Israeli-Palestinian talks a cover for US aggression in Middle East

Jean Shaoul

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stepping off a helicopter
after flying from Amman, Jordan, to Ramallah, West Bank,
to meet with "Palestinian Authority" stooge M. Abbas.

Washington is using “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to provide cover for its pursuit of hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East.

For the Obama administration, the talks beginning Monday are a necessary quid pro quo for the support of Jordan’s King Abdullah, the military junta in Egypt and the venal oil sheikhdoms in the Gulf for the war to unseat the Assad regime in Syria and the isolation of Iran. All these sclerotic regimes face a restive working class, for whom the Israel-Palestine conflict and the US-led interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria are explosive issues.

The talks offer nothing to the Palestinians except more suffering and misery, even as they give Israel everything it wants. So blatant is the cynicism and bullying on the part of both the US and its European allies that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had said that he would not attend. Erekat, a professional windbag, will naturally attend—on the basis of having secured a measly promise that 104 Palestinian prisoners will be released.

He will be joined by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, confirmation that the PLO and Fatah, its dominant faction, function as little more than clients of US imperialism.

Father of Edward Snowden issues open letter to Obama denouncing “Orwellian surveillance programs”

Thomas Gaist

Lon Snowden, father of Edward Snowden, has written an open letter to President Barack Obama denouncing the NSA surveillance programs exposed by his son and the Obama administration’s international witch-hunt in response to the disclosures.

The letter, dated July 26, 2013, was written together with Lon Snowden’s lawyer, Bruce Fein.

In the letter, Snowden compares the NSA surveillance programs to the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow laws in the American South and writes that the United States has lessons to learn from “the dynamics of the Third Reich.” The letter further compares the present situation to the post-World War II Nuremburg trials “in which ‘following orders’ was rejected as a defense.”

It comes amid new revelations concerning the expansive scope of the programs. In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” program on Sunday, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald commented: “The NSA has trillions of telephone calls and emails in their databases that they’ve collected over the last several years.”

China: The Bo factor

Pepe Escobar

Mr Bo was removed from his post in March 2012

The larger-than-life geopolitical-economic question of our time, arguably, is not Syria, Iran, or even NSA spying. It's all about China; how on Earth the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be successful in tweaking Beijing's economic growth model, and how China will manage its now slowed-down ascension.

But first there's no less than a "trial of the century" to get rid of.

Disgraced former Politburo superstar Bo Xilai - of the "Chongqing model" fame - was finally indicted this week, accused of relatively minor charges of accepting bribes of US$3.2 million and embezzling roughly $800,000.

The fascinating screenplay opens with how Chinese media reacted to it. Three minutes before Xinhua announced it, the People's Daily was already meticulously drawing a distinction between "Bo Xilai's personal issues" and "the successes in the economic and social development" of Chongqing.

Fifteen minutes later, Xinhua followed with a commentary essentially warning that Bo had fallen because a local "tiger" had become too powerful; and thus "the nation's long-term stability can only be secured by protecting the authority of the central leadership".

Also 15 minutes after, the Global Times sealed the deal, stressing that corrupt Party bigwigs like Bo were "a cancer" and should be dealt with by the letter of the law.

The problem is all this heavy artillery does not even begin to tell the story.

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