution (LiveStream)
First Official Release from Occupy Wall Street (OccupyWallStreet.org)
Michael Greenberg: In Zuccotti Park (New York Review of Books)
William Loren Katz: Challenging Fat Cat Capitalism: A Visit to Zuccotti Park (CounterPunch)
Christopher Ketcham: The Reign of the One Percenters: Income inequality and the death of culture in New York City (Orion)

New York, the [Fiscal Policy Institute] informs us, is now at the forefront of the maldistribution of wealth into the hands of the few that has been ongoing in America since 1980, which marked the beginning of a new Gilded Age. Out of the twenty-five largest cities, it is the most unequal city in the United States for income distribution. If it were a nation, it would come in as the fifteenth worst among 134 countries ranked by extremes of wealth and poverty—a banana republic without the death squads. It is the showcase for the top 1 percent of households, which in New York have an average annual income of $3.7 million. These top wealth recipients—let’s call them the One Percenters—took for themselves close to 44 percent of all income in New York during 2007 (the last year for which data is available). That’s a high bar for wealth concentration; it’s almost twice the record-high levels among the top 1 percent nationwide, who claimed 23.5 percent of all national income in 2007, a number not seen since the eve of the Great Depression. During the vaunted 2002–07 economic expansion—the housing-boom bubble that ended in our current calamity, this Great Recession—average income for the One Percenters in New York went up 119 percent. Meanwhile, the number of homeless in the city rose to an all-time high last year—higher even than during the Great Depression—with a record 113,000 men, women, and children, many of them comprising whole families, retreating night after night to municipal shelters. (…)
The real hourly median wage in New York between 1990 and 2007 fell by almost 9 percent. Young men and women aged twenty-five to thirty-four with a bachelor’s degree and a year-round job in New York saw their earnings drop 6 percent. Middle-income New Yorkers—defined broadly by the FPI as those drawing incomes between approximately $29,000 and $167,000—experienced a 19 percent decrease in earnings. Almost 11 percent of the population, about 900,000 people, live in what the federal government describes as “deep poverty,” which for a four-person family means an income of $10,500 (the average One Percenter household in New York makes about that same amount every day).

Glenn Greenwald: Immunity and Impunity in Elite America: How the Legal System Was Deep-Sixed and Occupy Wall Street Swept the Land (TomDispatch)

It is now clearly understood that, rather than apply the law equally to all, Wall Street tycoons have engaged in egregious criminality — acts which destroyed the economic security of millions of people around the world — without experiencing the slightest legal repercussions. Giant financial institutions were caught red-handed engaging in massive, systematic fraud to foreclose on people’s homes and the reaction of the political class, led by the Obama administration, was to shield them from meaningful consequences. Rather than submit on an equal basis to the rules, through an oligarchical, democracy-subverting control of the political process, they now control the process of writing those rules and how they are applied.

Micah Zenko: Syria No-Fly Zone: Realistic Objectives (Council on Foreign Relations)

According to United Nations estimates, well over 3,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in mid-March. Notably, none of the nonviolent protestors were killed or injured by airpower.
The escalating demands for an international no-fly zone (NFZ) over Syria is puzzling, since, as I pointed out in an earlier piece, it would do nothing to protect civilians who are dying in cities by soldiers on the ground, tanks, short-range artillery, and snipers.
However, recent statements from anti-regime groups have provided further insight into what they believe a NFZ could achieve in Syria. (…)
In summary, according to anti-regime activists, a NFZ over Syria would protect the armed opposition groups; provide international legitimacy for an armed uprising; encourage defections from regime security forces; and fulfill the international community’s responsibility, since Libyan anti-regime were extended a NFZ.

Ernest Khoury: Foreign Intervention: Debating the Taboo of the Syrian Opposition (al-Akhbar)
Franklin Lamb: Failing the Burden of Proof: Amnesty International’s Flawed Syrian Hospitals “Investigation” (CounterPunch)

Mark Weisbrot: Extremist and Dangerous Rhetoric: The Iranian Escalation (CounterPunch)

Amira Hass: Palestinians must say no to negotiations with Israel / על הרשות להימנע ממו”מ (Haaretz)
Barak Ravid: Israel to expedite settlement construction in response to Palestinian UNESCO membership / בתגובה לקבלת הרשות לאונסק”ו: ישראל תבנה 2,000 יחידות דיור בהתנחלויות (Haaretz)
Clive Hambige: Gaza, the World’s Largest Prison: From One Prison to Another (CounterPunch)
Natasha Mozgovaya: Israel is a strategic asset for U.S. national interests, according to new report / בכיר לשעבר בפנטגון: “אין פתרון קסם לבעיית הגרעין האיראני” (Haaretz)

USA | Libya | Iraq | Palestine | China | Greece

Tariq Ali: How do the 99% compare with mass protests of the past – and can they succeed? (Sunday Herald / tariqali.org)
Reader Supported News live coverage:
Occupy Wall Street, Occupy DC, Occupy America

Gareth Porter: US May Have Concealed True Aim of Iranian Plot: Was the Iranian Plot a Plan for Retaliation? (CounterPunch)

Samir Amin: Immediate reaction to the assassination of Gaddafi (Pambazuka News)

Gaddafi was murdered by the henchmen in the service US imperialism and its subaalterns in NATO. The ‘court’ that was promised to try Gaddafi never met. That would have upset the patrons of the imperialist system. The assassination was therefore expected, if not planned.

Obama disdains not only international law but the rule of law, like his mentor, the sinister Bush. Obama and his subaltern allies in NATO have no respect for the sovereignty of nations and states. But then, there are so many politicians and unpleasant heads of state in both the North and the South, enemies of each other; it is obvious now that their assassinations could be seen as the “normal” way to settle political affairs. State terrorism has reasserted itself.

Horace Campbell: Death of Gaddafi (Pambazuka News)
Andrei Netto, Ian Black, Luke Harding: Muammar Gaddafi’s ‘trophy’ body on show in Misrata meat store (Guardian)
Jo Adetunji: British firms urged to ‘pack suitcases’ in rush for Libya business (Guardian)

Ewen MacAskill: Iraq rejects US request to maintain bases after troop withdrawal (Guardian)

IRIN: More than 160 Palestinian children remain behind Israeli bars (Electronic Intifada)

Peter Lee: US plants a stake at China’s door (Asia Times)

Marshall Auerback: Destroying the Livelihoods of Thirteen Million People: The Myth of Greek Profligacy (CounterPunch)

Iraq “pullout” | Korea

Tom Kent: AP: ‘Combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is’ (PoyntnerOnline)

To begin with, combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is, even if they come from senior officials. The situation on the ground in Iraq is no different today than it has been for some months. Iraqi security forces are still fighting Sunni and al-Qaida insurgents. … As for U.S. involvement, it also goes too far to say that the U.S. part in the conflict in Iraq is over. … 50,000 American troops remain in country. Our own reporting on the ground confirms that some of these troops, especially some 4,500 special operations forces, continue to be directly engaged in military operations.

Glenn Greenwald: Associated Press refuses to use White House / NBC propaganda terms for Iraq (Salon)

Rüdiger Frank: Money in Socialist Economies: The Case of North Korea (Japan Focus)

There is no indication that the North Korean state wants to end economic exchange with the outside world. However, stage one and stage two of the currency reforms reveals the strong determination to return to the driver’s seat and to be in full control of the domestic economy as well as of foreign economic relations. The vision of the planners in Pyongyang is a domestic population that is supplied via state distribution and rationing, and foreign trade and investment that are channeled through the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Foreign Trade Bank, and the Foreign Investment Bank rather than via single ministries or even, beware, single enterprises.