Waiting for the Bus in New Orleans By Bill Quigley

Justice Watch

BC Extra: August 31, 2008

BlackCommentator.com Columnist

August 30, 2008 – 4 pm

In the blazing midday sun, hot and thirsty little children walk around bags of diapers and soft suitcases piled outside a locked community center in the Lower Ninth Ward. Military police in camouflage and local police in dark blue uniforms and sunglasses sit a few feet away in their cars. Moms and grandmas sit with the children and wait quietly. Everyone is waiting for a special city bus which will start them on their latest journey away from home.

Hundreds of buses are moving people away from the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Gustave is heading for the Louisiana coast nearly three years to the day after Hurricane Katrina destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes across the Gulf Coast. Many now face mandatory evacuation. Dozens died in Haiti and the Dominican Republic after Gustave visited. After Katrina, few underestimate the potential of Gustave, now a Category 5 (out of a maximum of 5) storm.

Continue reading



For more information, please contact:
Cyprus:  Greta Berlin: +357-9908 1767 – iristulip@gmail.com
Cyprus :  Osama Qashoo:  +357-9779 3595 – osamaqashoo@gmail.com
Jerusalem: Angela Godfrey-Goldstein: +972-547366393 angela@icahd.org
Website: www.freegaza.org

Free GazaFREE GAZA MOVEMENT announces the arrival at 20:30 (10:30am PDT), Friday 29 August, 2008 of the FREE GAZA and LIBERTY vessels, in Larnaca Harbour, returning from Gaza, and a successful end to this first of such missions.

The historic return voyage represents the first time ever that Palestinians have been able freely to enter and leave their country.  The Free Gaza Movement will mark this historic moment with a reception at Larnaca Harbour , as will Palestinians in Gaza , as both boats return safely from Gazan and international waters after a calm and uneventful crossing.

Organiser Paul Larudee:  “This endeavour has been a huge success, far more significant and wide-reaching than anyone ever dreamt it could be.  It has had obvious beneficial effects on the Palestinian people, but also on Israel . In fairness, credit must go where credit is due — despite threats or obstacles, a responsible decision was made by Israeli authorities not to interfere with our mission and this is a model for the future.”

As reported by the world press, news has travelled worldwide of the Free Gaza Movement.  Supportive messages have come in, including from UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the OPT, Richard Falk, who wrote:

“The landing of two wooden boats carrying 46 human rights activists in Gaza is an important symbolic victory. This non-violent initiative of the Free Gaza Movement focused attention around the world on the stark reality that the 1.5 million residents of Gaza have endured a punitive siege for more than a year. This siege is a form of collective punishment that constitutes a massive violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  The siege, the coastal blockade, and overflights by Israeli aircraft all bear witness to the fact that despite Israel’s claimed ‘disengagement’ in 2005, these realities on the ground establish that Gaza remains under Israeli occupation, and as a result Israel remains legally responsible for protecting the human rights of its civilian population. By severely restricting the entry of food, fuel, and medicine the economic and social rights of the people of Gaza have been systematically violated. There is widespread deafness among the people of Gaza that is blamed on the frequent sonic booms produced by over-flying Israeli military aircraft. For this reason the peace boats brought 200 hearing aids to Gaza.”

Mr. Falk strongly urged the international community to take action to uphold human rights in the Gaza Strip.

“Above all, what is being tested is whether the imaginative engagement of dedicated private citizens can influence the struggle of a beleaguered people for basic human rights, and whether their courage and commitment can awaken the conscience of humanity to an unfolding tragedy.”

Or, in the words of Palestinian voyager, Musheir El-Farra, originally born and raised in Khan Younis in Gaza but currently living in Sheffield , UK :

“For the first time in my life, I went to Gaza without being humiliated, without having to ask Israel for permission.  We did it.  We finally did it.  And now others must join us and do it as well.”


Huwaida on Al Jazeera Intnl. vs Israeli spokesman:

and Part 2:

Editor’s Note:

Typically, the mainstream media have completely ignored this historic mission, so if you have access to a Website please spread this release. Ed.

Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh

JfJfP: special book offer + campaigning workshop
— special offer —

buy a book and give money to a Palestinian cause

Raja Shehadeh is the WINNER OF THE 2008 ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING. He will be speaking at a JfJfP meeting on Wednesday 17th September (details below).

The book costs £7.99 (post free) and of that WE WILL GIVE THREE POUNDS (£3.00) to Al-Haq, the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists.

Send your cheque payable to JfJfP to: JfJfP, P O Box 46081, London W9 2ZF. And if you come along on 17th September you will be able to buy the book and the author will sign copies of his book after the meeting.


“The book describes over two decades of turmoil and change in the Middle East, steered via the history-soaked landscape of Palestine. A lawyer and human rights activist of independent temper, Raja has always found much-needed peace by taking walks in the Palestinian hills – a landscape which, owing to occupation, Jewish settlements and disastrous environmental policies, is fast disappearing.”

‘Intensely political while avoiding the excesses of pure polemic, Shehadeh’s account of six different Palestinian walks continually grapples with misconceptions and mis-information…Shehadeh is always engaging. There’s such an eccentricity to his approach, commenting on dinosaur footprints in the rock one moment, challenging Israeli law the next … it’s a remarkable way of going about things, delivering what many activists neglect to mention: the odd, slightly absurd details that really touch people; things that appear off-camera, away from news reports – things that seem real.’Independent on Sunday

Raja Shehadeh is also the author of the highly praised When the Bulbul Stopped Singing and Strangers in the House. A Palestinian lawyer and writer who lives in Ramallah, he is a founder of the pioneering human rights organisation, Al-Haq, in Ramallah in 1979 and the author of several books about international law, human rights and the Middle East.


JfJfP meeting with Raja Shehadeh Wednesday 17th September at 7.00 pm Venue: The Slug and Lettuce, 1 Islington Green (opp. Screen on the Green) 7.00 – 9.00 pm Tube: Angel; Buses 19, 30, 43, 38, 73, 341

Campaigning Workshop Sunday, 21 September, London

Further to our decision to organise a campaigns workshop, Isabelle Fermaux has agreed to lead one on September 21st from about 10.00 to 4.00 at a venue in London to be arranged.

As an organisation committed to advancing a cause which has powerful adversaries, we need to campaign both to raise awareness of the issues and to achieve change. However there are obstacles in the way for all of us. We need to learn to target our campaigns effectively, to maintain the pressure, to work with other groups with whom we may not necessarily be in total agreement, to recruit others to the campaigns, and to enhance our own confidence in working in a field that may be unfamiliar to us.

This is a great opportunity to improve the effectiveness of our campaigning work. If you are interested in attending the workshop, do let us know as soon as possible by email to: jfjfpevents@googlemail.com. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Back to the future: “Chaos and instability Washington’s official policy line” By William Bowles

28 August 2008

“In the operation the West conducted on Georgian soil against Russia – South Ossetians were the victims or hostages of it – we can see a rehearsal for an attack on Iran. There is a great deal of “new features” that today are being fine tuned in the theater of military operations.

“…[T]he likelihood of a war against Iran was growing with each passing day, “As a result, the situation in the region will become destabilized…causing chaos and instability” was becoming Washington’s official policy line. — ‘Russian analyst points to link between Georgian attack and Iran’.

Continue reading

President Manuel Torrijos’ Velvet Panamanian Coup

President Manuel Torrijos’ Velvet Panamanian Coup – Council on Hemispheric Affairs:

For more information on this piece over the Labor Day weekend, please call 202-215-3473.

  • Torrijos uses subterfuge to militarize the National Security Posture.
  • Corruption reigns at the highest level.
  • Noriega-era Constitution still in use and a burden to the nation.
  • Patriots rally on September 3 against Torrijos’ wanting indifference to democratic procedures.
  • State Department is conspicuously silent over Torrijos’ plots.

On September 3, a number of Panamanian civic groups and political movements have scheduled a nationwide protest against the recently enacted five-pronged National Security Reform package. President Martin Torrijos and his Cabinet approved what essentially was a presidential edict, during the National Assembly’s two-month recess. In effect, President Torrijos has staged a velvet coup, weakening the Constitutional rights of individual Panamanians. Torrijos granted himself ‘special legislative powers,’ allowing him to rule by decree in the areas of anti-crime and anti-terrorism. The President possesses plenary powers allowing him to force through a series of security measures that had the effect, according to his critics, of dangerously militarizing the country.

Continue reading

Palestine: When is the doctor a doctor? And when is he a citizen? By Derek Summerfield


Derek Summerfield:

It’s been more than a decade since British psychiatrist Derek Summerfield called for a medical academic boycott of Israel. Growing up in South Africa during apartheid, the child of a Zimbabwean Afrikana mother and British father, he knows all too well what racial discrimination and segregation means. He lived it.

Even before visiting the Palestinian territories towards the end of the first Intifada (1987-1992), where he saw for himself Israel’s systematic and institutionalised torture of Palestinians, Summerfield “had always been angry at Israel”.

“Watching the behaviour of young Israeli soldiers towards an elderly Palestinian man on my first day in Jerusalem at a checkpoint felt very familiar,” he says. “I’d seen this in South Africa where I grew up.”

Continue reading

Leaving Gaza – Journey Hour One

The SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty left port in Gaza at 3:40 PM, and have begun their long voyage back to Cyprus. Aboard the ship are seven Palestinian passengers, including several children. We were able to speak with Paul Larudee on the SS Liberty just a few minutes ago:

“We’re a little over an hour into our return trip to Cyprus and, unlike when we came in, there are several Israeli naval vessels in sight. We seem to be the focus of their activity, the center of their attention so to speak. However they’re keeping a careful distance, not really approaching us. We expect to reach the twelve-mile limit around 7 PM this evening, and then cross over into international waters.

“When we arrived in Gaza last Saturday, it was the first time in forty-one years that anyone has freely entered Gaza. But our leaving is in a way even more significant. Last Saturday, two of our Palestinian members came into Gaza on these boats. Today, seven more Palestinians are leaving with them. They got exit stamps from the Palestinian government, they boarded the ships, and soon they’ll be in international waters, and then in Cyprus. This is the first time, ever, that Palestinians have been able to freely enter and leave their own country. It’s an incredible step forward, and a sign of greater things to come.”

–Paul Larudee, aboard the SS Liberty, freely leaving Gaza.



For More Information, Please Contact:
(Gaza) Paul Larudee: +972 598 765 370
(Gaza) Huwaida Arraf: +972 599 130 426
(Cyprus) Osama Qashoo: +357 97 793 595 / osamaqashoo@gmail.com
(Jerusalem) Angela Godfrey-Goldstein: +972 547 366 393 / angela@icahd.org

(GAZA CITY, 28 August 2008) – After having shattered the Israeli blockade of Gaza earlier this week, the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty will depart Gaza for Cyprus at 2pm today. Several Palestinians who have previously been denied exit visas by Israel will join international human rights workers on the journey. Among the Palestinians leaving are Saed Mosleh, age 10, of Beit Hanoon, Gaza. Saed lost his leg due to an Israeli tank shell and is leaving Gaza with his father to seek medical treatment. Also on board are the Darwish family, who will finally be reunited with their relatives in Cyprus.

“I can’t believe we’re finally able to leave for medical treatment,” said Khaled Mosleh, Saed’s father. “This is a miracle of God.”

Continue reading

Fulbright or McCarthy for Palestinian students? By Fidaa Abed, 17 August 2008

As a young Palestinian from Gaza, I had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to study at the University of California San Diego on a Fulbright scholarship. The chance to escape Gaza’s confines and immerse myself in an American education was deeply thrilling. With Israel controlling Gaza’s border exits, air space and sea access — notwithstanding its “pullout” of 2005 — I imagined the long, open roads of the United States and its people’s unchallenged freedom of movement.

I love my people and my homeland, but a young person needs opportunities. These are far more abundant in the US than in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Last week, I landed in Washington, DC, brimming with optimism. Upon arrival, I was whisked into a separate room. An American official informed me that he had just received information about me that he could not reveal. However, it required him to put me on the next plane home. I was shocked. And I was taken aback at the cruelty of snatching away my educational dreams at the last possible moment.

Continue reading

Sailing into Gaza By Huwaida Arraf August 25, 2008

Source: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880825045

On Saturday, after 32 hours on the high seas, I sailed into the port of Gaza City with 45 other citizens from around the world in defiance of Israel’s blockade. We traveled from Cyprus with humanitarian provisions for Palestinians living under siege. My family in Michigan was worried sick.

They are not naïve. They knew that Israel could have attacked us — as Israeli forces did in 2003, killing nonviolent American witness Rachel Corrie (Editor’s note: Corrie, also of the International Solidarity Movement, was run over by a bulldozer operated by Israeli Defense Forces during a protest against the destruction of Palestinian homes; an Israeli military investigation ruled the death accidental) and Brit Tom Hurndall (an ISM representative who died nine months after being was shot in the head in Gaza by an IDF sniper; the sniper was convicted of manslaughter) as well as thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians over the years.

Continue reading

GazaFriends – Gone Fishing 25 August, 2008

I sat at the front of the fishing boat, one of six that went out this morning. They are old wooden boats, outfitted with bits and pieces of mechanical parts, rope twisted together and fishing nets. Israel has refused to let Palestinians fish in their own waters for the past 15 months. Even before that, they restricted Palestinian fishermen to around 6 miles. Now, they shoot holes in the boats and in the fishermen if they are caught farther out than about a kilometer.

So today, 19 of us were going along to break a different kind of siege… the denial of Palestinian rights to fish, something every other country bordering the Mediterranean has. Only Palestinians are told they can’t fish for their livelihood, provide for their families and contribute to their own economy. We decided that, since we sailed into Gaza (one fisherman told us we were the first boats to come into the port in 35 years; they have been forced to buy everything from Israel, who charges them exhorbitant fees to buy their own fish back).

Continue reading

GazaFriends – Mary’s report from Gaza City 25 August, 2008

It was a day of smiles and a day of tears for me here in Gaza City.  Another early press conference, followed by a visit to the hospital which has seen most of the carnage created in Gaza by Israeli bombs and rockets.  The doctor related some of the difficulties faced by the population of Gaza.  That 50 chldren have died because Israel refused to let them enter Israel for treatment.  The reason given by Israel?  The mothers were under 35 years old and could be terrorists.  So the children died.  He told us that so far 242 people have died during the siege because of Israel’s refusal to allow them to get the treatment they need.  And that there have been 300 deliveries at checkpoints, resulting in 69 babies dead.

Next we visited a room whose walls were filled with horrific photographs of injured and dying and dead children and babies.  On the table was a collection of fragments of Israeli artillery — rockets, bombs, shrapnel, bullets…

Continue reading

Can a revolt of ‘consumers’ spark a revolution… By William Bowles

26 August 2008

Can a revolt of ‘consumers’ spark a revolution?

“The Middle Class Proletariat — The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.” — ‘UK Ministry of Defence report, The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036’ (Third Edition) p.96, March 2007

Prescient words indeed, so given the dire straights of capitalism as the effects of rampant speculation and an economy based upon the illusary creation of wealth bite, does this analysis by the MoD have any substance?

Continue reading


Huwaida laying roses for 34 USS Liberty sailors

For More Information, please contact:

JERUSALEM: Angela Godfrey-Goldstein
Tel. +972 547 366 393

CYPRUS: Osama Qashoo
Tel. +44 78 333 81660 / +44 79 779 3595

Forty-six international human rights workers are now sailing to Gaza through international waters with one overriding goal: to break the Israeli siege that Israel has imposed on the civilian population of Gaza. Any action designed to harm civilians constitutes collective punishment (in the Palestinians’ case, for voting the “wrong” way) and is both illegal under international law and profoundly immoral. Our mission is to expose the illegality of Israel’s actions, and to break through the siege in order to express our solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza (and of the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole) and to create a free and regular channel between Gaza and the outside world.

Continue reading


Joseph Stalin

As ruler of the U.S.S.R. from 1929 to 1953, Joseph Stalin was in charge of Soviet policies during the early phase of the Cold War. He adopted the name Stalin, which means “Man of Steel,” while still a young revolutionary.

“I regard class differences as contrary to Justice.” (Albert Einstein in a personal statement of his credo.)

“The Russians have proved that their only aim is really the improvement of the lot of the Russian people.” (Albert Einstein in his 1934 refusal to sign a petition condemning Stalin’s murder of political prisoners.)

“Any government is evil if it carries within it the tendency to deteriorate into tyranny. The danger . is more acute in a country in which the government has authority not only over the armed forces but also over every channel of education and information as well as over the existence of every single citizen.”

(Albert Einstein in a speech to Russian scientists in support of democratic socialist ideals and criticism of untrammeled capitalism.) (1)
Continue reading

Recycling the spin cycle By Jerome Spring

Before joining the London Independent to become its diplomatic editor, Anne Penketh trailed around Moscow, Paris and New York as a foreign correspondent. Apparently, she tries to “separate the spin cycle from the news cycle”.

In a main article on Russia and Georgia in the Independent of the 20 August, she asserted that “the Georgian government walked straight into a trap set by Moscow”. Not having uncovered the ‘trap’ for herself, she eventually revealed that her source was a ‘Russian military analyst’ by the name of Pavel Felgenhauer who had claimed that the Georgian government had been provoked to attack South Ossetia,  that, “a decision was made for the war to start in August. The war would have happened regardless of what the Georgians did. Whether they responded to the provocations or not, there would have been an invasion of Georgia.”

It would seem that for Felgenhauer the establishment of NATO states on the borders of Russia is not provocative, despite the fact that the revamped NATO has only recently reaffirmed its aggressive strategy with its criminal invasions of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is no surprise therefore to find that Felgenhauer is on the authors list of the The Jamestown Foundation in Washington which was launched in 1984 with its declared mission being, “to inform and educate policy makers and the broader policy community about events and trends in those societies which are strategically or tactically important to the United States …”

With its Board Members composed of corporate personalities and career academics, it specialised in getting dissidents from the Soviet Union on board as its contribution to the ‘War on Communism’. It now devotes a great deal of attention in support of the USA’s ‘War on Terror’, with publications such as Spotlight on Terror, Terrorism Focus and Terrorism Monitor. Needless to say, the Jamestown Foundation’s “terrorism program” is directed at those who resist the state terrorist crimes of the US, NATO and Israel.

What was Anne Penketh saying about separating the spin cycle from the news cycle?

Jerry Spring


(Rome) The old adage according to which time is the great equalizer holds sway in a special way in contemporary totalitarian America. Unlike the old-horse-beaten-until-it-drops-dead knows it is being beaten, our people are beaten in such a horrendously clinical manner that they do not even realize they are being beaten. Though aware of their mortality, gently beaten human beings however have come to resemble the whipped horse in that they do not seem to realize they are dying from the blows. The problem is there is little or no public opinion. And that collective memory is dead.

A second old horse adage that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink no longer applies to Americans. We drink and drink and drink without even looking up at our tormentors. Without an iota of curiosity even as to who they are and what they are doing to us.

Continue reading

Aprés la deluge — wracking up the fear quotient By William Bowles

20 August 2008

Russia is following a course “horrifyingly similar to that taken by Stalin and Hitler in the 1930s.” — Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s former national security adviser

The other night I went to a meeting on the situation in Georgia organized by the Stop the War Coalition at which one of the speakers was Boris Kargalitsky, a Russian leftie of long-standing, who made some interesting observations on the Russian government’s actions and reactions to the Georgian attack on Southern Ossetia. There are two, if not three, distinct stories to tell about the events that unfolded from 7 August. On the one hand there is the central role played by the US in orchestrating the attack and subsequent destabilization of the situation in the Caucasus, a part of the US strategy of “full spectrum dominance” of key resources and regions around the planet. And on the other there is the Russian response to ‘Darth Vader’ directly inserting itself into Russia’s backyard via its proxy, Georgia.  Thirdly, there is the role played by the Western media in orchestrating the events for public consumption, a campaign that tapped into generations of anti-Soviet, anti-Russion propaganda, utilizing all the usual stereotypes; the ‘Russian bear’, Russian expansionism, all of it dosed with the predictable racist sub-text.

“Neoconservative commentator Robert Kagan compared the Russian attack on Georgia with the Nazi grab of the Sudetenland in 1938.”

Predictable neo-Cold War rhetoric no doubt from the neo-con camp and largely meaningless but it does reveal just how surprised the US was by the Russian response. After all, Russia is seen as a has-been, dependent on Western largesse and not in any kind of position to challenge US hegemony. However, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men gang astray’ as they say. Russia has a powerful military equipped with nuclear weapons, it’s no defenceless, developing country and in all likelihood, the Russian response was not the one the US/NATO expected.

Everything is in flux
It’s less than twenty years since the Soviet Union fell apart and for much of that time the Western powers, led by the US and the UK/EU have largely determined the nature of the ‘new’ Russia, at least they have tried to, trusting that once the Russians got a taste of the ‘free market’ they’d be easy pickings for the pirates. The principle US objectives can be summed up as follows:

1) To open up the vast Russian market to foreign capital and products;

2) Remove Russia as an economic competitor to the US by neutralizing its ability to compete in the world’s markets, in other words reduce it to a third world country;

3) Remove and/or neutralize Russia as a military power to rival its own;

4) Destabilize the situation in the Caucasus/West Asian region as it attempts to extend its control eastwards — onwards and upwards toward China.

Unlike Kargalitsky’s English counterparts, who focused pretty much on telling us what we already knew (as well as the usual exhortations as to what we should do), Kargalitsky gave us an insight into how the Russian leadership responded to the US-engineered crisis and also how the Russians themselves reacted. He pointed out that to describe the Russian response as one of “intra-imperialist rivalries” was a complete misreading of the situation. This is not a war over markets but over strategic assets, of which Georgia is but the latest acquisition by the US. But at the same time Kargalitsky is under no illusions about the Russian response, it’s no move leftward. That said, it nevertheless represents a watershed in post-Soviet US-Russian relations, a throwing down of the gauntlet by the Russian state, a move not without its risks to be sure, but one that the US and NATO can do little about except make a lot of threatening noises about ‘repercussions’. Indeed, the members of NATO can’t even agree what the ‘repercussions’ should consist of.

It is within this context that we must view the vital role of the corporate media in orchestrating events for public consumption of which the timing of the Georgian attack was crucial, when the world’s media was focused on the opening of the Beijing Olympics. The degree to which the media has ignored the unprovoked attack on Southern Ossetia by Georgia is staggering; it simply ceased to exist, to be replaced by “a war between Russia and Georgia” at best and “naked aggression” by Russia at its worst. There can be no clearer indication of the role of the corporate/state media in selling the Empire’s objectives than the way this, the latest disaster has been presented. But it should be pointed out that there is a growing gap between what the public is really concerned about and the all-out propaganda campaign about the ‘aggressive Russian Bear’ rearing its furry shoulders above all those repossessed houses.

Russia: “We’ll nuke Poland!” goes the headline in the Sun on 14 August, 2008. But what the Russian General Nogovitsyn really said was, “Poland, by deploying [the system] is exposing itself to a strike – 100 per cent,” which is nothing less than the truth as Poland has placed itself in the frontline should a war break out. Who knows what the US promised the Poles (or what arms were twisted) but its actions over Georgia should be a lesson to the Polish government that no promise made by the US can be relied upon. And, upon reflection as simplistic as it may appear to be, it occurs to me that the US ‘encouraged’ Saakashvili to invade South Ossetia in order to panic the Poles into accepting the alleged missile defence system.

Georgia is yet another move in a game of chess; strike where you perceive your enemy to have weaknesses. So the Autonomous Region of South Ossetia (to give it its real name) has been simmering since 1994, held in check by the Russian presence, who find themselves sandwiched between Georgian and South Ossetian nationalists. It doesn’t take much to light the fire; make a promise (not kept of course) that you’ll back Saakashvili (or at least give Georgia the ‘nod’). Remember Saddam and Kuwait in 1990? Or, to go back further, US promises to Hungary in 1956. Thus as far as the US is concerned, Georgia is an expendable ‘asset’, a mere pawn in its game of expansion. Thus threat and counter-threat will no doubt flow from the outcome of Saakashvili being sacrificed on the alter of US capital and a world even more destabilized than it is already as a result of US/UK/NATO actions.

Pop ‘til We Drop? by JOHN FEFFER

Pop ‘til We Drop? by JOHN FEFFER

World Beat
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Vol. 3, No. 33

According to the overpopulation crowd, the current food crisis is the latest evidence that the world has become too heavy with us all. We are currently at 6.6 billion and expected to approach 9 billion some time before 2050. Mother Earth is mad as hell and isn’t going to take us anymore.

We’ve heard this all before. In 1798, to be precise, when economist Thomas Malthus predicted in his essay on population that humanity would increase more rapidly than our food supply. The mathematical logic seemed inescapable. But Malthus didn’t predict how much bird excrement – and later chemical fertilizer – would increase agricultural production. Nevertheless, his fears have resurfaced every generation or so. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich dropped his Population Bomb on the reading public with its forecast of mass famine in the 1970s and 1980s. Certainly people died of hunger then – as, inexcusably, they do today – but again increases in food production exceeded the rate of population increase and mass famine never materialized.

And now, eager to find new evidence to prove their hardy thesis, the neo-Malthusians have latched on to the food crisis. In a recent article I wrote on rising food prices, I failed to mention overpopulation as a key factor. I’ve never received so many responses to an article before, and 90% of these comments chided me for failing to see “the elephant in the room.” As one letter writer put it, “Try to remember: Hunger, poverty, injustice, environmental destruction, and global warming are just the symptoms: OVERPOPULATION IS THE DISEASE.”

Continue reading

This is a tale of US expansion not Russian aggression By Seumas Milne

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk:80/commentisfree/2008/aug/14/russia.georgia/print

The Guardian (UK) Thursday August 14 2008

The outcome of six grim days of bloodshed in the Caucasus has triggered an outpouring of the most nauseating hypocrisy from western politicians and their captive media. As talking heads thundered against Russian imperialism and brutal disproportionality, US vice-president Dick Cheney, faithfully echoed by Gordon Brown and David Miliband, declared that “Russian aggression must not go unanswered”. George Bush denounced Russia for having “invaded a sovereign neighbouring state” and threatening “a democratic government”. Such an action, he insisted, “is unacceptable in the 21st century”.
Could these by any chance be the leaders of the same governments that in 2003 invaded and occupied – along with Georgia, as luck would have it – the sovereign state of Iraq on a false pretext at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives? Or even the two governments that blocked a ceasefire in the summer of 2006 as Israel pulverised Lebanon’s infrastructure and killed more than a thousand civilians in retaliation for the capture or killing of five soldiers?

Continue reading