Israel Treated Gaza Like Its Own Private Death Laboratory
13 Feb 2009
Israel tested out a "focused lethality" weapon that minimizes explosive damage to structures while inflicting catastrophic wounds on its victims.
Erik Fosse, a Norwegian cardiologist, worked in Gaza hospitals during the recent war."It was as if they had stepped on a mine," he says of certain Palestinian patients he treated. "But there was no shrapnel in the wound. Some had lost their legs. It looked as though they had been sliced off. I have been to war zones for 30 years, but I have never seen such injuries before."
Dr. Fosse was describing the effects of a U.S. "focused
lethality" weapon that minimizes explosive damage to
structures while inflicting catastrophic wounds on its
victims. But where did the Israelis get this weapon? And was
their widespread use in the attack on Gaza a field test for
a new generation of explosives?
DIMEd to Death
The specific weapon is called a Dense Inert Metal
Explosive (DIME). In 2000, the U.S. Air Force
teamed up with the University of California's Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory. The weapon wraps high
explosives with a tungsten alloy and other metals like
cobalt, nickel, or iron in a carbon fiber/epoxy container.
When the bomb explodes the container evaporates, and the
tungsten turns into micro-shrapnel that is extremely lethal
within a 13-foot radius. Tungsten is inert, so it doesn't
react chemically with the explosive. While a non-inert metal
like aluminum would increase the blast, tungsten actually
contains the explosion to a limited area.
Within the weapon's range, however, it's inordinately lethal. According to Norwegian doctor Mad Gilbert, the blast results in multiple amputations and "very severe fractures. The muscles are sort of split from the bones, hanging loose, and you also have quite severe burns." Most of those who survive the initial blast quickly succumb to septicemia and organ collapse. "Initially, everything seems in orderbut it turns out on operation that dozens of miniature particles can be found in all their organs," says Dr. Jam Brommundt, a German doctor working in Kham Younis, a city in southern Gaza. "It seems to be some sort of explosive or shell that disperses tiny particlesthat penetrate all organs, these miniature injuries, you are not able to attack them surgically." According to Brommundt, the particles cause multiple organ failures.
If by some miracle victims resist those conditions, they are almost certain to develop rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a particularly deadly cancer that deeply embeds itself into tissue and is almost impossible to treat. A 2005 U.S. Department of health study found that tungsten stimulated RMS cancers even in very low doses. All of the 92 rats tested developed the cancer.
While DIMEs were originally designed to avoid "collateral" damage generated by standard high-explosive bombs, the weapon's lethality and profound long-term toxicity hardly seem like an improvement.
It appears DIME weapons may have been used in the 2006
Israeli invasion of Lebanon, but not enough to alarm medical
workers. But in Gaza, the ordinance was widely used.
Al-Shifta alone has seen 100 to 150 victims of these
Gaza as Test
Dr. Gilbert told the Oslo Gardermoen, "there is a strong suspicionthat Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons."
DIME is a U.S. invention. Did the Israelis get the weapons from the United States, or did they design similar ones themselves? Given the close relations between the two militaries, it isn't unlikely that the U.S. Air Force supplied the weapons or, at least, the specifications on how to construct them. And since the United States has yet to use the device in a war, it would certainly benefit from seeing how these new "focused lethality" weapons worked under battlefield conditions.
Marc Garlasco, Human Rights Watch's senior military advisor, says "it remains to be seen how Israel has acquired the technology, whether they purchased weapons from the United States under some agreement, or if they in fact licensed or developed their own type of munitions."
DIME weapons aren't banned under the Geneva Conventions because they have never been officially tested. However, any weapon capable of inflicting such horrendous damage is normally barred from use, particularly in one of the most densely populated regions in the world.
For one thing, no one knows how long the tungsten remains
in the environment or how it could affect people who return
to homes attacked by a DIME. University of Arizona cancer
researcher Dr. Mark Witten, who investigates links between
tungsten and leukemia,
says that in his opinion "there needs to be much more
research on the health effects of tungsten before the
military increases its usage."
DIMEs weren't the only controversial weapons used in Gaza. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also made generous use of white phosphorus, a chemical that burns with intense heat and inflicts terrible burns on victims. In its vapor form it also damages breathing passages. International law prohibits the weapon's use near population areas and requires that "all reasonable precautions" be taken to avoid civilians.
Israel initially denied using the chemical. "The IDF acts only in accordance with what is permitted by international law and does not use white phosphorus," said Israel's Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on January 13.
But eyewitness accounts in Gaza and Israel soon forced the IDF to admit that they were, indeed, using the substance. On January 20, the IDF confessed to using phosphorus artillery shells as smokescreens, as well as 200 U.S.-made M825A1 phosphorus mortar shells on "Hamas fighters and rocket launching crews in northern Gaza."
Three of those shells hit the UN Works and Relief Agency compound on January 15, igniting a fire that destroyed hundreds of tons of humanitarian supplies. A phosphorus shell also hit Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City. The Israelis say there were Hamas fighters near the two targets, a charge that witnesses adamantly deny.
Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International said: "Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely-populated residential neighborhoodsand its toll on civilians is a war crime."
Israel is also accused of using depleted uranium ammunition (DUA), which a UN sub-commission in 2002 found in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the International Convention Against Torture, the Conventional Weapons Convention, and the Hague Conventions against the use of poison weapons.
DUA isn't highly radioactive, but after exploding, some
of it turns into a gas that can easily be inhaled. The dense
shrapnel that survives also tends to bury itself deeply,
leaching low-level radioactivity into water-tables.
Other human-rights groups, including B'Tselem, Gisha, and Physicians for Human Rights, charge that the IDF intentionally targeted medical personal, killing over a dozen, including paramedics and ambulance drivers.
The International Federation for Human Rights called on the UN Security Council to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes.
Although the Israelis dismiss the war-crimes charges, the fact that the Israeli cabinet held a special meeting on January 25 to discuss the issue suggests they're concerned about being charged with "disproportionate" use of force. The Geneva Conventions require belligerents to at "all times" distinguish between combatants and civilians and to avoid "disproportionate force" in seeking military gains.
Hamas' use of unguided missiles fired at Israel would also be a war crime under the Conventions.
"The one-sidedness of casualty figures is one measure of disproportion," says Richard Falk, the UN's human rights envoy for the occupied territories. A total of 14 Israelis have been killed in the fighting, three of them civilians killed by rockets, 11 of them soldiers, four of the latter by "friendly fire." Some 50 IDF soldiers were also wounded.
In contrast, 1,330 Palestinians have died and 5,450 were injured, the overwhelming bulk of them civilians.
"This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of
the laws of warfare, which we ask to be investigated by the
Commission of War Crimes," a coalition of Israeli human
rights groups and Amnesty International
said in a joint statement. "The responsibility of the
state of Israel is beyond doubt."
Enter the Hague?
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann would coordinate the defense of any soldier or commander charged with a war crime. In any case, the United States would veto any effort by the UN Security Council to refer Israelis to the International Court at The Hague.
But, as the Financial Times points out, "all countries have an obligation to search out those accused of 'grave' breaches of the rules of war and to put them on trial or extradite them to a country that will."
That was the basis under which the British police arrested Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.
"We're in a seismic shift in international law," Amnesty International legal advisor Christopher Hall told the Financial Times, who says Israel's foreign ministry is already examining the risk to Israelis who travel abroad.
"It's like walking across the street against a red light," he says. "The risk may be low, but you're going to think twice before committing a crime or traveling if you have committed one."
13 Feb 2009
Wright and Code Pink are also planning fundraising events to aid women's groups in Gaza for International Women's Day. You can find out more here.
Source: Grit TV
13 Feb 2009
The United Nations strives to provide relief to one million people daily inside a coastal sliver that is home to 1.5 million people, Ban said during a news conference on Tuesday.
Israel, however, is only allowing supplies enough for 30,000 people to get through and only from one crossing, he added.
"We are experiencing serious difficulty in getting all the materials, humanitarian assistance, so it is absolutely necessary that they open the crossings," the secretary general affirmed while announcing plans to launch a probe into Israel's bombing of UN compounds during its war on the Gazan population.
Ban told reporters that although Israel has completely ignored his calls, he "will continue to urge that" Tel Aviv allow more aid into the Palestinian strip.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has largely criticized Ban for being too timid on the extent of an inquiry into Israel's attack on its facilities.
"What is needed is a comprehensive international investigation that looks at all alleged violations of international law by all armed groups involved in the conflict," Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International, said in an announcement.
Khan added that researchers have found clear evidence of war crimes during the operation - in which more than 1300 Gazans have been killed and over 5300 others have been injured.
13 Feb 2009
Government officials fear that recent media revelations relating to Col Sharvit-Baruch's role in the Gaza operation may assist human rights groups seeking to bring Israeli soldiers to trial abroad.
A Spanish judge began investigating Israeli war crimes in Gaza under the country's "universal jurisdiction" laws this month, and a prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague is considering a Palestinian group's petition to indict Israeli commanders.
Meanwhile, the furore by highlighting the close ties between the army and Israeli universities is adding weight to a growing campaign in Europe and the US to impose an academic boycott on Israel, say activists.
Tel Aviv University's decision to hire Col Sharvit-Baruch to teach international law prompted protests from staff after the local media published details of the military planning for the Gaza offensive.
More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed during the operation, the majority of them civilians, and thousands were injured.
According to critics quoted by the Haaretz newspaper, Col Sharvit-Baruch and her staff manipulated standard interpretations of international law to expand the scope of army operations to include civilian targets.
Leading the protest is Haim Ganz, a law professor who has called the colonel's approach to international law "devious jurisprudence that permits mass killing". In a letter to the university, Prof Ganz said he was lodging "a moral protest against a state of affairs where somebody who authorized these actions is teaching the law of war".
Last week Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, threatened to cut government funding for the law faculty should Col Sharvit-Baruch's appointment not proceed. The university's president, Zvi Galil, phoned the cabinet secretary to reassure the government, saying Prof Ganz's opinions were not shared by most staff.
Other academics have rallied in support of Col Sharvit-Baruch, accusing her critics of waging a McCarthyite campaign against her.
According to the Israeli media, she personally approved the first wave of air strikes in Gaza that targeted a police graduation ceremony, killing at least 40 cadets.
Although police forces have civilian status in international law, and are therefore protected from military reprisal, Col Sharvit-Baruch is reported to have revised her opinion of the attack's legality during the many months of planning.
In addition, she is said to have "relaxed" the rules of engagement, approved widespread house demolitions and the uprooting of farmland, and sanctioned the use of incendiary weapons such as white phosphorus over the densely populated enclave.
She also offered legal justification for the targeting of buildings in which civilians were known to be located as long as they had been warned first to leave. Schools, mosques and a university were among the many civilian buildings shelled by the Israeli army during the 22-day operation.
Her decisions have been widely criticized by international human rights organisations as well as by international law experts in Israel.
The professor Yuval Shany, who teaches public international law at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, called her interpretation of the rules of war "flexible". Regarding the strike against the police cadets, he said: "If you follow that line, there is not much that differentiates [the cadets] from [Israeli] reservists or even from 16-year-olds who will be drafted [into the Israeli army] in two years."
Col Sharvit-Baruch's predecessor, Daniel Reisner, noted that her staff had stretched the accepted meanings of international law. The army's operating principle, he added, was: "If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it."
Orna Ben-Naftali, the dean of law at the College of Management in Rishon Letzion, said the army's conduct in Gaza had made international law "bankrupt". "A situation is created in which the majority of the adult men in Gaza and the majority of the buildings can be treated as legitimate targets. The law has actually been stood on its head."
But despite the protest at Tel Aviv University, most academic staff in Israel supported Col Sharvit-Baruch's appointment, said Daphna Golan, a program director at the Minerva Center for Human Rights at Hebrew University. "I think even Prof Ganz has been frightened into silence by the backlash."
The episode, she said, highlighted the intimate relations between the army and universities in Israel, as well as the dependence of the universities on army funding.
She noted that there were many special programs designed to favour army and security personnel by putting them on a fast track to degrees.
"Most of the professors in the country's Middle East departments the 'experts on Arabs' who shape the perceptions of the next generation are recruited from the army or the security services," she added.
Omar Barghouti, a co-ordinator of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, said Col Sharvit-Baruch's employment was a further indication of the "organic ties" between Israeli institutions and the army.
"This just adds one more soldier to an already very long list of war criminals roaming around freely in Israeli universities, teaching hate, racism and warmongering, with impunity," he said.
He noted that calls for an academic boycott were growing in the wake of the Gaza offensive.
Al-Quds University, with campuses in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, severed its contacts with Israeli universities last week. It had been the last Palestinian university to maintain such ties.
At the same time, a group of US professors announced that they were campaigning for an academic boycott of Israel the first time such a call has been heard in the US.
Mr Barghouti said an "unprecedented" groundswell of popular opinion was behind new campaigns in countries such as Australia, Spain, Sweden, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest book is "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net
13 Feb 2009
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13 Feb 2009
In solidarity with Gaza, Venezuela expelled Israel's ambassador at the start of the bombardment and then broke off all diplomatic relations two weeks later. Israel need not worry since Ottawa plans to help out. On 29 January, The Jerusalem Post reported that "Israel's interests in Caracas will now be represented by the Canadian Embassy." This means Canada is officially Israel, at least in Venezuela.
Prior to the recent bombing in Gaza, the Harper
government made it abundantly clear that it would support
Israel no matter what that country did. It publicly endorsed
Israel's 2006 attack on Lebanon, voted against a host of UN
resolutions supporting Palestinian rights and in January
2008 refused to criticize illegal Israeli settlement
construction at Har Homa near Jerusalem (even Washington
publicly criticized these settlements). Canada was also the
first country (after Israel) to cut off financial aid to the
elected Hamas government and Ottawa has provided millions of
dollars as well as personnel to create a US-trained
Palestinian police force to act as a counterweight to the
Hamas government and to oversee Israel's occupation.
Harper's support for Israel is extreme, but despite what many well-meaning commentators claim, it is not a break from Canada's role as an "honest broker" in the Arab-Israeli conflict. There is a long history of Canadian support for Zionism, a European settler ideology that has violently dispossessed Palestinians for more than six decades.
The idea for a Middle Eastern Jewish homeland to serve Western imperial interests has a long history in Canada. Since at least the 1870s Christian Zionists called for their biblical prophesies to be fulfilled under British auspices. By November 1915, Solicitor General (and then Prime Minister) Arthur Meighen publicly proclaimed, "I think I can speak for those of the Christian faith when I express the wish that God speed the day when the land of your [Jewish] forefathers shall be yours again. This task I hope will be performed by that champion of liberty the world over the British Empire." Two decades later Prime Minister RB Bennett began a national radio broadcast of the United Palestine Appeal with a speech about how the Balfour declaration and British control over Palestine was a step towards Biblical prophecies. "Scriptural prophecy is being fulfilled," he noted. "The restoration of Zion has begun."
During the 1947 UN negotiations over the British mandate of historic Palestine, Canada played an important role in creating Israel. Lester Pearson (then under-secretary of state for External Affairs) who chaired two different UN committees dealing with the mandate and Supreme Court Justice Ivan C. Rand, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), played central roles in the negotiations that led to partition. In State in the Making, David Horowitz (the first governor of the Bank of Israel and first director general of Israel's ministry of finance) writes: "It may be said that Canada more than any other country played a decisive part in all stages of the UNO [United Nations Organization] discussions of Palestine."
The UN's 1948 partition plan gave the new Jewish state the majority of Palestine despite the Jewish population owning roughly seven percent of the land and representing a third of the population. Rand's assistant on UNSCOP, Leon Mayrand, provides a window into the dominant mindset at External Affairs: "The Arabs were bound to be vocal opponents of partition but they should not be taken too seriously. The great majority were not yet committed nationalists and the Arab chiefs could be appeased through financial concessions, especially if these accompanied a clearly declared will to impose a settlement whatever the means necessary." A dissident within External Affairs, the department's only Middle East expert, Elizabeth MacCallum, claimed Ottawa supported partition, "because we didn't give two hoots for democracy."
Above all else support for partition was driven by a geostrategic worldview. An internal report circulated at External Affairs explained: "The plan of partition gives to the western powers the opportunity to establish an independent, progressive Jewish state in the Eastern Mediterranean with close economic and cultural ties with the West generally and in particular with the United States." The Ottawa mandarins largely supported Israel as a possible western outpost in the heart of the (oil-producing) Middle East.
When the first Palestinian intifada broke out in 1987, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) that Israel's brutal suppression of rock throwing Palestinian youth was handling the situation with "restraint." When questioned by a CBC reporter about the similarity between the plight of Palestinians and Blacks in South Africa, Mulroney replied that any comparison between Israel and South Africa was "false and odious and should never be mentioned in the same breath."
A decade later, Ottawa signed a free trade agreement with Israel. It was only Canada's fourth free trade agreement. Begun January 1997, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of where Israel's custom laws are applied.
The political motivation for supporting Israel has not changed significantly over the years. The government in Ottawa today receives limited electoral support from the Jewish community, but is close to a right-wing Christian Zionist movement. Most importantly, the Harper government strongly supports Western (US-led) imperialism in the Middle East. This is why Canada has taken over Israeli diplomacy in Venezuela.
Yves Engler is the author of the forthcoming Canada on the World Stage: A Force for Good or Bad Actor? and other books. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
13 Feb 2009
No one in Mainstream US media, is addressing the real problem which is, the fact that nothing contrary to Zionist, Israeli and American Jewish lobbies, AIPAC and other Pacs interests, which are all-dominating in the American political scene, will go very far. Anyone who supports such a move will have no tomorrow in American politics or business. They will be Finkelsteined to death by the Zionist assassins.
Recently, a group of very high-minded and virtuous but, retired diplomats and academics who do not owe their future success to AIPAC or any Israeli lobbies, asked the question: "Can Obama Untangle the Iranian Challenge?" But the question they should be asking is: "Can Obama escape the dominating influence of AIPAC and the American Jewish/Zionist Israeli lobby?"
The answer is "probably not and live."
It isn't enough, I think, just to point out that in the US, Jews have acquired the lion's share of many key political appointments in the US Administration. It is a known fact and I iterate it was 56% in the Clinton years, and almost the same in the Bush years and we are beginning to see the same shape in the formation of Obama administration. Even that Congress has been largely compromised by AIPAC and the brigade of Jewish PACs in the US is all true, and apparent of course.
In my recent essay I mentioned my fading faith, hope,
trust and expectations in Barack O'Bama. That was before I
read Christopher Bollyn's article illustrating the Israeli
Zionists in the Obama Administration and the US Government,
The Israeli Who Runs the Obama White House - bollyn and
the way they "fixed" the entire US Presidential elections,
and created a dramatic charade, including the comedy team of
McCain and Palin. With Obama refurnishing the White House
with Clinton leftovers and resurrections, it is beginning to
look like business as usual and nothing has changed since
the regime of Lyndon Johnson, the Clintons, the Bushes, et
The New Emperor's new robes are being cut and tailored of the same material and by the same City Island tailors as his predecessors!
So much for dreams, ideals, hope and promises of change.
The question is why a large majority of the American people go along with this entire exercise? And when did it all start?
The answer to the second question came from an Israeli diplomat who lectured to a class at Georgetown in the late 1980s, I am told by Professor Alan Sabrosky, who taught at the University, a course on Comparative Foreign Policy, among others, and had 3-4 diplomats from different countries in to the class each semester that at dinner with the Israeli diplomat and two students, he remarked during the conversation that the real turning point in Israel's approach to the US had come in the wake of the 1956 War, when President Eisenhower had ordered Israel, Britain and France to "cease & desist" and return home. He said the Israeli Embassy tried to get to Congress to reverse that decision, and found that in fact they had access to only two "minor Congressional offices" (his phrase, I remember it clearly says Prof. Alan Sabrosky). So, they set about crafting a network of PACs and other things to reverse that state of affairs. One of the students asked "how many Congressional offices they could access successfully now?" (that was in late 1980s please note) and with a satisfied smile, he remarked "Almost all of them." The students faces registered astonishment, so he quickly added words to the effect that "But of course, we don't control them, they still act in the best interests of the American people," but the students didn't believe him, and there you have it ."
Admittedly, the more I read, the More I realize why it took the American people so long to react to Bush Administration idiocy. Too many obstacles, making it a monumental task.
I suppose when so many people in comparable positions have a consensus on something (like "thou shalt not allow criticism of Israel"), you don't need a conspiracy. There are so many Jewish PACs, besides AIPAC. There exists a coordinating agency called "The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations," Their website (www.conferenceofpresidents.org/) is worth exploring (and AIPAC is just one of literally dozens of organizations under its umbrella).
With all the money, political and corporate connections they have at their disposal they must certainly have a tremendously powerful influence over the ambitious and greedy men and women who enter politics. But to practically dominate everyone in the game, including those with the popular support which both Obama and Bush have experienced, and including the statistical minority of what I might assume to be "honest men of principle," (or am I being naive in believing that any such still exist?) is astounding.
The answer to the first question is partly because a key part of that program, has been the steady diet of images fed to the general American population. For bad or worse, a large majority of the general American public get their impressions and opinions about the world at large from fiction: movies, television shows, and novels. For half a century, thanks to many of the people who sit on the Boards of Directors and in the executive suites of studios and networks, they have been fed a constant stream of messages around certain core themes: (a) poor, brave, misunderstood little Israel as America's only true friend in the world; (b) the dirty, dangerous, barbaric, and malevolent Arab as the direct lineal successor to the architects of the Holocaust; and (c) more recently, Islam through Islamic terr'rists as the only direct threat to Israel, the United States, and Western civilization and culture generally. Those messages until recently were rarely in the form of the "in-your-face" overt propaganda, but a form of low-level political socialization that becomes part of the background against which opinions are formed, and thus more pervasive and more enduring than mass parades with people carrying banners and shouting slogans. After more than a half-century of this "diet," the dumbest had a greater capacity for independent thought than the average American hearing the words "Israel" and "(Palestinian) Arab."
This "steady diet of imagery" coming out of Hollywood and the Infotainment Industry for nearly a hundred years now has been insidious and we cannot ignore who the initial investors and funders of the industry were, and still are, and where they came from.
A great proportion of those beautiful and handsome "movie stars" with the exotic names who set the scene for what the "normal" American should strive to become, were of Eastern European extraction. Google and then try to persuade me that they are proportionally representative of the incidence of Jewry in the American population. Check the names of Studio Owners, Producers, Directors, Writers, any one in the Movie and Infotainment profession, and tell me that they are proportionally representative!
Hollywood is and has been for nearly a century, one of the most intense and tightly organized, efficient and malevolent propaganda and thought control machines in the world. It was during the Korean War that the US Government invented and promoted what they called "brainwashing," which they attributed to the North Koreans, but which they have been employing in Hollywood for fifty or sixty years already. One cannot over-emphasize the "images" aspect insofar as the general American public is concerned, and how it enables AIPAC and company to leverage Congress. And it is not only Hollywood and the New York TV industry; it is also publishing houses and major newspaper chains, all of which send images to the public. These have increasingly over more than a half-century molded how most Americans "feel" about the Middle East, and Israel and the Arab (now more broadly Muslim) states/peoples in particular. And especially Israel as a state and Arabs as people, now terr'rists, have become embedded in their cultural and emotional background.
So when anti-apartheid leaders like Nelson Mandela and
Archbishop Desmond Tutu are dis-invited from lecturing at
American colleges and universities because of their public
opposition to Israel's maltreatment of the Palestinians, and
plays like "My
Name is Rachel Corrie" is scrubbed from major theaters
(but does appear in smaller ones), all under pressure from
Jewish organizations and donors, virtually no one thinks to
quarrel with the decisions, or even wonder why.
Can President Obama change anything?
Yep! He could start 1) Appoint some people that represent real change such as Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Paul Krugman, Paul Findley or Robert Reich, Ariana Huffington, Robert Kennedy Jr., Paul Craig Roberts, some folks from The Nation, etc.
2) Keep the discussion on the costs of 2 very expensive wars that have accomplished next to nothing (other than enriching the war profiteers). (Seven years and still no Osama bin Laden; can you imagine fighting WWII and say you could never find Hitler??)
3) Use money for the crumbling infrastructure in the U.S. Discuss costs in terms of Months of Iraq War/Occupation how many MIWs for the loan to the Big Three auto companies or how many MIWs for Universal Health Care coverage etc.
4) Get to the root cause of Arab frustration and anger
festering for decades. For starters, by simply ordering that
Israel immediately lift the Gaza blockade, so Palestinians
smoldering from the Israeli siege that killed 1,285 people -
nearly 70% of them civilians, destroyed at least 4,000
homes, that sent more than 50,000 people to temporary
shelters in the recent blitz, could begin to get bread,
clean water, medicines and electricity, the basic essentials
for their survival. His silence on the issue speaks louder
Yes, he can, but he won't!
Even as President, he is powerless without his support system, and it apparently is AIPAC.
He could appoint anyone he wanted, and I have no doubt it would be a simple matter to find men and women of high ideals and standards who would willingly go to work to correct many of the ills which affect US Government and which we had hoped he would attack, and correct if that were his objective.
But, it makes little difference, however, whether that is his objective or not, because it would be absolutely impossible to carry it out against the will of AIPAC!
If he were to promote a program which went against the aims of AIPAC, with the entrenched powers and the deep penetration they have infiltrated throughout the system, he and his loyal Lieutenants would never find sufficient and dedicated people who would be willing to sacrifice their careers in government service, nor their passes through that revolving door between government, and Corporate/Self-service, of which AIPAC is the doorman, and the overseer and keeper of the Chalice of Post-Government Service lucrative relocation and $ucce$$.
For most of that hustling crowd in Washington, D.C., government service is a short-time stepping stone to bigger and better things. That AIPAC doorman guards the gates to the afterlife.
Walt and Mersheimer are correct! "They" run the show! They write the script, stage the production, sell the tickets, usher the audience to their seats, operate the lights and stage effects, write the Sunday morning reviews, and select casts for the next production. They also take the receipts to their own bank.
The Presidency and every simple job in US Government is controlled by the Israel Lobby. If they do not actually select those who get the positions, they certainly ensure that those whom they do not want to have them do not! If you wish to apply for a position trimming hedges on the landscaping staff of the White House, it is best to drop in and pay your respects at the local AIPAC office and the synagogue on your way to the Employment Office.
About the author: Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. She can be reached at email@example.com.