Posts Tagged ‘London’

via Kyle Munzenrieder at the Miami New Times blog:

A proposed ordinance will come before the Miami Commission next month that would make it illegal for unauthorized people and groups to feed the homeless in Park West. Commission Chair Marc Sarnoff and other city officials spoke with Miami Today like the homeless in Miami are as disposable and worthless as excess pigeons.

(h/t: Marc Parent)

(more…)

Dr. Murray N. Rothbard on the core tenets of Austrian economics, refuting the irrationality of Marxism, the Labor Theory of Value, and Keynesian intervention from the State. (more…)



The New York Times:

The Israeli military said in a statement that the objective of the ground campaign was “to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas,” the militant Islamic group that controls the area, “while taking control of some of the rocket launching sites” that Hamas uses to fire at southern Israel.

Officials have stated repeatedly that the aim is not to fully reoccupy Gaza. But it was clear that the military was leaving the door open for a long-term operation; a spokesman said Saturday that the ground push “will continue on the basis of ongoing situational assessments.” And it remained an open question whether Israel would try to eliminate the Hamas government.

The NYT relays the Newspeak that basically tells that we have to believe that Israel’s main objective is to take out Hamas, not to commit genocide and further occupy Gaza. If we’re to believe the NYT, we’re to believe that Israel’s sophistication is faltering.

BBC:

Israeli ground troops have started to enter the Gaza Strip, Israeli military officials have confirmed, a week after the offensive against Hamas began.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the intention was to “take control” of areas from which Palestinian militants have been firing rockets into Israel.

A BBC reporter in Gaza says it appears to be a limited operation with 10 to 15 vehicles crossing the northern border.

Earlier, Israel intensified air and artillery attacks on the territory.

In one raid, at least 13 people were killed when a missile struck a crowded mosque in Beit Lahiya, Palestinian medics said.

Witnesses said more than 200 people had been inside the Ibrahim al-Maqadna mosque for evening prayers when it was struck.

Palestinian medics and Hamas officials said they believed dozens were injured. At least one child was among the dead, they added.

Militants in Gaza meanwhile fired more rockets into southern Israel on Saturday, one of which hit the port of Ashdod, injuring two people.

On Friday, Israel allowed hundreds of foreigners to leave Gaza before taunting Gazans with ‘polite’ leaflets in preparation for this well-coordinated attack of Gazans that occured as people were attending weekly Saturday evening prayer services. Gazan health officials report 480 deaths since Israels attacks began over a week ago.

ei posts the report from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights:

As this press release was being translated into English, initial news reported that Israeli aircrafts bombarded al-Makadma Mosque in Beit Lahia while dozens of people were praying in it. Initial news reported that 25 people were killed in this attack, which would further raise the above-mentioned number of casualties of the Israeli operation. [At the time of The Electronic Intifada’s publication of this release, news agencies reported at least 11 were killed.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its strongest possible condemnation of the Israeli military operation against Gaza, which has already caused unprecedented loss of civilian life and suffering for the 1.5 million people living in it. Al Mezan therefore reiterates its calls upon the international community to take effective action to bring to an end these operations without delay. Al Mezan calls upon:

  • The United Nations Secretary-General to condemn the Israeli disproportionate use of force and the targeting of civilians and civilian objects in defiance of peremptory rules of international law;
  • The United Nations agencies to provide urgent humanitarian aid and safe shelters for Gazans who have been displaced and those living in threatened areas
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross to double its efforts to ensure humanitarian access for civilians and ensure tending to the urgent needs for medicines and water;
  • The international community to condemn the grave breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights by Israel in the Gaza Strip, and take concrete steps to bring them to an end;
  • The Human Rights Council to request the UN general Assembly to call for the convening in Switzerland of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War, of 1949, to consider the breaches by Israel of its nonderogable obligations under the Convention in the course of its ongoing military actions in Gaza, and to consider the necessary measures to ensure respect of the rules set out in the Convention and its relevant protocols.
  • Civil societies around the world to exert pressure on their governments so that they act in conformity with the relevant human rights and humanitarian obligations as prescribed in relevant international law.

Using violent or coercive means to meet political ends is the literal defintion of ‘international terrorism’. The TerrorState of Israel’s Defense Minister/Labor Party leader Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister/Kadima Party candidate Tzipi Livni have received rises in polling numbers to challenge the front-runner, hawkish Likud Party candidate Bibi Netanyahu, since the well-orchestrated attaks on Gaza and public opinion began with tacit consent from their suppliers in the US — as we’ve chronicled the Newspeak in this blog as it’s happened:

US weapons are being used for the massacre in Gaza to which the White House and Pres.-elect Obama tryranically (yet, simultaneously cowardly) consent.

AFP: “Mexico Zapatista Leader Slams Obama over Gaza Silence”:

Mexico’s Zapatista rebel leader “Subcomandante” Marcos slammed US president-elect Barack Obama for failing to speak out on Israel’s bombing of Gaza, in a speech on Friday marking the 15th anniversary of his rebellion….

Obama “supports the use of force” against Palestinian people, Marcos said in a speech to some 2,500 leftist politicians and activists from 25 countries.

The Real News Network – “Israel’s Politics Spill into Gaza” – 3 Jan 09 (8:24):

Thousands in London and Paris protest today and Chicagoans (left) did yesterday.

The Arab League (AL) and Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security [sic]  Council (UNSC) expressing “disappointment at the failure of the UN Security Council to take the necessary measures to end the Israeli aggression,” that the UNSC “strongly condemned the brutal and sustained aggression which Israel perpetrates against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds of civilians, leaving thousands injured, and wreaking massive havoc on houses, civic facilities and infrastructure,” proposing a mission of observers “to stem the escalation of the conflict and to ensure the stabilisation of the situation,” and draft a resolution for a cease-fire.

An emergency meeting of the UNSC will convene at 7 PM EST. The US has veto power of any resolution, though the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon is “deeply concerned over the serious further escalation,… conveyed his extreme concern and disappointment” to Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, “is convinced and alarmed that this escalation will inevitably increase the already heavy suffering of the affected civilian populations” and “called for an immediate end to the ground operation.”

AFP: “Iran Security Chief Meets Syria’s Assad over Gaza”:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday met Iran’s Supreme National Security Council chief Saeed Jalili to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip, the official SANA news agency reported.

It said Jalili, who arrived in Damascus on Friday night, and Assad held talks on “the dangerous situation the Palestinian people of Gaza are going through because of the Israeli aggression.”

They discussed the “consequences on security and stability in the region of the Israel’s aggression continuing” and “ways Islamic countries can force Israel to immediately stop the massacres against the Palestinian people, end the Gaza blockade and open the crossing points,” SANA reported.

Jalili told Assad of “Iran’s commitment to cooperation and coordination with Syria on Gaza,” it added.

Israel extends its already tyrannical interference of the press:

“The enemy is trying to break our frequencies… do not listen to this,” said a broadcast on Al-Aqsa radio.

Earlier the radio’s programme was interrupted with a man’s voice speaking in Hebrew-accented Arabic: “Hamas leaders are hiding in the tunnels and are leaving you on the frontline of Israel’s Defence Forces.”

“Hamas leaders are lying to you and they are hiding in hospitals,” he said. “Launching rockets puts civilians in danger.”

Meanwhile a broadcast on Al-Aqsa television was interrupted with an image of a ringing phone that no one was answering.

“Hamas leaders are hiding and they are leaving you on the front line,” says a voice in accented Arabic.

The Israeli army did not have immediate comment.

On Friday, Hamas’s political supremo Khaled Meshaal was calling on Palestinians to rise up against Israel when his picture suddenly disappeared from the Al-Aqsa TV broadcast.

“Hamas has misled you and abandoned you,” a man’s voice said in Arabic. “If you call any leader of Hamas, nobody will answer.”

An Al-Aqsa official said the Israeli army was behind the spoiler interruption, which was repeated several times during the broadcast of what appeared to be a pre-recorded speech.

From our YouTube Playlist, “Israel Attack Gaza,” Saeb Erakat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator on CNN International (2:29):



Xinhua: Palestinian and Egyptian ambassadors to the UN have asked the UN Security Council (UNSC) to bring Israel into compliance with the world call to put an immediate end to the violence and military actions in Gaza.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and urging Mideast and world leaders to do more to help end the Israeli-Hamas conflict and promote political dialogue. Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband has echoed this sentiment. The White House is still talking gibberish condemning Hamas, being ignorant of Israel’s atrocities, and actually thinks people can believe that the US wants to negotiate a “durable cease-fire.”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has spoken out against Israel’s attacks:

“The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible. The Israeli leaders know better,” Kucinich said in a news release on Monday.

The Democratic lawmaker also urged an independent investigation to be led by the United Nations into Israel’s acts of violence.

Kucinich said that he wrote to UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon, urging an ‘independent inquiry of Israel’s war against Gaza’.

“It is time for the UN to not just call for a cease-fire, but for an inquiry as to Israel’s actions,” said Kucinich.

AFP:

Muslim nations on Monday condemned Israel over the deadly air attacks on the Gaza Strip, as European diplomats called for an urgent meeting on the crisis which sparked anti-Israeli protests around Europe.

EU foreign ministers will meet in Paris Tuesday to “look into how the European Union can help ease the current crisis, along with the efforts of the international community, especially the secretary general of the United Nations,” a French foreign ministry statement said.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II urged US President George W. Bush to help end Israel’s air blitz, the palace said.

“Effective international efforts must be launched to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza and end the suffering of the Palestinians,” the king told Bush over the telephone, according to a palace statement.

Other Muslim countries including Indonesia, Afghanistan, Malaysia and Pakistan joined in condemning Israel.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said it was ironic that the raids occurred as people entered the Islamic new year and days before the new year of 2009.

“We should pray that the earth will be more peaceful, but we’ve been torn by the situation in Palestine and Gaza,” Yudhoyono told reporters.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Israel and Palestinian leaders to let urgent medical aid into Gaza, to provide a “humanitarian breathing space” amid the fighting, his spokesman said.

“We are appalled by the continuing violence in Gaza and reiterate our call to Israel and Hamas for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further loss of innocent life,” said a spokesman for Brown.

The special UN envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, and the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency, Karen Abu Zayd, meanwhile protested strongly to Israel after air strikes hit two UN buildings and killed eight of its people.

Gazans have endured oppression that violates International Humanitarian Law for at least 18 months now at the hands of Israel. Recent attacks have been a catalyst for global protests:

Israeli attacks on suspected Hamas strongholds in Gaza have triggered protests in more than a dozen countries.

In London, England, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Israeli Embassy, waving flags and trying to push their way closer to the building, as police tried to hold them back and erect a barricade.

Police in Germany said about 2,000 protesters marched peacefully down Berlin’s Kurfuerstendamm Boulevard and dispersed after about three hours.

Protesters also have taken to the streets in Denmark, France, Italy and Spain, according to news reports. There also were reports of demonstrations in Caracas, Venezuela.

Iranian media reported that thousands took part in anti-Israel demonstrations in Tehran on Monday, which the government declared a day of mourning for the Palestinians in Gaza.

Greek riot police clashed with protesters in Athens during a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy, according to police and images broadcast on state television.

Protesters hurled stones in an attempt to break through the police cordon around the heavily secured embassy. Police responded with tear gas.

In Iraq, hundreds of supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demonstrated in al-Mustansiriya Square in eastern Baghdad. The demonstrators carried Iraqi and Palestinian flags, banners and pictures of al-Sadr and his father.

The demonstrators threw an Israeli flag on the ground, put President Bush’s picture on top of it and set both on fire.

In the Muslim world, demonstrations also were held in Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Libya and Bahrain, the BBC and other news outlets reported.

Also, thousands of Lebanese demonstrators packed the streets of Beirut as part of a rally called by the militant group Hezbollah. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addressed the crowd via satellite from an undisclosed location.

Protests were also held in Israel, where students at universities in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem demonstrated against the Israeli military operation, ynetnews.com reported.



A day after New Kerala reports that Pakistan is refusing to hand over fugitives requested by India, the US wants four ex-ISI officials declared terrorists, and The Times of India reports that India (with the US) has proof of ISI involvement in last week’s Mumbai attacks, but does not condemn the Pakistani administration or civilian armed forces. ( Watch ):

Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who was in Pakistan on Wednesday, is believed to have told his Pakistani interlocutors that Washington had enough evidence to show a Pakistani hand in the attack, the sources said.

Sources here also refuse to believe that the Pakistani army did not have knowledge of the Mumbai operation given that ISI is controlled by it.

At the same time, sources do not believe that the civilian government in Pakistan is involved in the attack. In fact, one view is that the civilian government itself may be a target of the strike which may be used by the army to heighten tensions with India to return to power.

Washington has asked Pakistan to crackdown on Lashkar-e-Taiba, which now goes under the name of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and to arrest its chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed because it has evidence of their involvement in the attack, the sources said.

The attack was planned, equipped and organised in Pakistan where the terrorists were trained and provided logistical support.

Contrary to the version that the terrorists used a hijacked Indian fishing boat to reach Mumbai after sailing from Karachi, the view here is that much more sophisticated means were used.

The sources spoke of a clear disconnect between the Pakistani civilian government and the all-powerful military establishment, which is causing difficulties for India in dealing with the situation.

Islamabad’s about-turn on sending the Director General of ISI to India is cited as an instance of this disconnect.

During a telephone conversation Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the Mumbai attack, President Asif Zardari had referred to an earlier Pakistani proposal for a meeting between the ISI chief and the head of India’s external intelligence agency, RAW.

Singh told Zardari that this was acceptable to India, after which Pakistan government had announced that the ISI head would travel to India.

After a post-midnight call on Zardari by Army chief Gen Ashfaque Kayani this decision was reversed with the President taking cover under a “mis-communication” with the Indian prime minister. Instead it was decided to depute a Director-level officer to India.

When the terror attack took place Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was in India and had consciously decided not to cut short his visit. However, the Indian government was told at 2.30 am that a special aircraft was being sent less than 4 hours later to take him back to Pakistan.

In what observers see as a clear message to the civilian government, the Pakistan army chief’s plane was sent to Delhi to pick up Qureshi, who boarded the flight around 7 am.

The view here is that the Pakistan army is using the current developments as a way out of the difficult situation it faces in the areas bordering Afghanistan where its writ does not run. Some 900 desertions are said to have taken place from the army.

Where this sounds like tough talk from India and the the US, this analysis of ISI is consistent with counter-terrorism and international media analysis throughout this decade.

Pakistan is a nuclear power, but there is much confusion about their new president, widower of Benazir Bhutto, Azif Ali Zardari, and prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani — both members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

ISI was an agency much more closely related to the office of the president under Former Pres. Gen. Pervez Musharraf. It’s never been a secret that ISI supported Musharraf’s regime which was democratically overthrown by the PPP — a socio-populist party that supports democracy, not “Islamo-fascism” or imperialism or Sharia Law or moral relativism toward terrorist aggression. Indian officials, consistent with US suspicion, are implying that ISI is a rogue agency within the Pakistani power structure.

Earlier this week, I briefly touched on ISI’s relation to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) aka Jama’at-ud-Da’awa (JuD):

According to the South Asian Terrorism Portal, the LA Times, The Weekly Standard, and many other publications and experts directly link ISI to LeT.

Pakistani PM Yousaf Raza Giliani confirmed last Wednesday that ISI’s political wing had been “disbanded” by what the Pakistanis refer to as the “civilian government.”

Conflict between ISI and the PPP is nothing new. Suspicions have always surrounded their political wing of rigging elections against the PPP as they were ‘monitoring’ the integrity of those elections.

The BBC News profile of ISI months after 9/11 is telling:

Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency has been accused of propelling the Taleban to power in Afghanistan and supporting militants fighting India in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Critics of the shadowy Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), believed to have worked closely with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, say it is a “rogue agency” – functioning as an “invisible government”….

Following an attack on the Indian parliament – blamed by Delhi on Pakistan-based Kashmiri militants – General Musharraf is now believed to have ordered the ISI to prevent further attacks by militants in India that could precipitate all-out war.

But India holds General Musharraf himself responsible for an outbreak of hostilities in Kashmir in 1999 – and there are questions about the extent of central control over the ISI.

Some Pakistani politicians have railed at what they claimed was the ISI’s failure to answer to the government – or even to the army command.

ISI ‘dictates policy’

“It is a state within a state,” says Wajid Shamsul Hasan, a former Pakistani High Commissioner in Britain who is close to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“Pakistan’s foreign policy has been run by the ISI rather than the foreign office,” he said….

“Under civilian rule the ISI had a fair amount of independence,” says Gary Samore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. “Under Musharraf, they’re answerable.”

Mr Hasan, however, said: “Musharraf has made a few changes but the fact of the matter is that the organisation is too big and self-interested.”…

Kashmiri ‘freedom movement’

Asked whether the ISI was sponsoring attacks in Kashmir, General Gul said: “I would say it’s the freedom movement… They are fighting Indian occupation.”

For more on this and other suspicions, see the Federation of American Scientists Intelligence Report on ISI in July 2002:

The ISI continued to actively participate in Afghan Civil War, supporting the Taliban in their fight against the Rabbani government. Backing of the Taliban would officially end after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; however, there are suspicions that sympathetic elements of the ISI continue to aid Taliban fighters.

ISI has been engaged in covertly supporting the Kashmiri Mujahideen in their fight against the Indian authorities in Kashmir. Reportedly “Operation Tupac” was the designation of the three part action plan for the capture of Kashmir through proxy warfare, initiated by President Zia Ul Haq in 1988 after the failure of “Operation Gibraltar.”

According to a report compiled by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) of India in 1995, ISI spent about Rs 2.4 crore per month to sponsor its activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Although all groups reportedly received arms and training from Pakistan, the pro-Pakistani groups were reputed to be favored by the ISI. As of May 1996, at least six major militant organizations, and several smaller ones, operated in Kashmir. Their forces were variously estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 armed men.

The oldest and most widely known militant organization, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), spearheaded the movement for an independent Kashmir. This group declared a cease-fire in 1994. The most powerful of the pro-Pakistani groups is the Hezb-ul-Mujahedin. The other major groups are Harakat-ul Ansar, a group which reportedly has a large number of non-Kashmiris in it, Al Umar, Al Barq, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Lashkar-e Toiba, which is also made up largely of fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many of these militants were trained in Afghanistan, where several ISI agents were killed during U.S. air strikes in 1998 against terrorist training camps. Since the defeat of the Taliban, militant training camps have moved to Pakistani Kashmir.

In September 2006, BBC News discovered a leaked paper from a UK Ministry of Defence think-tank stating on Pakistan (NOTE: One of the ex-ISI agents the US wants declared a terrorist, Lt. Gen. Hameed Gul, defends ISI in this profile.):

The Army’s dual role in combating terrorism and at the same time promoting the MMA and so indirectly supporting the Taliban (through the ISI) is coming under closer and closer international scrutiny….

[The West has] turned a blind eye towards existing instability and the indirect protection of Al Qaeda and promotion of terrorism.

Indirectly Pakistan (through the ISI) has been supporting terrorism and extremism – whether in London on 7/7 or in Afghanistan or Iraq.

The US/UK cannot begin to turn the tide until they identify the real enemies from attacking ideas tactically – and seek to put in place a more just vision. This will require Pakistan to move away from Army rule and for the ISI to be dismantled and more significantly something to be put in its place.

The most recent credible report comes from, arguably, the most powerful private organization to influence American foreign policy: the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a nonpartisan think-tank on international affairs. I highly suggest reading the full report. Here are excerpts:

Many in the Pakistani government, including slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, have called the intelligence agency “a state within a state,” working beyond the government’s control and pursuing its own foreign policy.

Constitutionally, the agency is acountable to the prime minister, says Hassan Abbas, research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. But most officers in the ISI are from the army, so that is where their loyalties and interests lie, he says. Experts say until the end of 2007, as army chief and president, Musharraf exercised firm control over the intelligence agency. But by late 2008 it was not clear how much control the new civilian government in Pakistan had over the agency. In July 2008, the Pakistani government announced the ISI will be brought under the control of the interior ministry, but revoked its decision (BBC)“virtually no control” (PDF) over the army and the ISI. within hours. Bruce Riedel, an expert on South Asia at the Brookings Institution, says the civilian leadership has In September 2008, army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani replaced the ISI chief picked by Musharraf with Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Some experts say the move signals that Kiyani is consolidating his control over the intelligence agency by appointing his man at the top. In November 2008, the government, in another move to rein in the agency, disbanded ISI’s political wing, which politicians say was responsible for interfering in domestic politics. Some experts saw it as a move by the army, which faced much criticism when Musharraf was at the helm, to distance itself from politics….

With a reported staff of ten thousand, ISI is hardly monolithic: “Like in any secret service, there are rogue elements,” says Frederic Grare, a South Asia expert and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He points out that many of the ISI’s agents have ethnic and cultural ties to Afghan insurgents, and naturally sympathize with them. Marvin G. Weinbaum, an expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Middle East Institute, says Pakistan has sent “retired” ISI agents on missions the government could not officially endorse.

there appears to be division within the ISI.

… Weinbaum in 2006 said the Pakistani military has largely ignored Taliban fighters on its soil. “There are extremist groups that are beyond the pale with which the ISI has no influence at all,” he says. “Those are the ones they go after.”

Pakistan does not enjoy good relations with the current leadership of Afghanistan, partly because of rhetorical clashes with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and partly because Karzai has made strong ties to India.

According to Weinbaum, Pakistan has two policies. One is an official policy of promoting stability in Afghanistan; the other is an unofficial policy of supporting jihadis in order to appease political forces within Pakistan. “The second [policy] undermines the first one,” he says. Nawaz says there is ambivalence within the army regarding support for the Taliban. “They’d rather not deal with the Afghan Taliban as an adversary,” he says.

Note: The report contains quotes in defense of the ISI from former agents and end of the CFR report refutes that of the prior cited UK think-tank RE: London’s 7/7 bombings.