Friday, August 31, 2007

Time to Take Charge, Before it is Too Late !

If the past as an indication of the future, then George Bush’s call for an international peace conference will totally fail. It will fail because the key and main sponsor; the US, is partner in the occupation and a party to the conflict. As such with a policy that has consistently and materially supported the continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the US is hardly a partial party that can move forward toward peace.

More troublesome for the US and the Palestinians is the fact that the issue of the continued and illegal Israeli military occupation is not an international issue but a key domestic issue. With the majority of the members of congress dependant on elections funding from powerful Israel and Jewish lobbies that makes peace almost impossible. Peace for Israel will mean an end to the powerful Jewish lobby and it means drying up of funding sources for large numbers of politicians that overstep and compete with each other in support of Israel and its continued occupation. Of course we need not forget the many active Christian Zionists who sees Israel continued occupation as a way for their salvation and their entry to the Kingdom of Heaven.

The US support for an aggressive and militaristic Israel preceded the 67 War. The US was very supportive of Israel’s pre-emptive strike and for over 40 years made sure through international diplomacy, military and financial support that the occupation including active financial and legal support for an expanding illegal settlements that saw almost half of the West Bank disappear to aggressive Jewish settlements. With facts like these it is very difficult to accept the US genuine desire to end the conflict and promote a peaceful settlement between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states. The US preferred choice is for normalization of relationship with Israel while keeping the status quo. In other word Peace For Peace.

On the other side, and if the past is an indication of the future, then the same leadership that have managed the Palestinian (failed liberation) for the past 40 years and who negotiated Oslo, Hebron and the Gaza access then the Palestinians under occupation and the millions in exiles are in very deep trouble indeed.

The present Palestinian leadership that negotiated Oslo is simply unfit, incompetent and unqualified and has no legitimacy to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. It is true that Mahmoud Abbas was elected president by those under occupation, but then under the PA Basic Laws, the president rule together with an elected legislative council, again, representing those under occupation. Since the Palestinian Legislative Council is defunct and non –operational then the president lacks the legitimacy to negotiate anything other than what he incompetently negotiated under Oslo. A government that is a security contractor for the continued Israeli occupation in exchange for money.

With the majority of Palestinians living in exiles, no one voted for Mahmoud Abbas, and no one voted for Fatah and no one voted for Hamas. Certainly no one voted for the PLO. The PLO is a self-perpetuating organization that never gained its legitimacy from the Palestinian people in direct vote or through elected representatives. Even if the PLO leadership try to claim legitimacy of representations, the majority of members of the Palestine National Council are dead, or incapacitated, certainly never elected by any one and should be impeached for failure to represent the people’s interest, not to mention the fact they did not meet for decades. They are representative in name only and only when it comes to collecting the paycheck.

With that kind of failed and non-existing institutions, the PLO is run for the most part by a have been, a group of parasites who have made the cause a career and a very lucrative source of income for themselves and their families. They succeeded in milking the cause to the last drop. Of course no one dare mention the tens of billions stolen by the late Yasser Arafat and his cronies and circle of families and friends. There was never an accounting of the many failures of the PLO and PA leadership.

Before it is too late and before the same team that negotiated Oslo negotiate legitimized and permanent Israeli Occupation, there is an urgent need for the Palestinians in the Diaspora to get together and organize, making sure the guys in Ramallah do not give away their rights permanently and legitimatize the Israeli occupation in exchange for lucrative security contract with Israel. Not to mention giving away the rights of the exiles.

Yes, the majority of Palestinians are for a genuine peace with Israel that takes into account their forced exiles and deprivations of their rights and properties not to mention the endless human suffering for the last 60 years. One thing for sure, the present Palestinian leadership is simply unqualified, incompetent and too corrupt and lacks any legitimacy to negotiate for those in exiles, and those under occupation. Time for the people to rally around the Palestine Agency the organization that will have a seat at the table. Time to take charge before it is too late.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yes, the Iraqis, leadership and people lost their sense of humanity!

I have to agree with the Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Malki when he got upset and chided members of congress especially Senator Hillary Clinton when they spoke of Iraq as ‘domain” or farm that belongs to the US. That is not new. Too many US lawmakers, those in the administration and in “think tanks” do think of the world as a “domain” a farm, a hacienda, and a ranch.

However Mr. Al-Malki’s tenure as leader in Iraq has not been very promising with the death toll approaching record high and with his government paralyzed by self-inflicting wounds from sectarian violence. Never did I ever expect to see Iraq so deep in hate and self hate like I see it now.

While the visit of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner may signal an opening to Iraq, his assessments is not far from the truth. Not so sure of what I read in the press in statements attributed to Mr. Kouchner when he said that Iraqis have been dying in the thousands for hundreds if not thousands of years, and that Iraqis are used to killing each other throughout history.

This story if true reminds me of a documentary I saw long time ago about the Vietnam War, when General William Westmoreland was our troop commander in Vietnam. As I recall from the interview, General Westmoreland said that the Vietnamese do not value human life and they can die by the thousands and no one care. Of course at the time, the US military just first introduced the “body count” where on the evening news the commanders from Vietnam announces the number of Viet Cong dead. Of course the daily numbers where in the hundreds if not the thousands. As we know, the US in Vietnam for the wrong reasons, like in Iraq has to scramble out and run with Embassy staff and Vietnamese allies dying to catch the last chopper out of Saigon.

Of course as a member of the US Army at the time, I was offended by the words of General Westmoreland when he implied that the Vietnamese do not value human lives. However this time, I did not feel offended by the attributed statement of Bernard Kouchner about the Iraqis used to dying by the thousands and no one care.

One has to ask the question, why so many dead, now and when Saddam ruled Iraq? One has to wonder what is wrong with the Iraqis, Sunnis and Muslims? Why do the leadership accept that so many die on a daily basis? It is simply sickening and it indicates physiological and mental misfits among Iraqi leaders for failing to stop the mayhem and sectarian killings. There is something wrong not only with the leadership but with the very people and persons who carry out the daily killings of so many innocent people. It is so difficult to understand let alone accept that such things can take place in Iraq, among people who call themselves Muslims. What an insult to Islam and Muslims?

How can any one accept that suicide bombers on a daily basis kill 50, or 100 or 200 or 400 hundred innocent people? Or that 40 or 75 Iraqis found with their throats slashed and heads cut? Or that 40 students found dead with bullet wounds to the back of the head? Yes there is something fundamentally wrong with the Iraqis, all of the Iraqis. Somehow they have lost their sense of humanity and they have lost it not now but long time ago. They were silent when Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds. And they were silent when Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of Shiites and were silent when Saddam and his Ba’athist party killed so many people.

The surprising thing was the absence of so many of the Sunnis and Shiites organizations that are the source of and the promoters of the mayhem and sectarian killings now. All where silent when Saddam was killing the “others” by the thousands and hundreds of thousands and now they are silent when the “others” are killed on a daily basis.

Yes, the Iraqi leadership both Sunnis and Shiites is a disgrace to the human race and are a disgrace to Muslims and to Arabs. The leadership and the people have no sense of shame and have no sense of humanity. Never in my life did I expect to admit that, yes, there are people or nations that do not give a damn about human lives, that are willing to accept such large deaths of their own citizens as normal. One has to see the Iraqi leadership on television and press conferences talking as is thousands are not dying because of their failures every day. What a shame?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Did David Walsh Prompts Mahmoud Abbas to Shoots and Kills his own People to Prove he in Charge?

It is hard to believe that a senior officer of the US State Department tells Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to shoot and kill his own people and tells him the more he kills the better to show he is in charge. How true?

On a lazy Sunday afternoon in Tangier, I sat down and was reading the print version of Al-Quds Alarabi, the Arabic paper published in London ( not sure who provide financial support for the paper and its publisher since there are no advertising). In any case, Al-Quds as a rule devote almost one full page to the Hebrew/Israeli press on a daily basis, which I think is a great idea, to give Arab readers the chance to see what is in the Israel press. I do read Haaretz on a daily basis but not Maariv.

The article written by Tal Schneider of Maariv (28/08/2007) states how the US policies in the Middle East contributed to the many failures and the escalating violence. The article by Ms. Schneider quotes on of the senior writers of the Washington Post who travels frequently with Secretary Condoleezza Rice. Glenn Kessler is writing a book due in September titled "Confident; The Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy".

In the Schneider article, and quoting from Kessler book, the US expressing so much exasperation with the weak leadership of Mohmoud Abbas and shortly after alleged assassination plot against Abbas, quotes David Walsh , The Assistant Secretary, telling Mahmoud Abbas roughly the following, my own translation from Arabic to English " One time when the Palestinians tried to assassinate Abu-Mazen, David Walsh, head of the Middle East at the State Department contacted him ( Abu-Mazen) and asked him to make immediate move to prove to the Palestinians his leadership and your task is to open fire at them, and the more killed, the better, let all of them go to hell".

The phone call and the demand from David Walsh to Mahmoud Abbas to fire at and kill Palestinians if true is a serious offense by a senior official at the State Department, perhaps in violations of the US laws advocating murder, and of course an insult to Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian Authority President. And its shows that Mahmoud Abbas, no matter what he tried to do get his instructions from Washington, and of course if instructions come from Washington, for sure they were coming from Tel-Aviv.

I am surprise that none of the Arab or the US media picked up this and raised question about a senior US officer telling a foreign leader to shoot and kill his own people and the more the better and" they all can go to hell".

Perhaps an investigation into this claim is warranted when a US senior official who supposedly engaged in peace discussions advocate and order one of the parties to open fire on his own people. One can understand if the instructions is coming from the US to Israel to open fire and kill Palestinians, but for the instructions to come from Washington to Mahmoud Abbas to open fire on his own people and the more he kills the better is a serious issue. Now one can understand why the US is funding and arming Mahmoud Abbas own militias. An explanation is needed from both the US and from Mahmoud Abbas and his team in Ramallah. Perhaps now we know why the US was so keen on giving Abbas $80 millions to arm and train his own militia?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Greedy and Crooked American Businessmen Recite Pledge of Allegiance on their Way to Rob and Fleece the US Treasury.

While reading the online addition of today’s Washington Post, an article written by the Post staff writer Renae Merle caught my eye. The headlines read “ Defense Contractor Was Paid $1 Million to Ship 2 Washers”. Reading further, I was able to find that the South Carolina defense contractor (no doubt a blue blooded Republican) C &D Distributors was paid, and get this, the government paid 112 fraudulently invoices worth some $20 millions to this crooked contractor.

The article and I quote” among the invoices was 2004 order for a single $ 8.75 elbow pipe was shipped for $445,640, according to documents. Also last year, a $10.99 machine thread plug was shipped for $492,096. Last year, six machine screws worth a total of $ 59.94 were shipped at a cost of $ 403,436”.

The story took me back to last year when I was surfing the net and looked up audits of contracts awarded by the Republican run Department of Defense. And to my surprise I read with much astonishment how the government, a Republican lead government awarded a defense contractor with close relations to non other than our Mr. Cheney the sum of $ 26.5 millions to deliver $ 87,000 worth of jet fuel.

Reading further, I was able to read that DOD paid defense contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root almost all of the $221 millions, though the Defense Contract Audit Agency questioned these payments. It is also interesting to note that our Republican lead government awarded KBR more than $2.5 Billions of contracts despite lack of documentations.

It seems this Republican administration and its cronies in Congress like to steal from the poor and give to the rich by awarding companies run by crooks hundreds of millions of dollars of contract some without the benefits of open biddings. KBR was awarded get this, $22.5 Billions of US Military contracts on non-competitive basis. Something must be wrong with this Republican administration. How could any one vote Republican?

Congressman Waxman announced in a report delivered to Congress that 19 Katrina contracts worth a collective sum of $ 8.75 Billions “ experienced significant overcharges, wasteful spending and mismanagement”.

Acting Inspector General of Homeland Security, Richard Skinner testifies before Congress in May 2005 and admits that fraud in contacts awarded to contractors for the Katrina recovery could top $2 Billions. I also read of a bankrupt NC company whose owner was forced to declare bankruptcy because of fraud and cheating was awarded a contract worth over $250 millions for Katrina of course without bidding.

It seems the Cheney-Bush administrations not only encourage but nurture fraud and crooked business and does not mind when their Republican business friends raid the treasury robbing and stealing the public, and of course as long as they support George Bush war on terror and by his lines we are winning the war.

Never in the history of the US has been an administration with so many greedy and crooked businessmen as friends and financial contributors. Of course most if not all are blue-blooded Republicans who sing the national anthem every morning and who pledge the allegiance to the flag on their way to rob and fleece our national treasury.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Perhaps it is time to bring criminal and civil charges against the PLO, USA, Syria and the Lebanese Forces for the massacres in Lebanon

As was expected, the Palestinian leadership sitting in Ramallah and around the world did not make a mention of or remembers the massacre of some 5,000 Palestinians civilians massacred in Tel-Zaatar on August 12, 1976. A massacre committed by the Lebanese Maronite militia, the Phalanges, Etien Saqr (Guardian of the Cedar) a coalition backed and actively supported by non other than Hafiz Al-Assad and his Ba’athist Party.

The fall of Tel-Zaatar came about after more than 100 days of siege laid by the Maronite militias and of course with very active support from the Syrian Army. More than 1,500 civilians were killed during one day. The Syrian regime set the stage for what to come later in Sabra and Shatilla this time, it is the Israelis who provided the active support and participation in the massacre that took place during 15-18 September 1982.

The sad thing about it, the fact very few people within the illustrious PLO and Fatah ever talk about Tal-Zaatar and the active Syrian role in such massacre and as expected Hamas leadership, would never dare mention Tel-Zaatar lest it anger its sponsors sitting in Damascus. As Arafat and his PLO left Beirut, and to save their behinds, never looked back at the hundreds of thousands left behind, let alone the thousands massacred under written guarantees from the US government.

While the massacre at Tel-Zaatar was a Syrian sponsored enterprise, the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla where some 3,000 were massacred was an Israeli sponsored enterprise.

According to news report, the planning for such a massacre took place at noon on Thursday, September 16, at the Israeli Command Post between Israeli Major General Amir Drori (later awarded a scholarship from Harvard toward his PhD) the commander of North Command, Fady Frem, the Lebanese Forces Chief of Staff, Elias Hobieka, the Lebanese Forces Intelligence Chief (later elected as member of the Lebanese Parliament and in 1990 was appointed by Syria as a minister and member of the Lebanese cabinet).

The day before, on September 15th the Israeli Occupation Forces secured the camps of Sabra and Shatilla to facilitate the massacre by sealing and controlling the entrances and exists to the camps and providing transportation to the would be killers and murderers. Not only that but the Israeli Occupation Forces making sure the massacre continue on during all hours provided night flares to facilitate the continued killings.

For 3 days the Lebanese Christian Forces had a field day, using guns, knives and hatchets slitting throats, axing bodies, shooting and raping, while the Israeli Occupation Forces was monitoring all the communication among the killers and making sure the massacre was in full view of members of its forces. The report of the massacre was sent to Tel-Aviv and was seen by at least 20 senior staff member. Not only that but the Israeli Chief Staff aware of what was going on, concluded the “operation” should continue.

The news of the massacre and the active support of the Israeli Occupation Forces shocked the Israeli and on September 26, more than 400,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel-Aviv holding the largest ever demonstration to take place in Tel-Aviv.

To control the damage done to the reputation of its army, the Israeli cabinet on September 28th established a Commission of Inquiry headed by Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Kahan.

The Commission finding concluded that the Israeli Army bears indirect responsibility while the well known war criminal Ariel Sharon “bears personal responsibility” and recommended the dismissal of the Director of Military Intelligence Yehoshua Saguy, the demotion of the Division Commander Amos Yaron for at least 3 years.

As it happens, Israel voters and with strong support from the US Jewish community, Ariel Sharon, the well known war criminal was awarded for his role in Sabra and Shatilla and was voted in as prime minister adding to the list of terrorists and war criminals who became prime ministers in Israel. Some Israeli and Jewish apologist went further by calling those who complained about Israel’s role in the massacre as “blood libel” and the Princeton historian Bernard Lewis complained the world media gave too much attention to the massacre and making too much fuss over such a killing. It seems that more than 400,000 Israeli Jews did not agree with the views of the Princeton professor. Surprisingly I did not come across statement made by Allan Dershowitz the Harvard professor.

While Israel at least took the measure to form a Commission of Inquiry and did make a serious attempt at investigating the massacre, while making sure that Israel is not held directly liable for such massacre, not Syria, not Lebanon and certainly not the PLO ever organized a similar commission of inquiry and of course for obvious reasons. All do not have the courage or the backbone to take such a step. In fact Syria awarded the number one killer, the commander of the Christian Forces with the position of a minister, while the Lebanese awarded such a killer and a murderer a seat in parliament.

It is so outrageous and so shameful of Arabs and Muslims that none of the massacres committed within the Arab and Muslim world ever earned the right of an investigation. The massacre of over 25,000 Syrian in Hama did not even earn a mention in the Arab media. The massacre of tens of thousands of Kurds by Saddam Hussein did not earn a mention in the Arab press; the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiite by Saddam and his Ba’athist Party did not earn a mention in Arab media. The killing and murder of over 400,000 in Darfur was totally ignored by the Arab press until such time the world media took up the case and exposed such genocide. Not to mention the more than 2 million killed in South Sudan, and the hundreds of thousands killed by the Talibans, all where totally ignored by the Arab press and as expected by Arab and Muslim governments

More troublesome is the total silence of the Palestinian leadership from the late Yaser Arafat to the present Mahmoud Abbas who until today never bothered to form an inquiry into both massacres. Even Palestinians NGO’s never bothered to organize and independent investigations, perhaps fearing they may lose some funding from the US or the European countries.

Surprisingly, the UN General Assembly on December 16, 1982 declared the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla as an act of genocide. As expected All Western Democracies used to committing such massacres abstained.

The US and as expected when it comes to Israel could never honor any of its commitments, even written ones, such as the one it gave in writing to non other than Yaser Arafat. The US guarantee Israel will not enter West Beirut and make sure that no harms will come to Muslim habitants. We know the value of such written commitment, and the fact remains when it comes to Israel; the US has no sense of honor toward its own citizens and sailors let alone toward others like the Palestinians. One has only to remember that the US gave on a quick base over one million cluster bomb so that Israel can drop them over innocent civilians in Lebanon. Perhaps it is time to bring charges against the PLO, Lebanese Phalange,the US, Israel and Syria for liability in the case of the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

There is nothing wrong if millions where to convert away from Islam.

Couple of weeks ago, I read in the Arab press the story of the young Egyptian couple that converted from Islam to Christianity few years and hid this fact from family and friend and government, afraid of retribution.

I also read couple of days ago in the Arab press a story of a family with couple of children, again Egyptian, who converted to Christianity and wanted to have their children registered by the Coptic Church as Christian and the Coptic Church refused.

Of course and it seem more stories coming out of Egypt. We all recall the riots with several dead that broke out in Egypt between Muslims and Coptic Christian when the wife of a Coptic priest converted to Islam and literally all hell broke lose in Egypt.

Surprisingly and with much pleasure I read in the Asharq Alwsat “ Book Forum” Issue 10452 dated Wednesday 11/07/2007 a review of a book titled “ No Use of Force in Religion” in Arabic “ La Ikraha fe Deen” which means that people are free to join or leave Islam as they wish and at will. The book is authored by an Iraqi scholar, Dr. Taha Jabir Al-Alwani who I happened to know and listen to many of his lectures at Al-Hewar Center in Vienna, VA.

Dr. Taha is not only an Islamic scholar, but also a very bright and enlightened one at that, though he is a graduate of Al-Azhar University. The book review summaries Dr. Taha scholarly views that in Islam there is no verse in the Holy Quran that calls for a worldly punishment of those who convert away from Islam and that their punishment is in the hereinafter and not by man or state but by Allah. In fact Dr. Taha reference some 400 verses in the Holy Quran that emphasis the rights of free will to chose Islam does not allow for punishment for convert and that historically punishment has been more political rather than for religious reasons.

The book review mention a story in Iraq, where executions where on large scales many years back and not only today, where a Ba’athist revolutionary courts ordered the execution of over 5,000 Iraqi Communists and of course the reason was “redda” or convert away from Islam. It is interesting that the Ba’athist courts sought a “fatwa” from both Shiite and Sunni Clerics, and as expected in Iraq both gave the right fatwa to go ahead with the execution. Sound like today where Muslim clerics give the order for large-scale murder and execution by suicide bombers.

The execution mission was referred to General Alrawi who also happens to be a friend of Dr. Taha and was not so convinced of such a wholesale execution. General Alrawi raised the issue with Dr. Taha who explained that such an order based on “Redda” was political and not religious and as such it is not valid in Islam. The execution was cancelled.

Dr. Taha goes on to explain that most if not all cases of executions that are based on “Redda” or converting away from Islam were political and has nothing to do with religion and has no legal basis within the Holy Quran. Dr. Taha explain further that the “Redda” Wars in the early days of Islam and soon after the death of the Prophet Mohamed (s) where political and not religious in nature.

With that, one has to wonder why the big issue and why the big fuss over someone in Afghanistan or Pakistan or any one for that matter in Egypt or Iran if they want to convert away from Islam and become Christian or Jews. I see nothing wrong with it. In fact Islam can stand to lose not only dozen but millions and it will be much better off if the likes of Talibans or millions of radical Muslims in Pakistan or the Al-Qaeda where to convert away from Islam.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

While our nation infastructure falls apart

On August 2, 2007 a major bridge on the Mississippi River collapsed near Minneapolis, killing scores of people and disrupting major interstate highway. The collapsed bridge is but one of the many major bridges that collapsed in the US in the last few years.

Added to the Minneapolis bridge are East Chicago Bridge that collapsed in 1982, the Sunshine Skyway in 1980, Minnis River Bridge in 1983, Silver Bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio in 1967, Webber Falls bridge spanning the Arkansas River in 2002, a bridge, part of the New York Thruway collapsed near the city of Amsterdam, NY, of course not to mention the levee breakdown in the City of New Orleans destroying the entire city and causing hundreds of thousands to flee the city.

According to Ron Schera of the Christian Science Monitor at least one fourth of the 577,000 bridges nationwide are deemed deficient. Such conclusion fits very well with the conclusion of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave the nation bridges a D mark, with some 160,000 bridges rated deficient or obsolete. Yet George Bush cuts $90 billions from the nation highway budget and yet finds enough money to fund the War on Iraq and give Israel $ 30 billions in weapons and billions of additional dollars to build its infrastructure.

While our nation infrastructure is falling apart from Manhattan to San Francisco, we as a nation find $500 billions to fund the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and of course find hundred of billions of dollars to spend on a nationwide industry called homeland security and terrorism. Of course money given to consulting firms and terrorist experts to tell us that we are in grave danger from the Talibans and Al-Qaeda. Yet we do not have enough money to reinvest in our century old infrastructure.

One only need to look at New York City with its collapsing infrastructure as we seen last week when a 100 year old steam pipe exploded causing a large sinkhole enough to take with it several trucks and cars.

Not only our bridges are falling apart, but the nation rails system, the nation schools and parks. Every thing is falling apart and our illustrious leaders in Washington do not give a damn about this nation and its infrastructure, yet find hundreds of billions to waste on a war that was designed in the first place to protect Israel and has nothing to do with our nation security or insecurity.

One has to question the value and the benefits of hundreds of billions spent on fighting terrorism within the United States and see if our nation and our people are more secure or less secure or see if we are getting tangible benefits from the billions given away to consulting firms and terrorism expert.

One has to see the kind of garbage these national security and terror expert firms sells our Department of Homeland Security. Someone was able to sell the government on the idea of spending several million dollars on a mobile “sniffing units” deployed in neighborhood with Muslims and Arabs to see if the smell or the steam of cooking Koskos, Mansaf, Shaworma or Tagin are a danger to our national security.