Israel hints at ‘broader regional war’, Pakistan criticizes Obama surge, Congress subpoenas the Fed, U.N. tells Israel to ‘fundamentally change policies’, first Gitmo trial to begin, Hizbollah responds to losing election, South African study calls Israel’s policies ‘apartheid’ and colonial’, Venezuela uses military to silence critics.
Israel Defence Minister Ehud Barak “hints broader war in region” (Press TV): “‘The IDF’s future operations will be broader and more demanding in terms of their scope and pace, with more risks than Operation Cast Lead (in the Gaza Strip). We in the political echelon will act so that the ordeal won’t come to pass but, still, you must win every trial,’ The Jerusalem Post quoted Ehud Barak as saying on Tuesday.” Last week, “the Israeli military held its most extensive nationwide drill dubbed ‘Turning Point 3’, preparing itself for a possible regional war by attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
Suicide bomber killed at least five people at The Pearl Continental in Peshawar, Pakistan — a five-star hotel the U.S. was planning to buy and turn into a consulate. Oh, those brown people and their hatred for being under U.S. occupation/freedom. As recently as today, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says Pres. Obama’s “Af-Pak Surge” strategy hurts more than it helps.
U.S. Congress subpoenas the Federal Reserve regarding Bank of America’s takeover of Merrill Lynch. Significance: Then-Treasury Secy. Hank Paulson has been accused of ‘muscling’ banks into the TARP to take bailout money and operate according to King Henry’s wishes. The NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has accused King Henry of forcing the BofA/Merrill transaction.
H.R. 1207, a bill to audit the Federal Reserve introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), now has 207 co-sponsors in the House, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tells Israel to “fundamentally change its policies,” adding that “Palestinians continue to endure unacceptable unilateral actions, such as house demolitions, intensified settlement activity, settler violence, and ever increasing movement restrictions due to permits, checkpoints and the wall and fence barrier.” Israeli soldiers have testified to torturing as young as 14.
U.N. war crimes investigator Judge Richard Goldstone: Prosecution for Gaza war crimes are unlikely. Israel has not cooperated with the investigation. “From a practical political point of view, I wish I could be optimistic,” said Mr. Goldstone, a South African judge known for prosecuting war crimes in the former-Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Mr. Goldstone “hopes his group’s report — due in September — will spur action by other UN bodies and foreign governments”. Several studies have been conducted revealing criminal acts of the IDF.
Gitmo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian man, faces 224 murder charges and 42 conspiracy charges to murder, bomb and maim, use WMD’s against U.S. nationals in a Manhattan courtroom — the first Gitmo detainee to be tried in a U.S. civilian criminal court.
Judge Andrew Napolitano: “As a defendant in federal court, Ghailani will enjoy all the rights and privileges of any defendant in any criminal case in any federal court anywhere in the U.S. He is (a) innocent until proven found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury of his peers, (b) immune from the use of hearsay testimony against him, (c) immune from the use of evidence against him obtained via torture, (d) immune from the firing of the the judge by the prosecutor’s boss if he does not like the judge’s rulings, and (e) guaranteed freedom if acquitted. None of (a) through (e) is the case for military commissions.”
Opposition to official suppression of torture photos and funding the U.S. Third World Robbery Organization (a.k.a. the IMF) continue to stall the U.S. $100bn war funding bill in the House of Reps. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have threatened to blockade all Senate actions until a bill suppressing the torture photos is passed.
CIA director Leon Panetta continues to fearmonger in response to a lawsuit by the ACLU: “The disclosure of intelligence [via interrogation files] about Al Qaeda reasonably could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security by informing our enemies of what we knew about them, and when, and in some instances, how we obtained the intelligence.”
Federal judge enables Chicago Police spying dissolving legal restrictions in place due to its infamous “Red Squad” to “gather intelligence”.
Hizbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah responds to the party’s defeat in Lebanon’s elections last weekend: “These weapons are not to impose political realities. The people had their say freely…. The whole electoral process has proved the integrity of the party that is using those arms…. we accept the result regardless of evidence of voter fraud, sectarian incitement … , the lies that were aimed to intimidate the public opinion … and open foreign interference.” The Hizbollah (March 8) bloc won 57 seats for the minority as the U.S.-backed March 14 opposition — calling for Hizbollah to lay down its arms — won 71 seats. The March 14 faction is accused of rigging the election — financed by U.S.-collaborator Saudi Arabia to buy votes.
“Washington Heaves Sigh of Relief After Allies Win in Lebanon” by Jared Levy: “According to some experts speaking ahead of the elections, a March 8 victory could have led to the U.S. severely curtailing military aid to Lebanon, where the armed forces are considered a unifying institution.” Diplomacy or coercion?
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights is raising concern for the increased number of political kidnappings of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip — calling for political prisoners in Gaza (held by Hamas) and Hamas activists in the West Bank (held by Fatah) to be released immediately.
“Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”, from a South Africa-based Human Sciences Research Council study.
Pushing it’s latest “iron fist” policy, IDF ground troops have once again crossed the border into Gaza while shooting Palestinian fishing boats off the coast.
Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit comments on Obama’s Cairo speech (Antiwar.com): “The adolescent geniuses who wrote Obama’s speech apparently spent no time at all perusing what Osama bin Laden and other Islamists have said or written over the past 13 years, and especially since 2001…. Obama’s Cairo positions are not optimal for bin Laden; they leave untouched, for example, such core demands as the removal of the U.S. military and civilian presence from the Arabian Peninsula and annihilation of the state of Israel.”
Hamas’s political leader, Khaled Meshal, to Obama: Policy changes, not rhetoric is needed. Mr. Meshal expressed that he would “welcome [U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell] with a cup of fine tea” were Mr. Mitchell to want to talk. Mr. Mitchell is in the Middle East, meeting with Israel PM Bibi Netanyahu today, who stated, “Let me be clear. These are not disagreements among adversaries. The U.S. and Israel are and will remain close allies and friends.” Mr. Netanyahu is still pulling his “Obama hates me” act — which is spreading like a cancer among Israeli Zionists — as he cashes checks signed by Obama to terrorize Palestinians. A-Sharq al-Awsat — citing a source in Cairo — reports that Mr. Obama proposed a plan to Egypt and Israel to be finalized by 2011 which includes a Palestinan state. Ha’aretz sources in Egypt say the time frame was presented by the Arab side (presumably Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt) to Obama, then he “transferred the ball into [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s court.”
Consul General of Egypt Hussein Mubarak states in a letter to the NYT: “West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are occupied territories under international law and Security Council resolutions…. building settlements in occupied territories is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which blandly states that ‘the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’…. any weaseling to facilitate new settlements will only complicate the negotiations and undercut the fair resolution of the problem.”
“Obama Talks Democracy, Endorses Dictatorship” by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani republished on ei (originally on IPS and posted on our front page), which is a must-read.
Israeli Minister Yossi Peled wants Israel to sanction the U.S. for Pres. Obama’s rhetoric and intervene in U.S. elections, as if Israel involvement in U.S. elections would be something new. Ever hear the joke: Why doesn’t Israel want to be the 51st state? They’d only get two senators.
“U.N.: Over 100,000 Somalis Have Fled Since May” by Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com): “A  U.S.-backed Somali invasion… gave [the government] a measure of control, but also fueled an Islamist insurgency which has become a growing threat since Ethiopia’s military declared victory and quietly fled the nation. The insurgency has made it unlikely the nation will return to the relatively stable anarchy pre-2005, and now it faces the very real prospect of a Taliban-style autocracy.” Before the invasion, Somalia’s literacy rate grew exponentially under self-government and had the most sophisticated wi-fi network in Africa. The Empire doesn’t care about that — only care is a puppet near Arabia and the Somali oil.
The U.S.-backed “criminal regime” of Georgian President Mikhail Saakshvili was put on mock trial by opposition members in front of the Interior Ministry. The president was represented by a doll and sentenced to “serve time at the ‘dumping ground of history’”. Awesome.
“Venezuela is clamping down on criticism of Hugo Chávez that circulates through the military ranks…. soldiers in the Venezuelan army must now report messages considered offensive, critical or contrary to the government”, reports Casto Ocando in the Miami Herald. (h/t: McClatchy)
“Establishing order and wiping out the terrorist scum must be continued,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, chairing the U.N. Security Council. “This is extremism imported from abroad when some scoundrels come to shit on our territory,” referring to the North Caucasus — Ingushetia, Dagestan, Chechnya and Kabardino-Balkaria — where “peace… is top priority for the Kremlin,” says New Eurasia Foundation President Andrey Kortunov. Mr. Medvedev is so good at making sense on the global economy (relative to other world despots), but he’s another brutal occupier.
The Obama Administration looks to “regulate” executive pay of banksters receiving TARP funds.
Ten banks will repay a total of $68bn of TARP funds.
UPDATE (6:35 PM CST): Supreme Court clears way for sale of Chrysler to Fiat via LAT and NYT…. The SCOTUS temporarily blocked the sale of Chrysler to Fiat. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg halted the sale, contested by bondholders stating the deal “wrongly favors Chrysler’s employees and union workers over secured creditors and that the government wrongly gave the automaker taxpayer money from a fund earmarked for financial institutions.. LAT: “The challenges to the deal involve only a comparatively small amount of money, but they raise large legal and ideological issues.” Fiat can legally abandon the deal if it isn’t finalized by 15th Jun, but doesn’t plan on doing so. UPDATE:
Bankster Cyrus Gardner’s comment in the NYT promotes increased corporatist-fascism via ‘public-private partnerships’ — citing the “partnership model” which “solved” the S&L crisis in the late-80’s, called “aligned interest partnerships”.
Eric Margolis has a great article on some WWII myths (LewRockwell.com): “World War II was not a good and evil struggle between “western democracies” and “totalitarian powers,” as we are still wrongly taught. It was a world conflict over land and resources pitting the British Empire which controlled 25% of the entire globe, the French Empire, Dutch Empire, and Belgian Empire, and, later, the US imperium(Philippines, Pacific possessions, Cuba, Central America), against the Italian and Japanese empires. The Soviet Union was an empire unto itself.”
Milagros Salazar of IPS reports of the struggles of the indigenous people of Peru — saying that 40 civilians manning a roadblock in protest to “unconstitutional government decrees” were killed by police and the bodies are being thrown in the river. InfoShop News is calling for “libertarian solidarity with the Amazonian peoples of Peru”. Amnesty International is reporting nine protesters and 24 police officers killed, with 169 protesters injured and 79 arrested (including minors)
Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan began her visit to Kenya in Nairobi — where “almost two million people live in slums”. Ms. Khan: “The development of slums in urban areas has become the iconic symbol of the forgotten, marginalised people – excluded not only from basic services like sanitation, but also from the decision making that takes place even in their own lives.”
Nigerian activists pledge to continue applying pressure to Royal Dutch Shell over abuses, despite its pledged $15.5m settlement payout.
The Boston Globe union representation (The Boston Newspaper Guild) refused to take pay cuts on Monday to save $10m in costs. $20m in savings is necessary to save the paper. The NYT, who owns the Globe, are on track to lose $85m this year — after losing $50m in 2008 — through the Globe.