~General Petraeus has been less than truthful about the gains made in Afghanistan. I guess that makes him a perfect fit for the CIA? 90% of the people Petraeus claimed were Taliban insurgents were actually civilians who had to be released by U.S. forces. It’s disturbing how Congress, the WH and think tank commentators seems to worship this particular General as though he walks on water and can do no wrong. The guy is a one-man propaganda machine.
~An Israeli American has been arrested in Egypt on charges of spying for Israel. At this point, there is no way to determine if this is true. Unfortunately, some Middle Eastern regimes have used the “he’s a spy for Israel” mantra as a means of deflecting attention onto Israel and away from their own repressive actions.
~The blog War in Context has an interesting piece which looks into the administration’s use of technology to aid dissidents overseas living under repressive regimes. Sounds good, right? Well, the problem is, the program seems to be a military one and of course only certain dissidents will get our help. They also point out that the original NYT story about this secret program relied on classified information that it had received but because the story paints the administration in a good light, there is no backlash for disclosing this particular bit of classified information. In other words, Wikileaks is bad because our government couldn’t control its release, but if a leak helps promote a government narrative (ie. propaganda) then said disclosure is ok. Just something to think about.
~Robert Dreyfuss scored big in this two part PBS interview (part 1, part 2) with former AIPAC official, Keith Weissman. Weissman, remember, was charged with espionage on behalf of Israel, but the charges were later dropped (of course). This interview demonstrates the damaging influence that AIPAC has over U.S. foreign policy and this can’t be written off as conspiracy theory claptrap because it comes directly from someone involved with AIPAC. Most disturbing is how the past and current U.S. focus on Iran is basically a result of Israeli lobbying on behalf of their own narrow interests. In other words, Iran really poses no direct threat to the U.S. but because Israel wants Iran in the cross-hairs, the State Dept, Defense Department etc. spend a huge amount of time obsessing over Iran. It’s like Iraq all over again.
~An inside look at the Hamas-Fatah unity deal from someone who basically helped make it happen. Despite all the hand-wringing and pearl-clutching in Washington, this article seems to imply that the deal, in and of itself, demonstrates that Hamas is willing to not only cease firing rockets into Israel and abide by international law, but recognize Israel’s right to exist. No wonder the mainstream media isn’t touching this with a ten-foot pole.
~Shareholders put pressure on the company Caterpillar because the Israeli government uses their D9 Bulldozer modified with cage and machine gun as their weapon of choice for ethnic cleansing. More and more people want divestment. Now.
~The NYT turns a history of ethnic cleansing of Abu Ghosh into a neat travelogue for upwardly mobile Jews and Christians. Example: “The Muslims are all gone now, and as I wandered through the village, one of the few to survive the 1948 war with most of its buildings intact, I was keenly aware of Ein Karem’s controversial past and couldn’t help but notice that there was no mention — in tourist guides or signs at historic sites — of the Arab evacuations.” Evacuations? That almost sounds like the Arab population just decided to up and leave to go on to greener pastures. I wonder if such language would be used to describe towns in Europe that had been ethnically cleansed of their Jewish population?
When I read the NYT I am reminded of George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”:
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.