January 27th, 2010

To not forget

Today, after 112 hours, the reading of 102.000 names of people who were transported through the Nazi deportation camp Westerbork in my country and then onwards by cattle train to the extermination camps in Poland came to an end with the last name on the memorial, Heinrich Zysmanowicz.

The youngest reader was 11, the oldest 80. A few by telephone from the US and Israël.

Let us not ever forget the evil that can be created and nourished by hatred. Let us not forget what administrations can do if they know too much (is that why they are called “administrations”?); the round up of Jews in WWII was ultra efficient in my country because of the wonderfully complete and precise record keeping.

February 10th, 2009

Obama ducks question from Helen Thomas – THE ANSWER IS ISRAEL!

There’s a reason why “Bush the Lesser” refused to take questions from White House correspondent Helen Thomas – she asks REAL questions. So at last nights press conference President Obama ducked one of Helen’s two questions. While I’m thrilled he called on her (did he really have any choice – I thought she’d be first in line?) he didn’t answer her question and that to me was very disappointing – who is it, on the Israeli right President Obama is protecting? Our “Middle East” foreign policy must be based on pragmatism, but President Obama is unable, or unwilling to speak the truth.

Obama: All right. Helen. This is my inaugural moment here. (Laughter.) I’m really excited.

Helen Thomas:…. And also, do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?


Obama: With respect to nuclear weapons, you know, I don’t want to speculate. What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger.

And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally.

I think that it’s important for the United States, in concert with Russia, to lead the way on this. And you know, I’ve mentioned this in conversations with the Russian president, Mr. Medvedev, to let him know that it is important for us to restart the conversation, about how we can start reducing our nuclear arsenals in an effective way, so that —

[CK: at this point Obama cuts Helen off and moves on to another reporter]

Who Mr. President, who has nuclear weapons in the “Middle East?” Come now – I hope you know the answer. :(

January 22nd, 2009

Obama’s first major blunder and he’s only been in office for how long?

Obama wants to appoint George Mitchel a long time Israeli apologist as Middle East envoy. Unless Mitchell has had some sort of religious (and foreign policy) epiphany since he last dealt with issues in the Middle East – we are in a heap of hurt. So it’s business as usual and nothing will be solved, but the U.S. Zionist lobby and my former neighbors in Brooklyn will be happy. Of course I can hope that Mitchel’s experience in Northern Ireland has changed his world view, but if I were betting in Vegas I’d bet against those odds. Too bad for us and the world.

I hope I am wrong!

Just to refresh your memory:

“In October 2000, when 14 out of 15 members of the UN Security Council voted to condemn Israel’s excessive force against civilians, it was the US alone that abstained. Then-US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke threatened to veto any further resolution. The Israeli government rejected any fact-finding commission that might be authorized by the UN, insisting it would be nothing but a “kangaroo court,” and instead demanded an investigation led by the US. Shortly thereafter, the parties agreed to accept a fact-finding commission led by former US Senator George Mitchell, not under UN auspices.”

from: http://www.fromoccupiedpalestine.org/node/222

May 28th, 2008

The cluster bombs re-re-revisited

In Dublin Ireland, negotiations are proceeding about the ban on cluster bombs. My country’s administration is partnering with the United Kingdom, France and Germany on this subject. It cried loudly for a ban, but oh erm, wanted to keep the 9 bomblet M261 rocket grenade for the Apache attack helicopter. That one will have to go too. That is pretty good news huh? But wait, there is a little spin here eh? Foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen:

“In his opinion the treaty text in all reality means a ban on all existing and known [cluster] ammunition, but he doesn’t rule out new cluster ammunition will be developed that will be compatible with the treaty (emphasis added).

Verhagen also assumes it will remain possible to co-operate with allies that have not signed the treaty, such as the United States.

Hey, pst, can your guys hang one of those fancy thingies under my wing if we go in there together?

Earlier on the nest: US is investigating Cluster Bombs “fair use” in Lebanon, The cluster bombs revisited, The cluster bombs re-revisted.

By the way: Today we also decided to buy 2 JSF test aircraft as a pre-ample to buy 50+ to replace the aging F-16. The stealthy JSF will be useless in peace-keeping missions a la Afghanistan and it heavy reliance on stealth technology will be obsoleted by improved rada technology way before we get the real thing. What a waste.

December 24th, 2007

The cluster bombs re-revisited

The Israeli army handed over a report to the military prosecutor stating it’s use of cluster bombs in Southern Lebanon in 2006 was not violating international rules. Therefore, that prosecutor decided last Monday to not press charge against the commanders responsible. The conclusion sharply contradicts those of the UN, which stated that cluster bombs were used far too casually and was not used exclusively against military targets. If it weren’t so serious it was almost good enough a joke for hysterical laughing. The bombs were “dropped on mostly inhabited terrain” and “a military necessity”. Sure, let’s drop some cluster bombs in empty dessert, that will teach those terrorists a lesson.

Facts: The offensive against the Hezbollah took 34 days. Almost 1200 Lebanese were killed, mostly civilians. 157 Israeli were killed, mostly military. After the offensive, over 30 people (usually children, but I have no figures for this specific case) were killed by littered cluster ammunition.

Earlier on the nest: US is investigating Cluster Bombs “fair use” in Lebanon, The cluster bombs revisited

September 7th, 2006

The countries of the world

Today, three people independantly started talking to me about the moon, two on another continent. I must confess, it’s a very clear night here and it’s pretty stunning. The nice thing about the moon’s phase is, it’s (virtually) the same all over the world, other than i.e. the position of the Sun. Me day, you night. Which seems to be a perfect excuse to post this tube video. We’re all connected.

August 25th, 2006

US is investigating Cluster Bombs “fair use” in Lebanon

As more and more UN staff is pouring into Southern Lebanon, it becomes evident what’s really going on there. In almost every village the place is littered with cluster bombs payloads. Some look like ventilator blades, others just tiny cylinders, about 1 by 2 inch. The latter are supposed to go through 3 inch steel armor. Nice stuff.

Back in the late 70′s, early 80′s, cluster bombs were supplied by the US to Israel, under certain “rules” on how to use them. One rule is they cannot be used against civilian targets. Stop reading here and think for a second will you? OK, thanks.

So, not only were complete villages covered with cluster bombs (“of course, all these villages housed terrorist Hezbollah fighters”), but the quality of the shit is obviously so bad, the place is littered with unexploded devices. And guess who is going to pick picking this stuff up, with population returning in the area? Right, the children. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to think about how the youngsters that loose friends, brothers, sisters like this will feel about it, and how willing they are to face up “the enemy”. Right, with hatred.
Read-see Seymour Hersh (New Yorker) on how Israel and the US pre-planned this war way before the two soldiers were captured. The idea was to kill Hezbollah (I don’t like Hezbollah, but they WERE elected by the people), while saying to Iran: “hey, watch out with your nuke toying”. Condi heavily involved, now on a peace mission there. Ehhh?? Anyway, seems that backfired a bit.
Now, the US, in an attempt to counter the the long established opinion that the US will back the Israeli government whatever they do, is investigating if the use of cluster bombs is in line with the agreement mentioned before. Complicating is the fact that the Israeli army has both US made as well as home brew cluster bombs in their arsenal. Anyone interested in making bets on the outcome?

ps: the fact that I am writing this ps is crazy enough in itself, but I would like to state I have nothing against Israel, Israeli’s, Jews and for that matter Arabs, Muslims, yes, Christians, fill in anything. I simply don’t care too much for lying stupid trigger happy governments, especialy as they, by definition, hold the right to use violence exclusively, which imho requires some intelligence and prudence.

Update: Jan Egeland (UN) has called Israel’s use of cluster bombs “Entirely immoral”. According to the news here (my translation back into English) he said “What is shocking and in my opinion entirely immoral is the fact that 90% of the attacks with cluster bombs were carried out in the last 72 hours of the conflict when it was certain there would be a resolution”. So far, 13 people have been killed and 46 wounded by the delayed explosions of cluster bomb “bomblets”.

August 21st, 2006

BBC News: Prescott denies calling Bush ‘crap’.

- from your non-domestic reporter -

Ben Poole is a blogger in my (IT) profession, but now and then he calls a private statement. He pointed to this item on BBC News.

“Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has denied saying the Bush administration had been “crap” on the Middle East road map – the plan for peace in the region.”

FYI, deputy prime minister is a sort of Dick Cheney for the United Kingdom. John has been given “the keys” while Tony Blair has been enjoying his vacation. Except for the denial, John has my kudos, as the total lack of Washinton diplomacy has made me very pessimistic and it seems the bad guys in the middle east are more united than ever and only a little incident is needed to set the world on fire (tension in: Afghanistan [taliban], Iran [nuke toys], Lebbanon [new tork times: US-Israeli pre planned war waiting on a soldier kidnapping], Iraq [yeah], Saudi Arabia [all our oil coming from this suppresscracy].

August 2nd, 2006

Credit when due (must read): CJR Daily: Lawrence Pintak, “Open Season on Journalists in the Middle East.”

A couple of days back I mentioned journalist Layal Najib who was killed recently in Lebanon. Lawrence Pintak wrote about Journalists and the “Middle East” on CJR Daily yesterday. I think it’s worth your time to read his piece: “Open Season on Journalists in the Middle East.”

July 27th, 2006

Are attacks on journalists increasing?

najb.jb It would seem that attacks on journalists are increasing. I was looking at a UNESCO site for information about the preservation of cultural artifacts and noticed a UNESCO press release condeming the recent killings of journalists in The Philippines and other regions. So where is our press (U.S.A. & Alaska) – they seem to have missed the story?

Hey girls and guys in the “mainstream press” why don’t you try talking your editors into a story about Layal Najib? The Committee to Protect Journalists reported on July 24, 2006:

“Layal Najib, 23, a freelance photographer for the Lebanese magazine Al-Jaras and Agence France-Presse, became the first journalist to be killed since Israel began attacks on Lebanon in response to a cross-border raid by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Najib was in a taxi yesterday trying to meet up with a convoy of villagers fleeing the Israeli bombardment of south Lebanon when she was hit by shrapnel from a missile on the road between the villages of Sadiqeen and Qana, local media reported. She died at the scene.”