Reform or Revolution? By William Bowles

10 February 2009

In 1945, following the defeat of Fascism, the Labour Party was swept into power with a mandate to bring about radical change to British society. There followed the nationalization of transport, energy, communications, the establishment of the National Health Service, an overhaul of education (actually done by the preceding Tory government in 1944), and massive investment in public housing.

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Egypt’s Intelligence head Suleiman: “Nobody in the Arab World can Afford to say NO to Egypt!”

[This article, which I only found yesterday, thanks to my friend Susanne, is slightly dated by a few weeks, but it is an absolutely astonishing document revealing the behind-the-scenes goings on prior to the current cease-fire in Gaza. Italian journalists of Arabmonitor, the first portal of the Arab World in Italy, have interviewed several of the key players who reveal steps Egypt has taken to block Turkey’s efforts at obtaining a ceasefire, their pressure on Hamas to “declare defeat”, the training of special troops of Dahlan in Egypt for a re-entry into Gaza, and the elation that Abu Mazen felt at the news of the assassinatin of Saed Siyam. Shocking reading … Gilad Atzmon]


Damascus, January – The high-level representative of Hamas we had the opportunity to talk to chose to remain anonymous, considering the delicacy of the statements he had to make. With but a few hours into the assassination of Saed Siyam in the Gaza Strip and with equally short time left before the opening of the Arab-Islamic summit hosted by the Emir of Qatar, our interlocutor had been granted only two hours of sleep the previous night and his red-veined, deeply sunken eyeballs tell it all. He reveals to us that it’s not Egypt who is actually negotiating the terms of a cease-fire for Gaza, but Turkey: at least, as far as the demands from the Islamic resistance are concerned.

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Secret police unit set up to spy on British ‘domestic extremists’ By Jason Lewis

7 February, 2009

A secret police intelligence unit has been set up to spy on Left-wing and Right-wing political groups.

The Confidential Intelligence Unit (CIU) has the power to operate across the UK and will mount surveillance and run informers on ‘domestic extremists’.

Its job is to build up a detailed picture of radical campaigners.

Targets will include environmental groups involved in direct action such as Plane Stupid, whose supporters invaded the runway at Stansted Airport in December.

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David Halpin – Requiem for principle and law in Britain

28 January, 2008

How Britain’s political and military leadership pays scant regard to justice and the law, especially when it comes to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

In the crossbenches stands Lord Boyce, former British Chief of Defence Staff. In a ‘defence’ debate with his peers on 22 November 2007, he spoke of blood on the deck of the Ministry of Defence; fellow warriors have been pleading for the weapons and leaving almost empty handed. Brown without an ‘e’ is in the frame. The register of peers’ interests show that this ex-sailor [Lord Boyce] holds a remunerated directorship in VT Group plc. This little business sells warships to Her Majesty’s Government, among other boys’ toys. Hansard records no declaration of his possible interest in the hardware central to the debate.

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Richard Silverstein: The Israeli foreign ministry itself is asking volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information

With Israel’s foreign ministry organising volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israeli comments, Propaganda 2.0 is here

The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it’s going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.

A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a pro-Israel ‘media volunteer’ also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like addressed by pro-Israel comments:

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COHA: “The Rock in the Sun”: Haiti’s Préval Pleads For the U.S. and Rest of the World to End Global Negligence Towards Latin America’s Poorest Country

  • President Préval’s dilemma may continue as he makes his case before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and international lending agencies
  • The failed state continues to suffer in spite of it being led by a worthy president
  • Visit lacking high visibility

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It has more foot-washers than shoeshiners: little boys who, for a penny, will wash the feet of customers lacking shoes to shine. Haitians, on the average, live a bit more than thirty years. Nine out of every ten can’t read or write. – Eduardo Galeano

A Plead for Help
On February 5, Haitian president René Préval arrived in Washington carrying a desperate message in his pocket. In it, he requested emergency aid from the United States for as much as $100 million. Préval met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officials at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and congressional leaders. Secretary Clinton vowed to consider his request but said that she could not make any promises. Already, the U.S. gives $250 million annually in mostly humanitarian aid to NGOs working in Haiti; Préval insists that the humanitarian support would be more beneficial for the country if it went directly to the Haitian government where it could fill a budget gap. Clinton said, ‘We want to be working with them [Haitians] as they continue to build a vibrant democracy and a growing economy.’ But with a mounting economic crisis plaguing much of the world, including the United States, Préval’s plea comes at a most inopportune time. The question now is will the new Obama administration further assist Haiti, or will it proceed with a 200-year-old pattern of inadequate response to the island’s crushing needs?

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