Time Is Ripe For A Paradigm Shift

Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon's Blog

It is slightly embarrassing for me to admit that sometime Zionists are actually well ahead of our favorite intellectuals in understanding the depth of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is not that they are more clever, they are just free to explore the conflict without being subject to the tyranny of ‘political correctness’. Also being proud nationalist Jews, they do not need the approval of the Jewish left thought police.

I have recently come across a short Haaretz article by Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua*.

Yehoshua is a proud Zionist. He believes in the right of his people to dwell on Palestinian land. He is also convinced that the Jewish state is the true meaning of contemporary Jewish life. I guess that Yehoshua loves himself almost as much as I despise everything he stands for and yet, I have to confess, he seems to grasp the depth of the Israeli Palestinian conflict’s parameters slightly better than most solidarity activists I can think of.

In his Haaretz article, Yehoshua stressed that Zionism was “something original and one of its kind in human history - a people arrived at the homeland of another people, attempting to replace [their] old identity with a new/old identity”. Yehoshua also counters the faulty colonial paradigm and practically repeats my own theses almost word by word. “There was also no (Zionist) attempt to impose a colonial regime, since the Jews had no (mother) state that could have sent them to perform a colonial conquests like in the case of England or France.”

Yehoshua, is certainly correct here, as much as some amongst us are [inclined] to argue that Zionism is a ‘colonial project’ and [that] Israel is a ‘settler State’, such a position has no ground and cannot be supported factually or historically.[1] The Colonial paradigm is simply a fantasy that is clumsily imposed on our discourse in a desperate attempt to make the Israeli/Palestinian conflict meaningful within a decaying Marxist discourse.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Reports about Gitmo Detainees

Stephen Lendman

Ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees (from left, in back) Ablikin
Turahun, Salahidin… (Bates for NYDailyNewscom)

Post-9/11, The New York Times became the leading misreporting source about Guantanamo detainees, largely characterizing them as dangerous terrorists threatening US security.

For example, on July 25, 2007, (like its many other reports) William Glaberson headlined, "New US study calls Guantanamo captives dangerous," saying:

A new Pentagon study "argues that large numbers of detainees were a direct threat to United States forces, including Al Qaeda fighters, terrorism-training camp veterans and men who had experience with explosives, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades."

"It paints a chilling portrait of the Guantanamo detainees, (saying) 95 percent were at the least a 'potential threat,' including detainees who had played a supporting role in terrorist groups or had expressed a commitment to pursuing violent jihadist goals."

More on The Times' reassessment below.

Under Professor Mark Denbeaux's direction, Seton Hall University School of Law's Center for Policy & Research (CP&R) published 17 "GTMO Reports," including profiles of detainees held, allegations against them, and discrepancies in government (and media) accounts, characterizing innocent men as dangerous.

An earlier report analyzed unclassified government data (obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests) based on evidentiary summaries of 2004 military hearings on whether 517 detainees held at the time were "enemy combatants."

Most were non-belligerents. In fact, a shocking 95% were seized randomly by bounty hunters, then sold to US forces for $5,000 per claimed Taliban and $25,000 for supposed Al Qaeda members. At least 20 were children, some as young as 13.

Oil and War in Libya

Sergey Pravosudov
War among World Centers

Why is the United States waging war in the oil-rich regions of Middle East and Northern Africa if it inevitably causes the high oil prices? We have to keep in mind that North America has tremendous deposits of so-called «heavy oil» (oil-bearing sands). Their development might be profitable only in case of high oil prices — no less than $100 per barrel.

High oil prices have recently become word of the day. Economists are arguing about how long this trend will last and whether it will cause another world crisis. When the USA along with their NATO allies started the military operation in Libya, numerous observers were perplexed, as long as Americans have already waged two wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan) at the moment. Let me remind you that Barack Obama has won the elections with his promises to renounce bellicose Bushesque policy and withdraw the troops (at least from Iraq). The situation was aggravated by the fact that U.S. debt has already exceeded $14 trillion and it keeps growing. There’s nothing surprising in that — war is a costly leisure.

In fact the situation can be explained quite simply. Instead of cutting their defense budget after the Cold War, the US has increased it furthermore. Today Americans spend more money on their military industry than the rest of the world combined. And if bombs and missile are produced, they should explode somewhere (otherwise, they will just cram the warehouses). At that, the USA have moved major parts of civilian production capacities to the Asian countries with cheaper labor force (China first of all). This allowed to drastically increase net incomes of share-holders and top managers of American corporations.

As a result, we’re having a situation when the military-industrial complex has a major share in American production sector and any attempts to reduce the defense budget face fierce counter-action of lobbyists, frightening authorities with the vanishing jobs. Corporate tycoons are unable to move the war industry abroad (due to possible leaks of military secrets) and are unwilling to do so — after all, they still have the substantial profits from selling the weapons to the state.

The European Union and freedom of the press

Peter Schwarz

On January 1, Hungary took over the presidency of the European Union for six months.

On the same day, a new law came into force in Hungary placing the public and private media under the control of the government and virtually eliminating freedom of the press. The coincidence of these two events is significant. Freedom of expression and democracy in general are disintegrating throughout Europe.

The right-wing Hungarian government has lost no time in demonstrating its power over the media. No sooner had the law come into effect than the newly created Media Council launched proceedings against the small, left-liberal broadcaster Tilos Radio. It was charged with having aired a song by rapper Ice-T four months ago. Since very few Hungarians would understand the rapper’s American slang, the Media Council simultaneously published a Hungarian translation of the disputed text in order to demonstrate its allegedly harmful effect on children.

The next to be targeted by the Media Council was the TV channel RTL Klub. This broadcaster is also regarded as relatively liberal and critical of the government. It has been accused of “sensationalism” in its reporting of the “brutal murder of one brother by another in a southern Hungarian village.” The photo it published of a bloodstained mattress was said to be “damaging to young people and even adults.”

Both cases demonstrate that the new law gives the government a blank check to silence media outlets on the basis of virtually any pretext. While the Media Council makes moral accusations such as “glorifying violence,” “placing youth at risk” and “pornography” in order to take action against targeted media outlets, the pro-government broadcasters, which poison the social atmosphere daily with hateful tirades against Roma, Jews, homosexuals and “communists,” need not fear sanctions.

Thus far, no penalties have been imposed on Tilos Radio or RTL Klub, but the Media Council has the power to revoke their licences or bankrupt them by levying draconian fines. The Council consists solely of members of the ruling party, Fidesz. At its head is Anna Maria Szalai, a long-standing confidante of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The European Commission, responsible for ensuring compliance with EU treaties, has so far reacted timidly to the trashing of press freedom in Hungary, although there have been disputes over the new media law for months, and even within the EU some isolated critical voices have been heard.

BP Stonewalling Compensation to Gulf Residents

Stephen Lendman

On April 23, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Quick Help for the Gulf," mocking grave environmental damage as well as affected communities and residents in typical Times cavalier fashion, saying:

BP's April 21 announced "$1 billion down payment on its obligation to restore the Gulf of Mexico to good health is such welcome news that it seems almost churlish to offer caveats" or question its motives.

In fact, BP committed America's greatest ever environmental crime, destroying the entire Gulf, as well as the welfare, livelihoods, health and futures of millions of coastal residents, a disaster perhaps no amount of money can restore, but don't expect BP even to try.

However, saying "(l)ong-term restoration is a goal we have backed ever since Hurricane Katrina," The Times dismissively suggested $1 billion "is enough for now just to get started." In fact, it's inconsequential pocket change for the incalculable human, economic and environmental toll. But don't expect Times editors to explain.

Others do, however, including Dahr Jamail, detailing Gulf "toxicity, suffering and death" on April 16, and on April 20, its "criminal negligence," discussing mounting lawsuits for what BP won't pay.

Ryan Lambert is one of many affected. Jamail quoted him saying:

"I'm seeing people starving to death and BP won't pay them....They know what they did is wrong and they still won't pay me (or most others). I'm done playing their games. All they are doing is starving people out and trying to get them to take (pocket change settlements to) give up their right to sue. I know thousands of people in the fishing industry, and I don't know one person who has been made whole yet."

In previous articles, Jamail covered similar ground, highlighting the plight of Gulf residents stonewalled by BP and Kenneth Feinberg's firm, paid nearly $1 million a month to administer compensation by denying it, a dirty expertise he developed years ago handling previous settlement cases.

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