Sunday, September 30, 2007
Q: A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?
A: I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn't say, “I only welcome Christians.” We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.
Friday, September 28, 2007
The campaign for an academic boycott of Israel has ended today in an absolute and final political, legal and moral defeat.
The University and College Union’s (UCU) own lawyers advised it that a policy to exclude academics who work in Israel from the global academic community – and to exclude nobody else on the planet - would have been a violation of equal opportunities legislation in Britain.
Given this legal advice, the leadership of the UCU had no choice but decisively to end the union’s flirtation with a boycott of Israeli academia. To persist in a ‘discussion’ of an illegal and discriminatory policy would have opened the union up to potentially fatal lawsuits on the grounds of unfair discrimination. Union members could have been held personally liable if they had ignored clear legal advice. The Opinion was given to UCU by a widely respected barrister.
UCU’s Strategy and Finance Committee voted unanimously today to end all consideration of the boycott proposal. The Opinion said:
"It would be beyond the Union's powers and unlawful for the Union, directly or indirectly to call for or to implement a boycott by the Union and its members of any kind of Israeli universities and other academic institutions; and that the use of Union funds directly or indirectly to further such a boycott would also be unlawful."The Opinion also said:
"...to ensure that the Union acts lawfully meetings should not be used to ascertain the level of support for such a boycott."It will be claimed by the campaign to exclude Israelis from our campuses, conferences and journals that the end of the boycott in UCU represents a capitulation to ‘bourgeois’ or ‘Zioinst’ law (the two adjectives have become inter-changeable amongst some ‘anti-Zionist’ ‘anti-capitalists’). In truth, however, anti-discrimination law is not a mode of state repression but a victory, hard-won, by generations of antiracist activists. It is a good thing that there is law in place which prohibits bodies like our union from discriminating against Jews. In the old days there was no legal prohibition on Jewish quotas and silent or explicit exclusions and boycotts of Jews by civil society organizations such as universities, golf-clubs and trades unions. The exclusion of Jews is no longer a private matter of choice for an organization; it is now illegal. This is good.
It is scandalous that the proposal to exclude Israeli academics was seriously considered by political people, trade unionists and by our union. It was a proposal for direct unfair discrimination on the grounds of nationality and for a policy of indirect unfair discrimination against Jews. It was, in effect if not in intent, a racist proposal. Engage, the network which came together to oppose the boycott, the antiracist campaign against antisemitism, said, from the beginning, that it was a racist proposal. People who consider themselves to be antiracists and who were seduced by the plan to punish Israeli academics for the consequences of the Israel/Palestine conflict should be ashamed that it took ‘bourgeois’ law to finish off this racist proposal.
Given the nature and the consequences of the history of exclusions and boycotts against Jews, particularly from universities, UCU members should have known better than to give a moment’s consideration to a proposal to exclude a significant proportion of the world’s Jewish scholars from the academic community in punishment for something which those Jewish scholars had not done.
Those who were for a boycott of Israel were not for boycotting the academics in all states which abused human rights but only in Jewish states which abused human rights. It was not a universal proposal for solidarity with all those who suffered from human rights abuses or from occupation. It was a proposal which singled out the academics of one state for unique punishment. It should have been obvious to decent people who wanted to help Palestine that a Jew-hunt was not just, would not be an effective remedy, and would surely license antisemitic ways of thinking. That this was not obvious should teach us all important lessons for the future.
The boycott proposal relied on a false and one-sided over-simplification of the Israel/Palestine conflict which portrayed Israel simply as the ‘oppressor’ and Palestine simply as the ‘oppressed’. In truth, while the occupation of Palestine constitutes a great wrong which needs to be righted, it is not true to imagine that the occupation is the result of some essential Israeli propensity to cruelty or oppression. On the contrary, the occupation is the result of a long and bloody conflict in which no nation is either hero or villain. Israel and Palestine need to make a peace which would guarantee both Israeli and Palestinian national independence.
Jews did not go to Palestine in order to get rich by exploiting the people who lived there. They went because Europe, after centuries of repression, exclusions and boycotts of Jews had attempted a ‘final solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’; Arab and Muslim nationalism drove the Jews out of great cities of the Middle East and into Israel; a century of Tsarist and Soviet antisemitism had forced Russian Jews to leave en masse in the early 1990s. There are no simple goodies and badies in the Israel/Palestine conflict. The Palestinians have suffered terribly following their military defeats, both at the hands of Israel and at the hands of the Arab states. Again and again Israel, Palestine and the Arab states have followed political leaderships which lacked the wisdom and courage to make peace and which were too often tempted to demonize and to de-humanize their ‘enemies’. The Israeli peace movement has been unable to force an end to the occupation of the West Bank and to daily violence and repression which is necessary to sustain it – although it came close. The Palestinian peace camp has so far been unable to stop those who speak in the name of Palestine from killing Jews and from aspiring to kill all the Jews.
The childish politics of boycott glorifies the ‘good’ nationalism of the ‘oppressed’ against the ‘bad’ nationalism of the ‘oppressor’. What we need now is a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan politics which supports those who fight for peace and against racism in all nations and which seeks a just compromise between Israel and Palestine. We should not support those who dream only of all-out victory for one nation or the other. We should not encourage Palestinians to believe that their freedom can only be achieved by totally eradicating and destroying the ‘evil’ of ‘Zionism’. We need to work for a just and achievable peace, not for an impossible, absolute victory for one nationalism over the other.
The boycott campaign relied on a number of ways of articulating its essentialist political binary of good state / bad state. Israel was said to be essentially apartheid or nazi or imperialist or racist. We need a language to talk about Israel and Palestine which does not demonize one side and infantilize the other.
This boycott campaign has come close to destroying our union. The lawyers tell us that it exposed the union to mortal legal threats. It divided the union and it made the union a place which was inhospitable to those Jews who were not extreme anti-Zionists. Hundreds of Jews (and others) have been driven out of our union in the last four years, or dissuaded from joining in the first place. But we need an academic union. We need to fight for the wages and conditions of lecturers and teachers, to oppose the exploitation of people on part-time and temporary contracts; we need to fight for education in Britain. We need to re-unite the union and defend the system, which still exists, whereby universities and colleges across the country are forced to negotiate with the union as a whole.
We need greater clarity on the norms of democratic and academic freedoms. Academic freedom is not something which should be lightly sacrificed for an instrumental end. Those who argued that we should put an end to academic freedom in Israel for so long as the occupation limits academic freedom in Palestine were, in my view, 180° wrong. Academic freedom in Israel should have been bolstered and nurtured, and mobilized against challenges to academic freedom in Palestine. Academic freedom is not to be sacrificed; it is in itself a mode of struggle against those who deny such freedom and against material conditions which limit such freedom.
There will be some people who supported the boycott campaign who will persist with their demonization and their conspiracy theory. They will claim that ‘well-funded’ ‘lobbies’ defeated them; they will claim that British law or British lawyers are part of the ‘Israel Lobby’; they will claim that the leadership of UCU ‘sold out’ the ‘rank and file’. In truth the rank and file of the union was mobilizing. Hundreds of UCU members had rallied to the ‘Campaign for a UCU ballot’ within a week hof it being set up. Union members up and down the country were part of the Engage network to oppose the boycott campaign. A repeat of the AUT members’ revolt of 2005 was imminent, where the union was rescued from the grip of a small coterie of Israel-hating activists by open debate and by the insistence of ordinary union members on having their say.
Even the Israel-demonizing, George Galloway supporting, Socialist Worker Party now opposes the boycott campaign. It recognizes that ‘the boycott is an issue which divides critics of Israel’ and that ‘the boycott would almost certainly be heavily defeated’ in a democratic ballot of UCU members. ‘We should make it clear now,’ wrote Alex Callinicos in Socialist Worker, ‘that we do not intend to propose an actual boycott of any Israeli academic institutions’.
Some boycotters will persist even after their boycott has been widely recognized, morally, legally and politically, as a counterproductive and racist proposal. But the vast majority of UCU members will take this opportunity to rescue our union, to make it again into a union for all of its members and to unite us around fighting for education and around fighting for justice and academic freedom across the world. Jew-hunts are now a thing of the past in UCU.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
In light of the present visit to the US by Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I would direct readers to an article I wrote more than a year ago at FrontPage, "Ahmadinejad's Apocalyptic Faith". There I wrote about the Hojjatieh brand of Shi'ism that Ahmadinejad follows, which I described as follows:Most Shiites await the return of the 12th Shiite Imam, Muhammad ibn Hasan, the last direct male descendent of the Prophet Mohammed’s son-in-law Ali, who disappeared in 874AD and is believed to be in an invisible, deathless state of existence, or “occultation”, awaiting his return. Though it is discounted even by the most extremist clerics, a popular belief in Iran holds that the 12th Imam, also called the Mahdi or the sahib-e zaman (“the Ruler of Time”), lives at the bottom of a well in Jamkaran, just outside of Qom. Devotees drop written requests into the well to communicate with the Mahdi. His reappearance will usher in a new era of peace as Islam vanquishes all of its enemies. The Sunnis, who reject the successors of Ali, believe that the Mahdi has yet to be born.
But rooted in the Shiite ideology of martyrdom and violence, the Hojjatieh sect adds messianic and apocalyptic elements to an already volatile theology. They believe that chaos and bloodshed must precede the return of the 12th Imam, called the Mahdi. But unlike the biblical apocalypse, where the return of Jesus is preceded by waves of divinely decreed natural disasters, the summoning of the Mahdi through chaos and violence is wholly in the realm of human action. The Hojjatieh faith puts inordinate stress on the human ability to direct divinely appointed events. By creating the apocalyptic chaos, the Hojjatiehs believe it is entirely in the power of believers to affect the Mahdi’s reappearance, the institution of Islamic government worldwide, and the destruction of all competing faiths.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has clearly indicated that he is a true believer in this faith. It has been reported that he has told confidants that he anticipates the immanent return of the Mahdi. When he previously served as Mayor of Tehran, he advocated for widening the roads to accommodate the Mahdi’s triumphal entry into the city. One of his first acts of office as President was to dedicate approximately $20 million to the restoration and improvement of the mosque at Jamkaran, where the Mahdi is claimed to dwell.
This personal belief directs his official policies as President. He has publicly said, “Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi. We should define our economic, cultural and political policies on the policy of the Imam Mahdi’s return.”
However, Ahmadinejad’s messianism doesn’t stop with the Mahdi. In fact, he has made it clear that he believes he has personally received a divine appointment to herald the imminent arrival of the Mahdi, tacitly acknowledging his own role in setting aright the problems of the world.
The Hojjatieh sect is so extreme, it was banned by Ayatollah Khomeini (which is saying something). Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor is Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, known affectionately (or not so) by his moniker, "Professor Crocodile". Mesbah-Yazdi has been pushing to succeed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as I noted in another article, "The War Ayatollah".
Understanding the worldview of our enemies (Iranian-made IEDs and EFPs are killing dozens of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan each month) is essential for understanding their intentions. You might also want to visit my friend Timothy Furnish's website, MahdiWatch.org, and read his History News Network article, "What's worse than violent jihadists?" for additional background on the virulent brand of Shi'ism practiced by Ahmadinejad.
from Arutz Sheva / IsraelNN.com:
A U.S. State Department-funded University of California program which provides business training for residents of the Middle East specifically excluded Israeli Jews - until Jewish journalists protested.The University of California has now altered the program's eligibility requirement that initially barred Israeli Jews. The turnaround in policy also may have saved the State Department, whose Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) finances the program, from having to provide an embarrassing explanation. MEPI also selects the participants.
Jerusalem-based marketing specialist and businesswoman Miriam Schwab uncovered the bias last week when she checked into applying to the university's San Diego branch Beyster Institute program for Middle East Entrepreneur Training (MEET). She discovered that the program was open to citizens of "Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel (limited to Israeli Arab citizens), Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, West Bank/Gaza and Yemen."
The Beyster Institute, which manages the program, offers three 10-day seminars, each one with 20 eligible participants. The program includes professional coaching and offers opportunities to make new contacts and "to help promising leaders realize their aspirations to build successful [businesses]... The participation of women is highly encouraged."
The Canadian-born Schwab, who moved to Israel 10 years ago, said she was interested in the program because she employs two women in her Illuminea company in Jerusalem. "This program sounded really interesting until I got to the part about eligibility for application," she wrote on an e-mail list.
The MEET program ostensibly "does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, or handicap."
In response to an IsraelNationalNews.com question for confirmation of the restriction in Israel, program manager Mona Yousry verified, "It is only for Arab Israelis." A subsequent question as to why Israeli Jews are not eligible for the program elicited the following reply from the Institute's Director of Entrepreneurial Programs, Rob Fuller: "I’m sorry for the unfortunate misunderstanding about eligibility for the new MEET program. To be clear, for the programs for which we are now recruiting to be held in 2008, ALL Israeli citizens are eligible to participate. Sorry for any confusion we may have inadvertently caused."
Israeli Jews originally were excluded despite the program’s stated advantage as "an important cultural exchange." Fuller did not explain the initial "confusion" in barring Israeli Jews.
The programs are to be held in Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, all of which have relations with Israel.
Following the e-mail complaints to Beyster, the US Embassy of Yemen online document which announces the program was down for more than a day until the words "limited to Israeli Arab citizens" were deleted. [View the document announcing the program by clicking here. When prompted with "Do you want to open or save this file," click on "Open."]
The US official who made the online edit, however, reposted the story in "track changes" format so that the document displays in the left margin, at the time of this writing, the words: "Deleted: Limited to Israeli Arab citizens." (See pics below).
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In 1996, Ron had fallen behind Democrat Lefty Morris in the general election. Morris was being particularly nasty. He even organized demonstrations calling Ron Paul a "Right-wing Fascist" and even had supporters draw Swastikas on their signs. They would demonstrate against us, at hotel press conferences by Ron, particularly in Victoria. Lefty and his Austin Democrat pals, had dug up some dirt on Ron which tied him to some very questionable Far Right and even racist groups. The Austin liberal media chamber echoed everything that Morris put out on Ron.
Our Ron Paul for Congress campaign team at the time, including Ron, held many emergency brainstorming sessions in the backrooms of the Clute office and on the deck at Ron's Surfside beachouse, to figure out how to respond. Ron's "Kitchen Cabinet" were all in attendence in Surfside, including: Lew Rockwell, Ron's longtime political consultant from DC Tony Peyton (now deceased), Houston Christian Right activist Marc Elam, and Ron's behind the scenes John Bircher fundraiser David Mertz, aka David "James".
Campaign Manager Elam suggested to me that since I was half-Jewish I ought to go to Lefty's press conference to disrupt the event. We had gotten word that Morris was going to hold a press conference in Victoria, with documents proving that Ron Paul had close ties to Radical Right-wing Anti-Semitic and other racist groups. One of our campaign team members, even suggested that I wear a Jewish yalmaca [sic] (like a beanie cap), and loudly challenge Morris in the middle of his speech.
I did. All by myself I went to the event wearing my Jewish yalmaca, and other Jewish adornment. Half-way through the press conference, when Morris started to wave papers proving Paul's ties to Anti-Semitic groups, I loudly interrupted that "I was Jewish, and was a top Campaign Staffer for Ron Paul," and continued that Ron Paul would not have hired me if he hated Jews.
The Victoria media ate it up. They absolutely loved the drama of the quick rebuff. Morris was even trembling at one point while I was challenging him. It made the front page of the Victoria Advocate. The lone network TV station in Victoria ran the story on both their evening and nightly broadcasts.
Needless to say that was the end of the Morris attacks from the racist angle on Paul.
Read it here...
from Harpers Magazine via Israpundit:
Given my dissident politics, I should be up in arms about the Israel lobby. Not only have I supported the civil rights of the Palestinians over the years, but two of my principal intellectual mentors were George W. Ball and Edward Said, both severe critics of Israel and its extra-special relationship with the United States.
Nowadays I ought to be even bolder in my critique, since the silent agreement suppressing candid discussions about Israeli-U.S. relations has recently been shaken by some decidedly mainstream figures. These critics of Israel and its American agents include John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, of the University of Chicago, and Harvard’s Kennedy School, respectively; Tony Judt, a historian at New York University; and former President Jimmy Carter.
Somehow, though, I can’t shake the idea that the Israel lobby, no matter how powerful, isn’t all it is cracked up to be, particularly where it concerns the Bush administrations past and present. Indeed, when I think of pernicious foreign lobbies with disproportionate sway over American politics, I can’t see past Saudi Arabia and its royal house, led by King Abdullah.
The long and corrupt history of American-Saudi relations centers around the kingdom’s vast reserves of easily extractable oil, of course. Ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt met aboard ship in 1945 with King Ibn Saud, the special relationship with the desert kingdom has only grown stronger. The House of Saud is usually happy to sell us oil at a consistent and reasonable price and then increase production if unseemly market forces drive the world price of a barrel too high for U.S. consumers.
In exchange we arm the Saudis to the teeth and turn a blind eye to their medieval approach to crime and punishment.
Even during the Saudi-led oil embargo of 1973-74, an exceedingly hostile action against the United States supposedly justified by Washington’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War, the Nixon administration treaded very softly. Despite the illegality of the embargo it arguably violated international law as well as a bilateral commercial agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia the White House and the State Department could hardly have been more diplomatic toward their Bedouin friends.
As the historian J.B. Kelly recounts, the U.S. ambassador to Riyahd, James Akins, did his best to placate King Faisal by urging the Saudi’s American-owned oil concessionaire ARAMCO to, in Akin’s words, “hammer home” to the White House that the embargo wouldn’t be lifted unless “the political struggle [between Israel and the Arabs] is settled in [a] manner satisfactory to [the] Arabs.”
In all, as Kelly wrote, “a most peculiar recourse for an ambassador to employ to influence the policy of his own government.”
But this was a blip on the screen of harmonious petrol politics. After Iran’s Islamic revolution overthrew the trusted shah, in 1979, the thoroughly anti-democratic Saudi oligarchy appeared an island of stability and thus of greater strategic value to Washington. Indeed, in a head-to-head match-up with the Israel lobby in 1981 over the proposed American sale of AWACS planes to the Saudis, the Saudi lobby won a close vote in the Senate. Leading the Arab charge on Capitol Hill was the debonair Prince Bandar, who demonstrated that charm mixed with a lot of money could beat the Israelis, even during the pro-Israel administration of Ronald Reagan.
“He oiled his way across the floor, oozing charm from every pore.”
Bandar was quickly promoted to Saudi ambassador to Washington, where, in 1990, he was assigned the task by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney of, in effect, doling out press passes to the U.S. media before the Gulf War this in spite of the fact that tens of thousands of U.S. troops were swarming into the kingdom to defend it against a perceived invasion threat from Saddam Hussein. When he wasn’t entertaining congressmen and spreading good cheer through his highly paid lobbyist, Fred Dutton, Bandar was busy making friends with, at first vice president, and then president, George H.W. Bush, and by extension with Bush’s son, the future president. This personal relationship with the Bush family has served Bandar and his family very well, as documented in Craig Unger’s book, House of Bush, House of Saud.
But the prince and his royal relatives evidently also impressed the Clinton administration. Before he died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, the former FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill complained to French investigator Jean-Charles Brisard that Saudi pressure on the State Department had prevented him from fully investigating possible al-Qaida involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, which killed 19 U.S. servicemen, and of the destroyer Cole in 2000.
As with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, there’s always talk of the Saudis playing a double game with al-Qaida publicly denouncing it and privately paying it off but you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand that the Saudis don’t have America’s best interests at heart.
So it gets worse. Now, according to Seymour Hersh, Bandar has virtually joined the Bush administration as a shadow cabinet member. Hersh’s New Yorker article last month described “the redirection” of U.S. foreign policy against Iran and Arab Shi’ite terrorists in collaboration with such Sunni-dominated countries as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt (this in spite of the fact that Sunni rebels, funded in part by Saudi “private citizens,” have killed the bulk of American soldiers who have died in Iraq).
The wise men in this new policy council reportedly include Vice President Cheney, deputy national security adviser Elliot Abrams (an Iran-Contra convict who is very pro-Israel), the nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, and none other than Bandar, now the Saudi national-security adviser. Such is the cynicism of Bushian, Israeli and Saudi foreign policy that Abrams collaborates with Bandar, whose country does not recognize Israel and whose “charities” give money to the families of suicide bombers who blow themselves up inside the Jewish state.
Lately, King Abdullah has been making anti-American noises, calling the U.S. presence in Iraq an “illegitimate foreign occupation.” But like the Saudis’ paper-thin devotion to the Palestinian cause, this is just so much realpolitik. In March 1974, the oil embargo was lifted without any conditions concerning Palestinian rights. Today, as the Shi’ism scholar Amal Saad-Ghorayeb told Mohamad Bazzi, of Newsday, “the Saudis are being more autonomous, but it’s a very contrived sense of autonomy” designed “to give [them] more political cover so they can rally Arab support against [Shi’ite] Iran.”
If you’re naive enough to believe that the Saudi king’s rhetoric signifies a genuine break with the United States over Iraq, or anything else, then you might also believe that the Israel lobby is more powerful than the Saudi lobby. And if you think that Israeli security means more to George Bush than Saudi oil, then you might even believe that Bush saw 9/11 coming.
READ THE REST OF THIS VERY INTERESTING POST HERE...
Monday, September 24, 2007
from the History News Network (HNN):
The Federal Reserve is catnip to conspiracy theorists (just Google “Federal Reserve conspiracy” and see) but Richard Nixon may be the only political paranoid ever to form a conspiracy theory about a Fed Chairman whom he personally appointed.
In July 1971, dogged by rising unemployment and inflation, Nixon imagined the existence of a “Jewish cabal” involving Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur F. Burns and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The President had expected favorable press coverage on July 2, 1971, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a big drop in the unemployment rate from 6.2 to 5.6 percent. When Nixon learned that the front-page of Washington’s Evening Star said, “The Labor Department warned that the dip might have been caused by a statistical quirk,” he ordered an investigation to find out who was responsible, saying, “He’s got to be fired.”
A statistical quirk did cause the drop, and Nixon knew it. (CAUTION: The following contains math.) It was the result of the standard seasonal adjustment BLS makes to the unemployment rate. Summer vacation for students changes the employment picture dramatically. There’s a big influx of students into the job market in June and a big exodus in September. It has nothing to do with the health of the economy, what economists call the “underlying” job market. It’s just students starting and ending their summer jobs. Here’s the tricky part: BLS conducted its unemployment survey during “the regular survey week, defined to be the week including the 12th day of each month.” In other words, officials look at the calendar, see which week contains the 12th, and do the survey from Sunday to Saturday of that week. In June 1971, the 12th fell on a Saturday, so the survey came early in the month, June 6-12, before many students had started vacation. Since there were fewer students looking for jobs at the time, the unemployment rate was lower. If the 12th had fallen on a Sunday, then the survey week would have been June 12 to June 18, there would have been more students out of school looking for jobs, and the “seasonal adjustment” would not have made it look like there was a big drop in unemployment. In fact, when Office of Management and Budget Director George P. Shultz informed the President of the drop in unemployment two days earlier, he’d described it, in these exact words, as “a statistical quirk.”
“I understand statistical aberrations,” Nixon told White House Political Operative Charles W. “Chuck” Colson the day after the announcement. “Why didn’t they say there were statistical aberrations when it went up?”
Well, they did. The same kind of statistical quirk arose the previous September, when the students were leaving their summer jobs to head back to school. (Once again, the 12th had fallen on a Saturday, so the survey week was September 6-12.) In September 1970, there had been big jump in unemployment, from 5.1 to 5.5 percent, its highest point in six years. “But officials of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, traditionally insulated from the political arena, were quick to explain,” the Washington Post reported on its front page on Oct. 3, 1970, “that the big increase could be attributed in large part to a quirk in timing.” BLS had treated the big rise in unemployment the same way it treated the big drop. Newspapers had used the same word both times -- “quirk.”
This made no difference to Nixon, who focused his wrath on the assistant commissioner of labor statistics, Harold Goldstein. Nixon had been wanting to get rid of Goldstein for months. When unemployment fell two-tenths of a percent in January 1971, Goldstein said at the regular BLS briefing that the drop was “marginally significant.” The next month, Goldstein described another two-tenths drop as “sort of mixed,” and the administration cancelled the regular BLS briefings altogether. (Again, it didn’t matter that Goldstein had also made little of small rises in unemployment.)
“I think the one thing, Mr. President, that you should insist upon,” Colson said, “is that they reorganize that Bureau. Now, in the process of reorganizing it, I think we’ll get this guy’s resignation. And we’ll put in a politician. That’s what we ought to have in there.”
Nixon agreed and summoned Shultz and Labor Secretary James D. Hodgson into his office. “I want them to do it even-handed. And they’re not doing it that way,” Nixon said. “Every [press] release has been loaded against us. And deliberately.” The President asked for a plan.
“Well,” Shultz said, “I think the only kind of organization that would be sensible under these circumstances is a reorganization that separates Goldstein from the employment, uh, unemployment figures and gets him into something else entirely.” One of Shultz’s aides already thought BLS needed reorganizing.
Later, alone with Colson, Nixon said, “Well, listen, are they all Jews over there?”
“Every one of them,” Colson said. “Well, a couple of exceptions.”
“See my point?”
“You know goddamn well they’re out to kill us.”
Before lunch, Nixon gave his chief of staff an order. “Now, point: [White House Personnel Director Frederic V.] Malek is not Jewish.”
“No,” H.R. “Bob” Haldeman said.
“All right, I want a look at any sensitive areas around where Jews are involved, Bob. See, the Jews are all through the government, and we have got to get in those areas. We’ve got to get a man in charge who is not Jewish to control the Jewish . . . do you understand?
“I sure do.”
“The government is full of Jews,” Nixon said. “Second, most Jews are disloyal. You know what I mean? You have a [White House Consultant Leonard] Garment and a [National Security Adviser Henry A.] Kissinger and, frankly, a [White House Speechwriter William L.] Safire, and, by God, they’re exceptions. But, Bob, generally speaking, you can’t trust the bastards. They turn on you.”
It would be more accurate to say that Jews couldn’t trust Nixon, that he turned on them. On July 24, 1971, he mentioned that Colson had found out sixteen BLS officials were registered Democrats, only one a registered Republican. “The point that he did not get into that I want to know, Bob, how many were Jews?” Nixon asked. “There’s a Jewish cabal, you know, running through this, working with people like [Fed Chairman] Burns and the rest. And they all only talk to Jews.”
In reality, Burns was a Nixon man, the chief conservative economist on the White House staff in 1969 before Nixon nominated him to the Fed. Congress set up the Fed to be independent of politics, but that didn’t stop Burns from secretly assuring Nixon that he would use its power over the economy to reduce unemployment for his re-election year. The only official Burns was conspiring with was Richard Nixon.
But the Fed chairman had incurred his patron’s displeasure. Nixon had wanted a conservative economist at the Fed, but grew angry when he got one. As unemployment rose to politically harmful levels, Nixon wanted the Fed to follow an “easy money” policy that would reduce interest rates, lowering the cost to business of borrowing money, expanding operations and hiring more employees. Burns, however, warned that this would fuel inflation. On the morning of Nixon’s “Jewish cabal” comment, the Times had run this front-page headline: “Burns Says Inflation Curb Is Making Scant Progress.”
“Now, what do you want to do with Arthur Burns?” Nixon asked Haldeman and Chief Domestic Policy Adviser John D. Ehrlichman that afternoon. “Raise his salary?” The President asked for a press leak suggesting that the President’s advisers had recommended increasing the membership of the Federal Reserve Board.
On July 28, the United Press International newswire ran an exclusive: “President Nixon is considering a proposal to double the size of the Federal Reserve Board, it was learned today. The suggestion, if put before Congress, could touch off a controversy rivaling President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court.
“Administration officials also disclosed that Nixon rejected a request from Arthur F. Burns -- Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board -- for a 20,000 a year pay raise. Burns currently makes 42,500.
“Burns, however, denied he had ‘lobbied for an increase in salary.’ ”
Meanwhile, Haldeman tried to find out how many BLS employees were Jews. “What’s the status of your analysis of the BLS,” he wrote to Personnel Chief Malek on July 26, “specifically of the 21 key people? What is their demographic breakdown?”
Malek replied the next day. “We were able to obtain political affiliation checks on 35 of the 50 names listed on their organization chart.” There were 25 Democrats, 5 unregistered, 4 independents, and 1 Republican. “In addition, 13 out of the 35 fit the other demographic criterion that was discussed.” There was a handwritten note: “Most of these are at the top.”
Later that day, the President asked Ehrlichman, “Did you ever get the number of Jews that were in BLS?”
“I got their biographies yesterday. I’m having them analyzed,” Ehrlichman said. “Oh, the radio and the wires are full this morning that Arthur Burns wanted a salary increase.”
“I wonder where that came from,” Nixon said. “I’ll never forget Arthur sitting in here telling us a year ago there shouldn’t be a salary increase and that the Cabinet officers should give it back.”
Burns got smeared, but Goldstein got forced out. “Harold Goldstein will be moved to a routine, non-sensitive post in another part of BLS,” Malek reported to Haldeman on Sept. 8, 1971. “He has been told of this and will move quietly when the reorganization is announced.
“A sensitive and loyal Republican is also being recruited for the employment analysis function being vacated by Goldstein.”
Typically, when Richard Nixon told himself people were conspiring against him, it meant he was about to conspire against them.
READ THIS PIECE: "NIXON'S JEW COUNT" BY TIMOTHY NOAH ON SLATE.COM
Sunday, September 23, 2007
The European Union has decided to give 15 million euros to a Polish college headed by controversial Catholic priest Tadeusz Rydzyk, who is accused regularly of disseminating anti-Semitism.
The College of Social and Media Culture, is affiliated with Rydzyk's radio station Radia Maryja, which itself has been accused of regularly hosting Holocaust deniers on its programs.
Holocaust survivor organizations have launched a campaign to block the move. Noah Flug, chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, has asked EU Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso to prevent the transfer of funds to the institution.
n addition to accusations of anti-Semitism, the institution is widely considered to oppose the European Union. The intention to fund the college is interpreted by some as an attempt by the EU and the government of Poland to silence one of the union's loudest opponents.
Rydzyk has recently received press for several anti-Semitic statements he has made on the radio station and at the college, which he founded and heads. He recently told students that Jews use the American financier George Soros' money to seize control of Poland, and regularly blames Jews of being greedy.
"Public figures in Poland have expressed sorrow for the pogrom after the war against the Jews in Jedwabne only because they received Jewish bribes ... All of the claims by Jews of the injustice that was caused to them had one goal: to extort money from the Polish," Rydzyk has been quoted as saying.
The Polish weekly Wprost published excerpts from a lecture Rydzyk allegedly delivered at the college, where he is quoted as criticizing Lech Kaczynski, the president, for bowing to pressure to compensate people - many of them Jews - for property nationalized by the postwar communist government, and for donating land for a future Jewish museum when Kaczynski was Warsaw's mayor.
"You know that it's about Poland giving $65 billion dollars to the Jews," Rydzyk reportedly said. "They will come to you and say: give me your coat. Take off your pants. Give me your shoes."
Last year, Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago published a paper accusing the "Israel Lobby" of having "unmatched power" and managing to "manipulate the American political system" into actions that undermine U.S. interests.
Supporters praised these scholars for "prying the lid off a debate that has been bottled up for decades" -- perhaps since Charles Lindbergh let down his side of the argument in the 1940s. Another reviewer commends them for "saying the unsayable." In this case, the unsayable was punished with a book advance of three-quarters of a million dollars and turned into 350 pages called "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy."
Accusations of disproportionate Jewish influence are as old as the pharaohs. The novelty here is the endorsement of respected, mainstream academics -- though both characterizations are increasingly disputed. Scholars, not columnists, will make those determinations. But I do have firsthand knowledge concerning two of Walt and Mearsheimer's accusations.
In fact, Israeli officials have been consistently skeptical about the main policy innovation of the Bush era: the democracy agenda. One senior Bush administration official recently told me, "The Israelis are generally convinced that Arab cultures are particularly resistant to democracy; that democracy is likely to lead to victories by the Muslim Brotherhood."
A friend recalls visiting a prominent Israeli general in 2003 and making the case for democracy promotion. "What is the alternative?" the American asked. "Propping up the next generation of Mubaraks, Assads and the House of Saud for the next 25 years?" The general responded: "Why not?"
President Bush's emphasis on democracy has been driven not by outside pressure but by a strategic insight. He is convinced that the status quo of tyranny, stagnation and extremism in the Middle East is not sustainable -- that the rage and ideologies it produces will cause increasing carnage in the world. The eventual solution to this problem, in his view, is the proliferation of hopeful, representative societies in the Middle East.
This argument is debatable. But it is at least as likely as Walt and Mearsheimer's naive belief that "the U.S. has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel" -- the equivalent of arguing that Britain had a Nazi problem in the 1930s because it was so closely allied with Czechoslovakia.
Second, these scholars contend that the influence within the Bush administration of the Israel lobby has been magnified by its "junior partner," the Christian Zionists. In theological terms, they are talking about premillennial dispensationalists -- people who believe that the success of the state of Israel is a welcome sign of the end times.
The views of dispensationalists are broadly disputed by serious, conservative Protestant scholars. I don't share those views. I can't imagine that the president or the secretary of state shares them -- but I would not know for sure because I never once heard such views advocated or mentioned in five years of policy discussions I participated in at the White House.
There is a temptation in some academic circles to search for that mysterious key that will unlock our whole understanding of American foreign policy. George Bush is captive to the Israelis, or maybe Dick Cheney is captive to the Saudi Arabians. The real problem is the Israeli lobby on the grassy knoll, or dispensationalists covering up the Da Vinci code.
But all this is a conspiracy against the obvious. Perhaps many Americans actually prefer Israel's flawed democracy to the aging autocrats and corrupt monarchies of the region. Perhaps they root for a reliable ally that is surrounded by nations still committed to its destruction. Perhaps many Americans recall that the Jews, just six decades ago, lost one-third of their number to genocide and believe that this persecuted people deserves a secure home and sanctuary. Perhaps Americans understand that anti-Semitism was the greatest source of evil in the 20th century and is not dead in this one.
Walt and Mearsheimer are careful to say they are not anti-Semitic or conspiracy-minded. But their main inference -- that Israel, the Israel lobby and Jewish neoconservatives called the shots for Bush, Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld -- is not only rubbish, it is dangerous rubbish. As "mainstream" scholars, Walt and Mearsheimer cannot avoid the historical pedigree of this kind of charge. Every generation has seen accusations that Jews have dual loyalties, promote war and secretly control political structures.
These academics may not follow their claims all the way to anti-Semitism. But this is the way it begins. This is the way it always begins.
The head of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel is urging the European Union not to pour tens of millions of dollars into a Polish ultra-nationalist Catholic radio station which is infamous for its anti-Semitic programming.
The 15.5 million Euros in EU funding would be allocated towards the expansion of a journalism school for the controversial Polish radio station Radio Maryja.
"The head of the radio station and the radio station itself is known throughout Europe as a symbol of the increasing wave of global anti-Semitism," head of the umbrella organization of Holocaust survivors in Israel Noah Flug,wrote in a letter to the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.
"Any financial support for such sources will only strengthen anti-Semitism and the lack of tolerance," he wrote.
The prominent Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported last month that the school was on a list of 350 projects that Warsaw had recommended to receive EU funding.
A European Union spokesman in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment.
Last month, a European Commission spokeswoman said that no decision had been taken on the issue to date.
The move comes just weeks after Israel and American Jewish groups urged the Polish Government to act following the most recent anti-Semitic remarks by the powerful head of the radio station, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk.
Rydzyk reportedly accused the Jews of greed in a potential government compensation deal on confiscated property, and denounced Polish President Lech Kaczynski as a "fraudster who is in the pockets of the Jewish lobby."
The conservative Polish government, which is supported by the radio station, has not acted against the radio director to date.
In a major archeological discovery, an ancient quarry that supplied huge high-quality limestone for the construction of the Temple Mount has been uncovered in Jerusalem, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Sunday.
The quarry, which is located four km northwest of Jerusalem's Old City, in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, was used two thousand years ago during the construction of the Second Temple, archeologist Yuval Baruch said.
"This unique and sensational find is the first Second Temple quarry ever found," he said.
According to Baruch, the site, which spans at least five dunams, was uncovered by chance during a "salvage excavation" carried out by the state-run archeological body over the last two months following municipal plans to build an elementary school in the area.
Dozens of quarries have previously been uncovered in Jerusalem - including ones larger than the present find - but this is the first one that archeologists have found which they believe was used in the construction of the Temple Mount, Baruch said. Archeologists had previously assumed that the quarry which was used to construct the Temple Mount was located within the Old City itself, but the enormous size of the stones discovered at the site - up to 8 meters long - as well as coins and fragments of pottery vessels dating back to the first century CE indicated that this was the site used 2,000 years ago in the construction of the Temple Mount walls - including the Western Wall.
"We have never found any other monument in Israel with stones in this size except for the Temple Mount walls," Baruch said.
During the Second Temple period, the rulers of the city elected to use high quality stone in the construction of national public buildings. The stones selected originated in the hard layers of limestone, referred to in Arabic as malakeh (from the Hebrew word malkhut or royalty), owing to its beauty and quality. The huge stones were likely transported to the Temple Mount area by horses, camels, or slaves, Baruch said, noting that part of an ancient main road to Jerusalem which was used for the immense operation was recently uncovered just 100 meters from the site of the quarry. The use of these enormous stones during the construction is what maintained the stability of the structure over thousands of years, without requiring the use of plaster or cement.
The quarrying of each stone block was done in stages, according to Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director. First, deep narrow channels were hewn around all four sides of the block thereby isolating it from the surrounding bedrock surface. Then, using a hammer, the stonecutters inserted a row of cleaving stakes in the bottom part of the block until a fissure was created and the stone was detached. A 5 kilogram iron tool which was used by King Herod's workers - probably Jewish slaves - and was likely forgotten at the site was discovered beneath large stones in the middle of the excavations, Baruch said.
The site, which was used for no more than 20 years, was abandoned after the Second Temple period, said archeologist Ehud Nesher who also took part in the dig. The area is now surrounded by olive trees planted by Arab villagers, and a sprawling Haredi residential neighborhood. The area of the quarry which has been uncovered is likely only thirty to forty percent of its total size, but archeologists have no immediate plans to excavate the rest of the area because it is private property.
The discovery of the site comes as the state-run archeological body is immersed in a bitter controversy over recent Islamic infrastructure work on the Temple Mount itself, which independent Israeli archeologists say has damaged antiquities at the Jerusalem holy site.
The work, which was authorized by the Prime Minister's Office, is meant to replace decades-old electrical cables at the ancient compound.
The Antiquities Authority, which has been repeatedly censured by the independent group of archeologists for failing to carry out proper archeological supervision on the Temple Mount due to the political sensitivities involved, has repeatedly declined comment on the issue.
Friday, September 21, 2007
(Note: For ease of reading, I've moved the text and links from Mr. Berlet's footnotes to brackets within the text.)
from Chip Berlet: "Webster G. Tarpley’s Toxic Waste is Polluting the Antiwar Movement":
There is no question that author Webster Griffin Tarpley has become a divisive and destructive force within the
antiwar movement. The real question is why antiwar activists would pay him any attention in the first place. Activists are in an uproar over an incident at a peace encampment in U.S. where Tarpley is implicated in a stunt where well-known peace activists such as Jamilla El-Shafei, Cindy Sheehan, Dahlia Wasfi, and Ann Wright were tricked into signing a document they thought was merely a call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. The fine print in the document echoes Tarpley’s claim that Cheney is plotting a pre-election coup using a domestic terrorist attack as an excuse. Kenebunkport, Maine
Tarpley is a former acolyte of crackpot and convicted felon Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. You remember LaRouche. He is generally described as a perennial Presidential candidate who once said the Queen of England ran the global drug trade. Tarpley may have left the LaRouche group, but it has not left him. Tarpley acts as a sockpuppet for LaRouche, spreading delirious venom throughout the antiwar movement. The LaRouche group has a long history of conning people into signing statements based on misleading descriptions of the actual text. Déjà vu.
With so much factual evidence of wrongdoing, incompetence, malfeasance, and just plain lying on the part of the Bush Administration, there is no reason to spread Tarpley’s gossip. The dramatic erosion of civil liberties in the
is bad enough without embracing the delusional warnings by Tarpley that “neocons always prefer a coup d'etat to an election.” [Read here.] United States
The current tempest traces back to July 4 th, 2007 when
peace activists held an Emergency Antiwar Convention. It was an attempt to merge the movement against the war in Philadelphia with the “9/11 Truth” movement. The event featured 9/11 conspiracy films, as well as presentations from Tarpley and another former LaRouchite activist, Lewis DuPont Smith. Attendees issued a Call “In the spirit of our Declaration of Independence” urging others to join activist organizations throughout the country to collaborate and forge common strategies and actions.” [ “The ‘Act-Independent United Front Program’, submitted By Webster Griffin Tarpley and approved by The Philadelphia Emergency Anti-War Convention, July 4, 2007’ The Philadelphia Platform,’ http://www.waronfreedom.org/tarpley/philly.html. See the: event described at http://actindependent.org/, and http://actindependent.org/peac.html, and the full statement at http://actindependent.org/philadelphiaplatform.pdf. See http://www.waronfreedom.org/tarpley/chicago-resolution.html.] The statement included the phrase: “Government by the People, not by cliques of bankers and financiers,” which could have been copied from a number of Nazi publications from the 1930s which identified the culprits as Jews. Iraq
Tarpley has introduced similar statements at other meetings, including one in
. A few weeks later, with his star rising in the antiwar movement, Tarpley posted a long article on the Jeff Rense website warning: "Cheney Determined To Strike In US With WMD This Summer, Only Impeachment, Removal or General Strike Can Stop Him." [Read here.] Chicago
According to Tarpley, antiwar activists needed to quickly confront “the Cheney doctrine, which calls for a new super 9/11 with weapons of mass destruction in the
US, to be used as the pretext for a nuclear attack on and for martial law at home.” [Read here.] Iran
This is not the first time Tarpley has predicted an apocalyptic political event. In 2004, he posted a warning: "Bush Regime working out Procedures for postponing November Election." [As of September 11, 2007, the Tarpley article is still on Michel Chossudovsky's Global Research website: Webster Griffin Tarpley, “Bush Regime working out Procedures for postponing November Election, posted July 10, 2004] The election, needless to say, actually took place as scheduled, although there were legitimate complaints about vote suppression to benefit Republican candidates.
Tarpley is co-author (with LaRouche researcher Anton Chaitkin) [A recent article by Anton Chaitkin is BAE, Baroness Symons in Black Operations Against LaRouche] , of the book George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, originally published by the LaRouche publishing house. Progressive author and blogger David Neiwert reviewed the book, noting that “Like most LaRouche texts:”
...the Bush "biography" is a mélange of fact and distortion, written in a highly suppositional style that makes numerous leaps of logic and asserts connections where there is no real evidence to support it, at other times omitting exculpatory or contrary information that reveals a more complete picture. Sifting through it requires a great deal of work, but there are nuggets of fact woven into their text that are substantiated and which deserve proper consideration.
In 2005 Tarpley published a book that alleged the Bush Administration staged the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA. [Tarpley’s book is published by Progressive Press, http://www.waronfreedom.org, which also publishes a book by Eric Hufschmid, Painful Questions . Hufschmid is described as one of the researchers "who openly mix 9/11 skepticism with Holocaust denial or revisionism," see "Holocaust Denial Versus 9/11 Truth," http://911review.com/denial/holocaust.html] LaRouche takes a similar position. According to LaRouche the attacks on 9/11 should be:
”recognized, sooner or later, as the product of a witting "inside job." Finally, my detailed knowledge of the onrushing strategic crisis within which those attacks were situated, allowed no other conclusion, than that this was an attempted military coup d'état with a global strategic purpose of the most ominous implications imaginable.” [Read here.]
While continuing to follow the polluted path blazed by notorious crackpot and homophobic antisemite Lyndon LaRouche, Tarpley is a regular contributor and featured poster on the Jeff Rense website. If we can set aside the UFO mania found on Rense.com, there is still the promotion of Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories.
At some point leaders of the antiwar movement need to have a discussion about the larger issue of conspiracism. Right now, however, it is clear that some progressives have been snared by Tarpley’s mesmerizing presentations. This could undermine the credibility of the antiwar movement, alienate its existing base, and jeopardize its relationship with existing allies. This should be obvious no matter what your individual position is on the unanswered questions surrounding 9/11. The antiwar movement needs to welcome individuals from a broad range of political beliefs who share the goal of ending the war in
. However this open door policy should not include allowing charlatans and hucksters to disrupt the movement. It is time to slam the door in the face of Webster G. Tarpley and his ilk. Iraq
Over time, it will become clear that it is not in our national interest to allow this sort of corporation to slip into the hands of either the Chinese or the Arab/Muslim states.
from Bloomberg.com: Worldwide:
The Persian Gulf states, flush with cash from burgeoning oil revenues, are buying overseas assets at a record rate and countering the paucity of acquisitions hampered by the summer's surge in corporate borrowing costs.(clip)
Abu Dhabi agreed yesterday to pay $1.35 billion for 7.5 percent of Carlyle Group, the world's second-biggest private equity firm. Dubai and Qatar took competing stakes in Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., London Stock Exchange Group Plc and Nordic bourse OMX AB. Qatar also won approval to examine the financial records of J Sainsbury Plc, the second-largest U.K. supermarket chain.
All told, the deals are worth $25 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The pace of international investments by Gulf states, which earn $1.2 billion a day from oil exports, is quickening as they seek to diversify beyond energy. The nations have already spent a record $68 billion on overseas acquisitions this year, the Bloomberg data show.
``They are not just putting their money in bank deposits and government bonds any more,'' said Eckart Woertz, chief economist for the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. ``They are after strategic assets.''
The pace of takeovers may accelerate as oil trades at a record high and Dubai and Qatar race to lure international banks, asset managers and brokerages. Oil reached a record $83.90 a barrel in New York yesterday.
Based on the share prices of LSE, Nasdaq, OMX and Sainsbury on Sept. 19, Dubai's investment would be $2.5 billion and Qatar's would be $21.5 billion.
Borse Dubai said yesterday that it agreed to buy 28 percent of the London Stock Exchange from Nasdaq and stopped competing with the U.S. electronic market for control of OMX. Dubai also got a 19.99 percent stake in Nasdaq and 5 percent voting control of the company.
`Clone of Dubai'
The Qatar Investment Authority countered later in the day, by saying it bought 20 percent of LSE shares and acquired 9.98 percent of OMX.
The Qatar Investment Authority said yesterday it doesn't ``currently'' intend to make an offer for LSE. Buying the stake in Stockholm-based OMX is ``a key step'' to ``take supportive holdings'' in European exchanges, the authority said.
``Qatar is a clone of Dubai,'' said Haissam Arabi, a Dubai-based managing director of asset management for Shuaa Capital PSC. ``They have taken their lead from Dubai on most fronts. Dubai had Emirates airline, then Qatar set up Qatar Airways. Dubai established itself as a tourist destination, and then Qatar tried to position itself as such. And now as financial centers, Dubai moved and Qatar followed.''
Dubai and Qatar are overshadowing Bahrain's traditional position as the Persian Gulf's financial hub. Dubai is the second-biggest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates after Abu Dhabi. The six Gulf Cooperation Council states are the U.A.E., Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Mubadala Development Co., an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, will buy a 7.5 percent non-voting stake in Carlyle. Sainsbury, based in London, yesterday softened its opposition to a takeover bid by Qatar after the emirate said it would borrow less to fund the deal.
The Gulf states sometimes cooperate on acquisitions. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, the Qatar Investment Authority's CEO and since April Qatar's Prime Minister, said in February the country may buy as much as 10 percent of Airbus SAS parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. because the shares are undervalued.
When Dubai International Capital LLC bought 3.12 percent of EADS in July, some of its money came from Qatar, according to Chief Executive Officer Sameer al-Ansari.
The Gulf's overseas acquisitions haven't always succeeded. Qatar in December lost out to a group led by Macquarie Bank Ltd. in its bid to buy Thames Water Utilities.
`A Different Issue'
Dubai-owned container port operator DP World last year agreed to buy London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. for $6.8 billion, only to be forced to sell P&O's U.S. port assets under pressure from lawmakers who threatened to block the takeover on the grounds of security.
Dubai's Nasdaq deal is ``a different issue from the port,'' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday. ``That was a security issue. This is a marketplace issue.''
The accord didn't raise ``any alarm,'' said Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. ``There was a physical security element'' in the port deal, he said.
President George W. Bush and some lawmakers, including Senator Charles Schumer, said the agreement still must be scrutinized. ``We're going to take a good look at it, as to whether or not it has any national security implications involved in the transaction,'' Bush told reporters.
Biggest Gas Field
Qatar has about 850,000 residents spread over 11,000 square kilometers, making it the smallest country by size and population in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Owner of the world's biggest gas field, Qatar earned $28,576 per citizen from oil and gas exports last year.
Dubai generated 3 percent of its gross domestic product from oil last year and has a population of about 1.5 million. As oil wells run dry, the emirate is building the world's tallest tower, offshore islands in the shape of palm trees, and a leisure park three times the size of Manhattan.
It's also earmarked more than $82 billion for investment in aviation, including construction of the world's biggest airport.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Every so often, however, Paul opens his mouth and lets out a stream of paranoid conspiracy and no-nothing isolationism that is actually startling in its vehemence. Such is his latest emanation, which issued from his website today. Reading it, you see the mask of civil, well-reasoned discourse slip with the opening phrase: "(o)ur American way of life is under attack". Paul goes on to conflate disparate, apparently unrelated issues into a simulacrum of reasoned argument -- a familiar, conspiracy theory trope. The world, according to Paul, is being controlled by a secret cabal of "elites" who want to create a one world government. They will do this by taking your guns, taking your property under eminent domain, and letting foreigners into the country.
Reading this, I long for the days when Ross Perot was the Loony Tunes candidate. At least he wore his insanity on his sleeve.
from Ron Paul 2008: Message from Ron Paul:
Our American way of life is under attack. And it is up to us to save it.
The world's elites are busy forming a North American Union. If they succeed, as they were in forming the European Union, the good ol’ USA will only be a memory. We cannot let that happen.
The UN wants to confiscate our firearms and impose a global tax. The UN elites want to control the oceans with the Law of the Sea Treaty. And they want to use our military to police the world.
Our right to own and use property is fading because bureaucrats and special interests are abusing eminent domain.
Our right to educate our children as we choose is under assault. "No Child Left Behind" is seeing to that. And our right to say "no" to forced mental screening of our school-aged children is nearly gone.
The elites gave us a national ID card. They also gave us the most misnamed legislation in history: The Patriot Act. And these same people are pushing to give amnesty to illegal immigrants and erase our national borders.
Record government debt is putting a burden on our children and grandchildren that is shameful.
Yes. Our American way of life is under attack. And it's understandable that many are concerned, even discouraged, about the kind of country our children and grandchildren will inherit.
But we must never let discouragement become surrender.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
READ THE REST HERE
The idea of using suicide pilots to obliterate the skyscrapers of Manhattan originated in 1940s Berlin. "In the latter stages of the war, I never saw Hitler so beside himself as when, as if in a delirium, he was picturing to himself and to us the downfall of New York in towers of flame," wrote Albert Speer in his diary. "He described the skyscrapers turning into huge burning torches and falling hither and thither, and the reflection of the disintegrating city in the dark sky."
Not only Hitler's fantasy but also his plan of action foreshadowed September 11: He envisioned having kamikaze pilots fly light aircraft packed with explosives and with no landing gear into Manhattan skyscrapers. The drawings for the Daimler-Benz Amerikabomber from the spring of 1944 show giant four-engine planes with raised undercarriages for transporting small bombers. The bombers would be released shortly before the planes reached the East Coast, after which the mother plane would return to Europe.
Hitler's rapture at the thought of Manhattan in flames indicates his underlying motive: not merely to fight a military adversary, but to kill all Jews everywhere. Possessed of the notion that the whole of the Second World War was a struggle against an imaginary Jewish enemy, he deemed "the USA a Jewish state" and New York the center of world Jewry. "Wall Street," as a popular book published in Munich in 1919 put it, "is, so to speak, the Military Headquarters of Judas. From there his threads radiate out across the entire world." From 1941 on, Hitler pushed to get the bombers into production, in order to "be able to teach the Jews a lesson in the form of terror attacks on American metropolises." Towards the end of the war this idea became an obsession.
Sixty years later, it so happens, the assault on the World Trade Center was coordinated from Germany. Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian who piloted the plane that struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center; Marwan al--Shehhi, from the United Arab Emirates, who steered the plane into the South Tower; Ziad Jarrah, from Lebanon, who crashed United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and their friends Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni, and the Moroccan student Mounir al-Motassedeq had formed an al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, where they held regular "Koran circle" meetings with sympathizers.
What ideas propelled Atta and the others to act? Witnesses provided part of the answer at the world's first 9/11-related trial, the prosecution of al-Motassedeq, which took place in Hamburg between October 2002 and February 2003. One participant in the Koran circle meetings, Shahid Nickels, said Atta's Weltanschauung was based on a "National Socialist way of thinking." Atta was convinced that the Jews were striving for world domination and considered New York City the center of world Jewry, which was, in his opinion, Enemy No. 1. Fellow students who lived in Motassedeq's dormitory testified that he shared these views and waxed enthusiastic about a forthcoming "big action." One student quoted Motassedeq as saying, "The Jews will burn and in the end we will dance on their graves."
Amazingly, neither the American media nor the international press took much notice of this testimony, largely refusing to report on Atta's and Motassedeq's explicit Jew-hatred. The above quotations come from the weekly Der Spiegel and from the detailed notes of the trial taken by journalist Michael Eggers, who attended every session and wrote about it for Reuters. If this had been the trial of a Ku Klux Klan member or someone from the far right such as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, reports of Nazi-like dreams of exterminating the Jews would probably have made the headlines. But in this case, involving attackers of Arab background, journalists apparently found the issue irrelevant. Moreover, this Jew-hatred was no quirk of the Hamburg cell. Osama bin Laden himself declared in 1998, "The enmity between us and the Jews goes back far in time and is deep rooted. There is no question that war between us is inevitable. . . . The Hour of Resurrection shall not come before Muslims fight Jews."
Even the 9/11 Commission Report, the summation produced by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States in July 2004, falls short in this regard. Its chapter on "Bin Laden's worldview" makes no mention of his hatred of Jews. This silence is all the more surprising in that the commission quotes documents in which bin Laden unambiguously expresses his hatred of Jews. For example, in the "Letter to the American People" of November 2002, which the report repeatedly cites, bin Laden warns: "The Jews have taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense." Osama goes on: "Your law is the law of rich and wealthy people. . . . Behind them stand the Jews who control your policies, media and economy." Yet the report's authors inexplicably fail to see the significance of these words and the ideology behind them. The report also ignores the history of Islamism. It accords the entire pre-1945 period just five lines. Yet it is precisely this period that fostered the personal contacts and ideological affinities between early Islamism and late Nazism--the linkage between Jew-hatred and jihad.
Despite common misconceptions, Islamism was born not during the 1960s but during the 1930s. Its rise was inspired not by the failure of Nasserism but by the rise of Nazism, and prior to 1951 all its campaigns were directed not against colonialism but against the Jews. It was the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, that established Islamism as a mass movement. The significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al Qaeda and Hamas.
It is true that British colonial policy produced Islamism, insofar as Islamism viewed itself as a resistance movement against "cultural modernity." The Islamists' solution was the call for a new order based on sharia. But the Brotherhood's jihad was not directed primarily against the British. Rather, it focused almost exclusively on Zionism and the Jews. Membership in the Brotherhood shot up from 800 to 200,000 between 1936 and 1938, according to the research of Abd Al-Fattah Muhammad El-Awaisi for his book The Muslim Brothers and the Palestine Question 1928-1947. In those two years the Brotherhood conducted only one major campaign in Egypt, and it was against Zionism and the Jews.
This campaign, which established the Brotherhood as a mass movement, was set off by a rebellion in Palestine directed against Jewish immigration and initiated by the notorious grand mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al--Husseini. The Brotherhood organized mass demonstrations in Egyptian cities under the slogans "Down With the Jews!" and "Jews Get Out of Egypt and Palestine!" Leaflets called for a boycott of Jewish goods and Jewish shops, and the Brotherhood's newspaper, al-Nadhir, carried a regular column on "The Danger of the Jews of Egypt," which published the names and addresses of Jewish businessmen and allegedly Jewish newspaper publishers all over the world, attributing every evil, from communism to brothels, to the "Jewish danger."
The Brotherhood's campaign against the Jews used not only Nazi-like tactics but also German funding. As the historian Brynjar Lia recounted in his monograph on the Brotherhood, "Documents seized in the flat of Wilhelm Stellbogen, the Director of the German News Agency affiliated to the German Legation in Cairo, show that prior to October 1939 the Muslim Brothers received subsidies from this organization. Stellbogen was instrumental in transferring these funds to the Brothers, which were considerably larger than the subsidies offered to other anti-British activists."
At the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood was the first modern organization to propagate the archaic idea of a belligerent jihad and the longing for death. In 1938, Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood's charismatic founder, published his concept of jihad in an article entitled "The Industry of Death." He wrote: "To a nation that perfects the industry of death and which knows how to die nobly, God gives proud life in this world and eternal grace in the life to come." This slogan was enthusiastically taken up by the "Troops of God," as the Brothers called themselves. As their battalions marched down Cairo's boulevards in semi-fascist formation they would burst into song: "We are not afraid of death, we desire it. . . . Let us die to redeem the Muslims!"
The death cult that became a hallmark of modern jihadism was laced with Jew-hatred from the very beginning. Moreover, this attitude sprang not only from European influences; it also drew directly on Islamic sources. First, Islamists considered, and still consider, Palestine an Islamic territory, Dar al-Islam, where Jews must not run a single village, let alone a state. At best, in their view, this land should be judenrein; at the very least, Jews there should be relegated to subservient status. Second, Islamists justify their aspiration to eliminate the Jews of Palestine by invoking the example of Muhammad, who in the 7th century not only expelled two Jewish tribes from Medina, but also beheaded the entire male population of a third Jewish tribe, before proceeding to sell all the women and children into slavery. Third, they find support and encouragement for their actions and plans in the anti-Jewish passages of the Koran.
After World War II it became apparent that the center of global Jew-hatred was shifting from Nazi Germany to the Arab world. In November 1945, just half a year after the end of the Third Reich, the Muslim Brothers carried out the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in Egypt's history, when demonstrators penetrated the Jewish quarters of Cairo on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. They ransacked houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, and torched the synagogues. Six people were killed, and some hundred more injured. A few weeks later the Islamists' newspapers "turned to a frontal attack against the Egyptian Jews, slandering them as Zionists, Communists, capitalists and bloodsuckers, as pimps and merchants of war, or in general, as subversive elements within all states and societies," as Gudrun Krämer wrote in her study The Jews in Egypt 1914-1952.
In 1946, the Brotherhood made sure that Heinrich Himmler's friend Amin al-Husseini, the former grand mufti who was being sought as a war criminal by Britain and the United States, was granted asylum and a new lease on political life in Egypt. As leader of the Palestine National Movement, al-Husseini had been a close ally of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nazis. Based in Berlin from 1941 to 1945, he had directed the Muslim SS divisions in the Balkans and had been personally responsible for blocking negotiations late in the war that might have saved thousands of Jewish children from the gas chambers. All this was known in 1946. Nonetheless, Britain and the United States chose to forgo criminal prosecution of al-Husseini in order to avoid spoiling their relations with the Arab world. France, which was holding al-Husseini, deliberately let him get away.
For many in the Arab world, what amounted to amnesty for this prominent Islamic authority who had spent the war years broadcasting Nazi propaganda from Berlin was a vindication of his actions. They started to view his Nazi past with pride, not shame, and Nazi criminals on the wanted list in Europe now flooded into the Arab world. Large print-runs of the most infamous libel of the Jews, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were published in the following decades at the behest of two well-known former members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat. Both the Muslim Brothers' unconditional solidarity with al-Husseini and their anti-Jewish riots mere months after Auschwitz show that the Brotherhood did not object, to say the least, to Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
from Haaretz: Dutch church to rethink its policy of solidarity with Israel By Cnaan Liphshiz
After 37 years of boasting of "inalienable solidarity" with the people of Israel, the Netherlands' second largest church plans to reexamine its stance this fall. A group of notables from the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PCN) warned last week that the organization, which has over two million members, is in danger of being "hijacked" by pro-Palestinian activists.
The warning - coauthored by Dr. Jan van der Graaf, who served for 35 years as general secretary within one of the three churches that make up the PCN, and three other prominent church figures - was an open letter against changing the reference to Israel. It was addressed to Minister Henri Veldhuis, a General Synod member who said the clause made the church adopt a biased view that ignored Israeli actions against Palestinians.
At a speech last month in Utrecht for Friends of Sabeel (a Jerusalem-based Palestinian organization), Veldhuis said the church should commit to a bond with Israel "as people of the Torah" instead of the "Jewish people as an ethnic group." Veldhuis also complained that currently, "the church has a stronger bond with a non-believing Alaskan Jewish person than a Palestinian Christian."
The open letter accused Veldhuis of a slanted and hypocritical approach. "We were astonished by your address before a Palestinian liberation organization that pretends to be promoting reconciliation," it read. "You accused Israel but ignored Hamas's Jew-hating ideology. You overlooked the alarming anti-Semitic upsurge in Arab countries."
Veldhuis responded that the signatories "were regrettably and falsely" trying to portray Sabeel and himself as radical left-wing activists. In a conversation with Haaretz, Veldhuis said: "It is important to preserve the lessons of the Holocaust and never forget the Jewish roots of church and bible and to fight anti-Semitism, but we have to take a more realistic position on the Jewish people as an ethnic group and on the State of Israel. The PCN's theology is now idealizing both."
He added that he believes the coauthors - Van der Graaf, Dr. Theo van Campen, Dr. Wulfert de Greef and Dr. Henk van der Meulen - are circling the wagons because of "mounting criticism of Israel's policies."
Van der Graaf said that those who advocate changing the church's charter are "only a highly motivated minority" within PCN, and he believes the clause will ultimately remain unchanged.
The PCN, which was formed in 2004 as a merger of the country's three largest protestant churches, is scheduled to discuss revising its stance on Israel in November.
Monday, September 17, 2007
George Karatzaferis, a Greek anti-Semite with connections to neo-Nazis, has capitalized on a crime wave and the recent fires in Greece to gain his party, Popular Orthodox Alarm (LA.O.S.), a number of seats in Parliament.
from Reuters: "Far-rightist could become king maker in Greek politics" By Dina Kyriakidou
ATHENS -- A party led by a former bodybuilder could become the first far-right group to enter Greece's parliament since the return of democracy in 1974.More here: Far-right party set to enter parliament and here: Greek centre-right wins majority in parliament and here: Greek Right Wing Could Profit From Fires.
The Popular Orthodox Alarm party of George Karatzaferis, who has pledged to stop illegal immigration of Albanians and has upset Jewish groups with his rhetoric, is expected to reach the three percent threshold in parliamentary elections on September 16.
With opinion polls also showing no party easily winning an outright majority, Karatzaferis could become a powerbroker in a poll seen as crucial for the pace of reform the European Union member nation needs to catch up with its euro zone partners.
Some analysts see similarities between Karatzaferis' LA.O.S. party and other European far-right groups.
"LA.O.S. has elements of other European far-right parties, such as nationalism and intolerance to immigrants," said Dimitis Sotiropoulos of the ELIAMEP think tank.
"But it also has some special characteristics. It is populist and personality-driven."
Karatzaferis, who has called on Greeks to unite against "the enemies" surrounding the nation in a reference to Albania, Macedonia and Turkey, bristles at any comparisons with French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
He denies being a far-rightist, but in previous elections he has recruited members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn group, which has been blamed for violent attacks against leftist groups and immigrants.
"We are against marginalization, xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism. This is clear," he told Reuters. "What we want is to set a limit. How many more can Greece take? And above all, they must come in legally, not jump over the fence."
Conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called a snap election last month to try to win a mandate to push through economic reforms. He hopes to secure a new term on the back of his government's economic record.
Karamanlis told a televised debate on Thursday he would not agree to a coalition if he failed to win enough votes to form a government, but some analysts said this could be a campaign tactic.
Political and financial scandals and the government's reaction to destructive forest fires that killed 65 people have pushed disillusioned voters towards smaller parties.
Many Greeks blame a rising crime wave partly on east European immigrants who fled after the collapse of communism. LA.O.S., which some polls say could win between 3.3 and 4.9 percent of votes, plays on such fears.
Karatzaferis, 60, has also spoken of an unspecified "international conspiracy" aimed at "destroying Greece." But the prospect of entering coalition negotiations after the election has tempered his rhetoric.
Once a fierce opponent of Turkey's bid to join the European Union, he now says Ankara can become a member if it meets pro-EU reforms and resolves the division of the Mediterranean island Cyprus, split into two separate Greek and Turkish communities.
Posters around Athens show Karatzaferis, a former deputy of the ruling conservative party who was expelled in 2000 for criticizing Karamanlis' aides, throwing a punch "against the establishment" with a red boxing glove.
Karatzaferis, who has worked as a journalist and radio producer, has upset the Central Bureau of Jewish Communities of Greece with his rhetoric.
"Repeatedly his newspaper has attacked Jews with very offensive comments," said Bureau president Moses Konstantinis. "There are two openly declared anti-Semites on his ticket."
According to the world-renowned wikipedia (grains of salt warning), here's some background on Karatzaferis:
He has referred to Jews as "God-murderers" (θεοκτόνους in Greek). He has asserted that "Hitler was a mere college-boy compared to the Jews". He has called for Greece to "reconquer" Istanbul, which he refers to as Constantinople, from Turkey within 5 years. He has promoted the myth that 4,000 either Jews or Israelis were warned to stay away from the World Trade Center on 9/11, and that, variously, no Jews or Israelis were killed at the World Trade Center. He has also claimed that 9/11 was planned and executed by Israel. He has defended Jean Marie le Pen, against the "Jewish pens that curse him. They are the same pens that curse and accuse us". In 2000, Karatzaferis claimed that the Protocols of Zion were being put into effect and that "the Pope and the Jews are conspiring against Greece". He has claimed at various times that 136 of Greece's 300 MPs are Freemasons, and that 100 MPs are "passive homosexuals with Albanian stallions". He is an ardent opponent of the so-called "New World Order", which is, he says, a plan to make Greece a puppet of the Jews. From wikipedia:
In 2001, Karatzaferis stated that "the Jews have no right to provoke, because they have filled the world with crimes". "The Jews have no legitimacy to speak in Greece and provoke the political world. Their impudence is crass". In the same tirade, Karatzaferis challenged the Israeli ambassador to come and debate "the Holocaust, the Auschwitz and Dahau myth" and claimed that "the whole world cannot be mad, as everybody throughout history has asked to throw the Jews out". Karatzaferis finished by asking "mister Jew ambassador" to "be a bit careful" and warning "the Jews" that if they continued their "insolent behaviour" they were "not going to have a pleasant time". The "insolent behaviour" in question was the Jewish community's response to Karatzaferis's earlier claims that "the Jews" were responsible for 9/11.
He is, in a word, nuts.
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