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Total number of comments: 43 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:11)

Colm O' Toole

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  • Bahrain Demonstrators Repressed
    • CONFIRMED: Via Al Jazeera

      link to

      "About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain early on Monday morning through the causeway to Bahrain," the Reuters news agency reported a Saudi source as saying, referring to the 26km causeway that connects the island kingdom to Saudi Arabia."

      The Bahraini king is a traitor "inviting" a foreign military into his country to fight his own people.

  • Anzalone: Hezbollah’s Double Standards: Tunisia and Iran
    • Ignorant comparison. Comparing the protests in Tunisia against a dictatorship that enjoyed zero public support to the protests in Iran against a democratic election that was made up exclusively of upper class Tehran suburbans is just totally ignorant.

      Another point would be that Hezbollah are a revolutionary organisation, albeit with an Islamic streak running through it. Therefore it is understable that they would support revolution in Tunisa while also defending the revolutionary government in Iran.

  • Tunisia between Democracy and Anarchy
    • Obviously a very fluid situation (like alot of revolutions I suppose) so the best we can do on the outside is simply to make vague observations.

      1) I would say it is obvious that police forces have been doing some of the looting. Fits in with Counter-Revolutionary tactics, the several different reports of looters travelling in unmarked cars also seems credible. Also if you looked at any footage from Al Jazeera of the riots you can clearly see plain-clothes police officers beating protesters, it looks like they infiltrated the protesters (one of the police officers dressed as a protester was wearing the famous checkered Palestinian scarf as he beat a young man on the floor with a baton).

      2) Doubt the military will give up power to the protesters without either a show of force by the protesters or mass desertions by the Army. This revolution promises to frighten other regimes in the region and the military will probably be under pressure from neighbouring countries to get control back.

      3) Viva Tunisia and the protesters for showing us all how to bring down corrupt governments :D

  • Lawsuit over Drones in Pakistan forces CIA Station Chief to Flee
    • Absolutely ! The reason the US gave for recalling Pakistan Station chief Johnathan Banks was that his cover was blown. However I would imagine that a CIA Station chief in Pakistan would already have the maximum level security detail available.

      I suspect the US really recalled him due to the rebellious nature of the Pakistan judicial system and the fact that Washington might have bought the political system in Pakistan but they haven't been able to control the independent Judiciary.

      Safest to get him out of the country before any charges are filed. Like Bush I doubt Banks will be visiting any countries with Universal Jurisdiction anytime soon.

  • Anzalone: Hamas's Rhetoric as Spoiler
    • "What does transnational mean? In addition to Iranian backing and supply, there are some Iranians actually participating in the attacks?"

      Nope, the group he is referring to is mainly the group Islamic Jihad. It is transnational in that Islamic Jihad is ideologically similar to Al Qaeda.

      They are the most fanatical faction of the Palestinian resistance and consider Hamas to be traitors for holding elections (forbidden under Jihadist thought since elections (are Western secular and) can led people to worship political leaders instead of worshiping God) they also consider Hamas as to liberal (because they do not advocate the Wahhabi view of Islam, which implies that Shia Muslims are enemies of Islam) and also rejects Arab Nationalism used by Hamas since under Jihadi's national countries in the Muslim world should not exist and everyone should be united under God.

      Islamic Jihad would never have any links with Iran since they are hardcore Sunni's opposed to Iranian Shiitism. Largely funded by Saudi Arabia, probably Yemen a bit and would receive assistance for other Islamic Jihad groups in Egypt and Algeria.

  • Thousands Demonstrate in Tel Aviv against Racist Loyalty Oath
    Could the Netanyahu Government Fall over New Settlements?
    • As always a good post.

      While I agree that Kadima-Labor-Likud would make a better coalition, there are a lot of problems towards making it happen.

      Via: Oxford Analytica, via Friday Lunch Club
      link to

      Although consistently courted to join the government, Livni has resisted these pressures, primarily because she fears that Netanyahu would simply use Kadima's involvement as evidence of a peace agenda, even if his actual policies do not promote this. She also knows that no Israeli leader has ever defeated a sitting prime minister after serving in that prime minister's cabinet. While Mofaz and others support joining the government, Livni is adamantly against this.

      Livni presides over a party that consists of several former Likud politicians and is repeatedly batting off leadership challenges from Mofaz. Very likely Kadima would lose a lot of members in an alliance with Likud. Also since the Labor Party are now down to the fourth largest party many former Labor supporters sided with Kadima. If they were to all form an alliance Kadima would also run the risk of losing supporters as they go back to Labor.

      Any alliance between Likud-Kadima, in short, runs the risk of destroying Kadima in both popular support and also through Netanyahu stealing back elected officials. It would also place Livini's leadership in danger from Mofaz.

      All of this would be compounded by the fact that Avigdor Lieberman would then get his wish as being the only leader that defended the settlers. Leaving Netanyahu vulnerable from his right in the next election.

      At the end of the day this is all a sign of how little Israeli voters care about peace. The choice seems to be between a right wing government and a far right wing government.

  • Israel Declares for Ethnic Nationalism
    • Interesting and informative piece Dr Cole.

      I believe the comparison between Israel and Serbia is particularly accurate. Recently I have been doing a lot of online research in the Yugoslav Wars, since it was always the one modern conflict I was fuzzy on and had difficulty grasping (so much different factions involved).

      But the essential element that caused the death of Yugoslavia was the passing of Tito who used the slogan "Brotherhood and Unity" to keep the Croatian/Bosnian/Slovenian/Serbian/Macedonian nationalist from engaging in conflict with each other. This led to the ethnocentric Serbian rise.

      Once Milosevic, who rose to power claiming to represent the "downtrodden" Serbians took over the comparison between Serbia and Israel becomes eerily familiar. Milosevic advocated a "Greater Serbia" similar to the Greater Israel concept.

      Radovan Karadzic as a Serb living in Bosnia (Bosnian Serb) also acted very similar to the settler parties of Israel. Karadzic advocated Bosnian Serbs secede from Bosnia and to join Serbia and he later helped Serbia to "create a cleansed statelet in Bosnia that would be the most ethnically pure nation in Europe" as he termed it. He also called the war "just and holy".

      Add to that the forced evictions of Bosnian Muslims and Croat Bosnians from their homes, the two year siege of Srebrenica before the genocide there in order to make the population so desperate that they leave.

      Then there is this report from the UNHCR on Serbia "loyalty oaths on college campuses.
      link to,,HRW,,SRB,,3ae6a7f58,0.html

      "The new law also abrogated the contracts of all professors and teaching staff by requiring them, regardless of the terms of existing contracts and guarantees of tenure, to sign new contracts within sixty days of enactment of the law. Many professors saw the new contract requirement as, in effect, a mandatory oath of loyalty to the regime. Despite the obvious risks to their careers, roughly 150 professors refused to sign."

  • 28 More US Fuel Trucks Set Ablaze in Pakistan, 6 Killed, as Convoy Boycott Continues
    • I see the fuel truck attacks and the convoy boycott as just a temporary story. Pakistan will drop the boycott within another few days and the US will continue pouring money into Pakistan in return.

      I think the bigger story will be what is going on within Pakistan. How will Zardari hold onto power despite his unpopularity? Is Kayani planning a coup as even Musharraf is warning?

      link to

      And what does the US think of General Kayani since the Woodward book implies that the Obama Admin thinks he is a "closet Jihadist and a liar".

  • 27 US Fuel Trucks Torched as Pakistan Blocks US Supplies at Khyber Pass for 2nd Day
    • Anyone else find it strange that Militants are active in Sindh province? Sukkur is only 1% Pashtun with most being Sindhis and Punjabis both groups hostile to the Taliban.

      I can think of three reasons for this:

      1) The flooding in Pakistan (including Sindh province) has allowed the Pakistani Taliban to move further South into the normally insurgent-free Sindh province.

      2) The Pakistani Military could have torched the vehicles as a message to Washington.

      3) Local Residents are turning against the NATO force either in protest at the bombing campaign or the lack of relief.

  • Update on German Terrorist Plot
    • "While I understand the GWOT fatigue among analysts and commentators, I don’t think it can be dismissed."

      Very insightful, yes a lot of us including myself certainly have a lot of fatigue on the issue. But I think a lot of it is justified. That was always the fatal flaw in a fear driven environment (eventually the fear will wear off) you can scare a population into consenting to things like the Iraq war or giving up civil liberties for a few years but then the scaremongering becomes less effective.

      Also people are rightly sceptical of the National Security States that exist in America and Europe and even Russia and China. Part of the job of a national military force is deception and it gets to the stage where you cannot trust what they say.

  • Major al-Qaeda Attacks on European Cities Said Foiled
    • As a European I don't buy it frankly. Every now and again we see stories like this. I remember the group of men arrested in Florida for videotaping DisneyLand which even Bush cited as a success in a speech and turned out to be completely innocent. Another case was up in Seattle. Not to mention that two weeks ago when the Eiffel tower was evacuated they claimed it was because of a possible female suicide bomber. Now they claim it was Mumbai style attacks around Europe.

      Also the reporting that all this is targeted at the Haqqani Network could be an attempt to derail Karzai's peace talks. Two months ago Karzai is said to have had a face to face meeting with Sirajuddin Haqqani (the son since his father is getting old).

      link to

      Word has it that Karzai and Pakistan both supported the talks with Haqqani and that William Hague (Foreign Minister Britain) was said to have dismissed them. So the sudden wave of attacks on Haqqani Network could be attempt to break up any peace deals or maybe to increase NATO's bargaining position.

      So why would Haqqani plan European attacks just after holding secret talks on Karzai on a peace deal?

      Sounds to me like if any Taliban group was willing to attack The West it would be Hakimullah Mehsud of the Tehrik-i-Taliban group. They were implicated in The Times Square bombing and Mehsud's brother was recently killed by Pakistani troops. They also threatened to attack Europe/US in early September.

      link to

  • Netanyahu Blows off US; Mahmoud Abbas pleads for Settlement Freeze
    • A Complete Farce from all involved.

      Abbas is a joke of a man. Hasn't been the legitimate President of Palestine since his term ended on Jan 09. Yet he still gets to walk around the White House with all parties involved pretending he is President because the truth is to hard to face.

      Netanyahu is a typical racist in the Colonialist sense of the word and has no desire for peace. Obama is either a fool, for thinking that the puppet and the extremist can deliver peace, or a coward for not standing up for what he knows is right and what his generals also say is necessary.

      Shouldn't have even got into this whole "settlement freeze" game. All of the settlements are illegal under the UN Charter but also under the International Court of Justice and Security Council Resolution 242.

      The second the US stopped insisting on the disbanding of all settlements and instead focusing on settlement freezes they had walked straight into the thieves trap. Now Netanyahu won't even give Obama this small concession.

      This is by far the biggest spit in the face of Obama that Netanyahu has given him.

  • Mass Protests as Israeli Contractor Kills two in Palestinian East Jerusalem
    • Just read the excellent account from Philip Weiss in the link. He seems to be reporting the emergence of a Third Intifada similar to the First Intifada. I fear that another similar Intifada would just play into the hands of Israel though a much better Third Intifada would be through Non-Violent Resistance as advocated by several Palestinian writers.

      A Non-Violent Intifada would continue the process of isolating Israel in the world community and would play to Palestinian strengths. But of course it is not for me to pass judgement. Only the Palestinians know what the facts on the ground are like so regardless of whether a Third Intifada is violent or non-violent I will support them 100%.

  • 9 US GIs Killed in Afghan Heli Crash as Violence Grows
    • Of course the Wikileaks Afghan war diaries reported that there have been cases where Helicopters have been shot down by Taliban heat seeking rockets.

      link to

      Since the Wikileaks documents appear to prove that NATO officials have in the passed attributed helicopter crashes to weather when in fact they were shot down any claims on this case are suspect.

      In fact as the article states in the Wikileaks dump there are 10 reported near misses on helicopters and airplanes. As well as the Chinook crash.

  • Obama dismisses Iran War Prospects, overrules Clinton
    • I don't know if I share the optimism of Obamas comments on this. If Obama "just wanted Iran to be more transparent" Why then did he reject the Iran-Turkey-Brazil proposal that would have ensured civilian fuel rods were used?

      As for the statement Obama made I would say nothing much is new. He still insists that sanctions are working. This despite reporting from yourself and Hillary Mann and Stephen Walt showing that clearly Iraq-Turkey-Russia-China are not only increasing trade but than Iran is not really suffering much Economic damage from them.

      Obama does appear to be knocking down any talk of war but his statement is not very forceful. He merely states war with Iran "wouldn't be ideal". Not really an impassioned stand against a war. He also ends with the common Bush cliche "All options are on the table".

      So basically that is where he stands: "Sanctions are having an effect". War with Iran "wouldn't be ideal". And "All Options are on the Table". In this regard he appears to be speaking merely more Diplomatically than Bush spoke. The policy doesn't appear to have changed from Bushes policy vis-a-vis Iran.

      Also obviously Clinton's comments are completely unacceptable. She is meddling in the internal affairs of a foreign state.
      As a non-American I wonder how the US would react if European leaders were publicly calling for armed militias in the US to rise up against the US Government. Chances are the US President wouldn't consider it an olive branch by Europeans.

  • Ahmadinejad as Cyrus the Great?
    • On the Turkish-Iran Economic gains, a few days ago this was widely reported:

      link to

      "Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Ankara is seeking to triple trade volumes with Iran over the next five years."

      Iran-Turkey is planning to increase trade from 10 Billion a year currently to 30 Billion a year within 5 years.

  • Collapse of Kabul Bank Points to Fatal Corruption of Karzai Government
    • It's all connected together.

      The US could end the war and leave a tolerable state behind within six months if it chose to. What's desperately needed is a Grand Bargain with Iran. That is the key to unlocking the whole region. In such a case Iran would certainly help the US create a stable state in Afghanistan and in Iraq if it meant the US would leave. A grand bargain with Iran would also de-escalate Syrian-Israeli tensions, Lebanese internal tensions, Lebanese-Israeli tensions and Israeli-Iranian tensions.

      But the US still seems to have plans on conquering the region with a long term presence as a garrison to China and Russian involvement in the area. So it will keep trying and failing to defeat a huge land mass of Asia.

  • Last US Combat Units withdraw from Iraq
    • I think we can all agree that the less troops the better. For that reason alone today is a step in the right direction. Yes, I agree with everyone here saying that 50,000 remain and I think they should also leave.

      But since Feb (6 months ago) US forces have gone from 110,000 down to 56,000, I'll take that, at least people can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Beats the hell out of the Bush years when it was just constant war and constant surges.

      Where to next?

      Well obviously need to get the oil flowing out much faster. In the future, the one factor which will lower violence in Iraq is if the economy begins improving. The more oil money the Iraqi state is making the more men who will be working instead of running around on the streets with AK's. Also once money starts flowing to the Kurds at a faster rate it should dampen sectarian tensions (a lot of the Northern Iraqi oil also is piped through Turkey which should encourage co-dependence there).

      Not really shocked that the Iraqi's don't have an airforce but going forward they need even a small one. I suggest the US gives away a few F-15's, F-16's since the US is already updating their fleet with the F22 Raptors and brand new F35's. Maybe not for free but at a discounted price since it will save the US in the long run from having to patrol Iraqi airspace until 2018.

      Other than that the US can lean on Saudi Arabia to help wherever it can in making a strong Iraq. Saudi Arabia seems to have an interest in a strong Iraq to counter Iran so the US should be able to diplomatically nudge them towards giving a helping hand. Could also lean on Turkey to lay off bombing the Kurds unless absolutely provoked. In short just chill the whole situation down a few knotches. It is clear to me that Iraq seem like the lynch-pin for a lot of the Middle East. If Iraq becomes progressively more peaceful, regional tensions should also be cooled down.

  • An Israeli Attack on Iran would reduce Barack Obama to a One-Term President
    • Brilliant piece Juan, indeed they are so blinded by their own war lust that they fail to see that a war would signal a total withdrawal of the US from the Middle East and possibly hasten the collapse of Israel.

  • 500,000 evacuated from Jacobabad as Floodwaters head toward Sindh
    • /Agree Redpossum,

      Unfortunately Empires are expensive things to maintain. No surprise that the British willingly handed over the reigns to their Empire to the US after Suez. They had simply had enough.

      On Pakistan either the US should commit to a mini Marshall Plan or should withdraw from the entire region with the help of India and Iran for containment purposes. If you are not willing to spend enough to fix Pakistan society no point spending billions bombing Afghanistan.

  • Kurdish General Again Insubordinate, Angles for US to Remain in Iraq
    • "But Kurdistan gives out visas and refuses to allow Iraqi army troops on its soil and does foreign contracts without consulting Baghdad"

      Wow I knew it was largely economically independent and knew about the tensions in the oil rich city of Kirkuk but didn't know it was this independent.

      Does sound like it is effectively independent, which must worry Turkey and Iran and the oil lacking Sunni region of Iraq. The situation seems to be very similar to the ethnic-nationalist mess caused by the breakup of Yugoslavia and between Serbs/Bosnia/Croatia.

  • 6 Million Pakistanis need Immediate Aid as 1/3 of Country is Submerged
    • Monsoon season does not end until the first week in September. If Pakistan was on the brink before these floods began, I think it is safe to say it has just gone over into "failed state" territory.

      BBC also reporting that food prices in Pakistan are surging.
      link to

      I'm wondering how long it will take before there is another Military coup.

  • Portugal's Green Energy Revolution and the true Cost of Gas, Coal and Oil
    • As an Irish guy can say that Ireland is not far behind.

      link to

      Last year Ireland recorded 39% of electricity from wind power at one (windy) stage. Ireland of course has some advantages in wind power since we are the windiest country in the European Union.

      Also electric charge points are currently being installed around Dublin city for electric cars (its a pilot programme so far).

  • Cutting off Aid to the Lebanese Army Hurts US Interests
    • Very stupid move by Israel alright. My guess is the French might step in to make up the shortfall thus making all the Israeli lobbying/pressure on Congress wasted. Only certain winner to emerge from this is Hezbollah. If they get through the STL okay they will be in a very strong position.

  • Pakistan Flooding Threatens Grain Crop
    • Possibly more bad news for Egypt if grain crops get lost in Pakistan. With the Russians already suspending Grain exports. Egypt as one of the largest importers of grain in the world could face further hardship as a result.

  • 12 Million Affected by Pakistan Floods
    • It should be getting worse as well with further heavy rains forecast over the next few days. When you factor in reports that the Taliban are using the huge amounts of internal refugees moving as a cover to move around the country and NATO supplies badly disrupted due to collapsing of many bridges this seems to perfectly illustrate how the climate can have military and national security implications.

      Also before Zardari arrived in the UK he was seen in a French Chalet drinking Champagne with French officials while his countrymen wade through water. This certainly could be Mr 10%'s Katrina.

  • The Closing of the Zionist Mind
    • It certainly shows the darkening of Israeli nationalism, which like all nationalist movements the world over, only leads to destruction. Charles De Gaulle (who as a veteran of World War 1 and a general during WW2 therefore knew a thing or two about Nationalism) once said:

      "Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. "

      Scary stuff alright, I just read this article/interview with Emily Henochowicz ,the Jewish American arts student who went to Israel to study and ended up joining the International Solidarity Movement after witnessing Jewish extremism on the streets. She lost her eye when the IDF fired on her.

      link to

  • Repubs Plot Israel-Iran Apocalypse and the Collapse of the US Economy
    • /Agree Michael

      What you say was echoed by Daniel Kurtzer former US ambassador to Egypt and Israel in a recent report in the Council on Foreign Relations.

      link to

    • Iran would likely not need to close the Straits of Hormoz to affect the price of oil. The minute that CNN reports either US or Israeli airstrikes on Iran the price of oil on commodity markets will explode. Even before Iran has a chance to respond in any way the price of oil (currently around 80 dollars will have rocketed).

      Also there has never been a stock market rally when oil was over 90 dollars a barrel.

      On the topic of Iraq and the Shia militia's looks like Allawi (who spent his whole last term as Iraqi PM blaming Iran) is going to be the next PM. Also the meeting between Al Sadr/Assad/Allawi in Syria seems to have been an exercise in patching things up (after the whole Allawi bombing the Mahdi Army in Najaf affair).

      One point left out is how Russia/China/India would react to US/Israeli airstrikes. Certainly China and India who depend on Iranian gas and oil would not be happy. Would Russia possibly pull the plug on the Manas airbase cutting US supplies into Afghanistan? Would China accelerate its slow motion de-leveraging of the US dollar. Then of course there is also Syria to think about as well as Hezbollah. Also would Hamas take advantage of Israel being focused on Iran and Hezbollah.

      So much variables and things to consider it makes me fairly sure that the US military brass wouldn't allow it. Even if the Republicans are crazy I do not see the military leadership in any way eager for an Iranian adventure.

  • Global Warming and al-Qaeda in the Greater Indian Ocean
    • Naturally climate change is a national security threat. Reading this reminded me of a Johann Hari piece on the environment.

      "I have stood on the borders of dried-out Darfur and heard refugees explain, "The water dried up, and so we started to kill each other for what was left.""

      Source: link to

      Of course the Middle East faces (or more accurately will face) similar troubles. Israel/Lebanon/Syria arguing over water rights will be made worse by climate change. Same for Egypt & neighbours regarding the drying Nile River. Iraqi violence also spiked every summer during the war. Droughts also affecting India/Pakistan food production. Resource wars are the primary cause of most wars as resources like water and crops decreases violence is likely if not inevitable.

  • Asadi on Iran: "Today's Internal Affairs, Tomorrow's Global Impact"
    • Informative piece Asadi, however I do not buy into a few of the arguments.

      You mention Khamenei translating the works of Sayyed Qutb (the man whose works inspired AQ's No 2 Al Zawahiri) and say his works are well known to the Revolutionary elite. I would argue that Ali Shariati's works had an infinitely more important effect in the thinking behind the Iranian revolution, especially his translations of anti-colonialist thinkers like Frantz Fanon. His works fused Anti-Colonialist/Militant Leftist views and put a Shi'a spin on it.

      Also to add if they were followers of Sayyed Qutb they would ban all elections since Qutb said governments usurp the will of Shari law.

      Also you say:

      "The leading ideologues of this Islamic revivalism offer a fundamentalist reading of Islam that divides the world into two clear-cut camps: divine and satanic. For them, Western civilization, with its deep roots in humanism and liberalism, is the manifestation of evil par excellence."

      I think the leaders of Iran are a lot more pragmatic than this because they would not to able function with such a rigid moral belief. If being an Islamic nation is considered Divine and all others considered Satanic how would the Iranian leadership maintain such close relations with powers like China and Russia (both largely secular). Iranian hostility to the West seems to be more grounded in hating Western imperialism than hating Western secularism since Iran has never acted against secular Russia (in Chechnya) or China.

      In short I think that many in the leadership of the Islamic Republic stress the fusing of Marxist/Anti-Colonialist goals with the cultural symbols of Shiism. As Shariati himself said "by fighting for social justice you hasten the coming of the 12th Imam".

  • 7 NATO Troops Killed;
    as Karzai is Said to Dicker with Insurgents;
    and Panetta Scoffs
    Taliban Rejoice in McChrystal Firing
    • Excellent article Prof Cole. The signs that COIN operations are losing badly in Afghanistan are mounting by the day. Hopefully this will led to a dramatic draw-down and focus on The Biden Plan.

      Also Off Topic - But I am curious as to what you think of the long predicted rumors of an Israeli strike on Iran, given the much reported military buildup. Do you think a strike will take place or is this more Smoke and Mirrors from a desperately hard to read region and how do you think Iran would react.

  • Turkey Shelves Israeli Cooperation,
    Considers breaking off Ties;
    Israel Lobbies in Congress denounce Ankara
    • Wow the US really knows how to pick all the wrong fights doesn't it. The EU (except for maybe France, which has been strongly silent) will likely support the Turkish move since Turkey is demanding all the same things as the EU. Also I'm thinking the monster weapons industries in Italy and Austria in particular are jumping up and down over Turkey freezing the 7 Billion in Military agreements with Israel.

      Russia I also can't see being to concerned over Turkey's snub of Israel especially after the Israeli weapons deals with Georgia before the war there. As for the Middle East it is obvious that Turkey's stance is making it the most admired country among the Middle Eastern populations and also gets a grateful Iran. Brazil and India I suspect will also support it.

      I think the likely outcome for Israel and the US in trying to isolate Turkey now will be more isolation for themselves.

  • Video Shows Israeli Commando Executing American
    • Wow this should be getting much wider distribution. Have not heard it mentioned on any of the other sites I visit. Good catch Dr Cole.

  • Tel Aviv Rally Against Gaza Blockade;
    Wave of Protests, Gov't Condemnation
    • A few more protests and boycotts you left out Prof. Cole.

      - The British trade Union UNITE with 3 millions members.

      "Britain's largest union, Unite, has unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israeli companies at its first policy conference in Manchester on Wednesday.
      The motion, which passed unanimously, called the union "to vigorously promote a policy of divestment from Israeli companies", while a boycott of Israeli goods and services will be "similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era of apartheid".

      Source: The Jewish Chronicle. link to

      - Norway Trade Union calls for Norway pension fund Divestment from Israel.

      "Norway’s largest trade union federation, comprising almost one fifth of the entire Norwegian population, called on the State Pension Fund, the third largest in the world, to divest from all Israeli companies."

      Source: ISM London link to

      - The Pixies, The Gorillaz and The Klaxons all cancel concerts in Israel.

      "US alternative rock bank the 'Pixies' canceled their June 9 Tel Aviv show on Sunday, producer Shuki Weiss announced. The decision followed earlier cancellations by the 'Klaxons' and 'Gorillaz' following the death of nine Turks, when the Navy boarded ships belong to the Gaza-bound flotilla on Monday. "

      Source: Jerusalem Post link to

      - Swedish football team asks UEFA (European Football Governing Body) to cancel its match against Israel.

      "The Swedish Football Association announced Tuesday that it will appeal to European soccer's governing body, UEFA, in a bid to cancel the scheduled appearance of Sweden's U-21 team for a game in Israel this week. Israel and Sweden are due to meet in a critical match on Friday in the qualifying round for the 2011 European Championships."

      Source: Haaretz link to

      - South Africa, Nicaragua, Turkey have all suspended diplomatic relations with Israel. Ireland has also expelled a security agent at the Irish Israeli Embassy over the previous Passport Forgeries with Sinn Fein/Socialist Workers/ some opposition Labour polititians calling for suspending diplomatic relations.

      Also Turkey had probably the biggest protests with an estimated 100,000 in Istanbul.

  • Rachel Corrie Intercepted;
    The 9 activists killed last Monday were shot 30 Times
    • What the hell.

      The aid workers maintain that 6 people are still missing, suggesting that the death toll may be 15, not 9 (Israeli Army radio reported 16 dead early on Monday, and surely they knew).

      Why is this not being reported. Israel adding kidnapping to its list of national disgraces now.

  • American Citizen Killed by Israeli Navy
    • As an Irish person want to send condolences for the families of the Turkish and American activists who lost there lives including the 21 year old Art Student who lost her eye.

      Obviously Israel is out of control. If all this was in Israels interests as a nation you could condemn them but admit they were serving there own interests... but the crazy thing is that all this damaging Israels interests and serves no good to them or anyone else. Just completely out of control.

      No way Turkey is going to vote on the Security Council now for Iran sanctions btw. That goal is dead on arrival. Something also tells me that Europe is also not going to be to sympathetic to any Iran warmongering from Israel.

      Literally the only people that win from this is the North Koreans since no one even mentioning their attack on a South Korean vessel anymore.

  • Israeli Commandos Kill as Many as 10-16 Aid Activists,
    wound over 50 as they Board, Capture Gaza Aid Flotilla
    • - Irish radio is reporting that one of the 8 Irish activists is "seriously wounded".

      - 27 British people were onboard the flotilla (mostly on the Turkish ship that was first raided)

      - Sheikh Rayed Salah the poet and intellectual leader of the Arab Israeli's is reported to be in emergency surgery after a gunshot wound to the head.

      - According to The Guardian live feed 1,000 protesters formed outside 10 Downing Street with main protests scheduled for 6 o clock. Dozens also outside Dublin's Israeli Embassy with protests planned for this evening. 10's of thousands protesting in Turkey and reports from Jordan and Egypt of people taking to the streets. Via Angry Arab peaceful protests in downtown Beirut at noon.

  • Petraeus Memo Widens scope of US Military Covert Operations in ME
    • "In my perception such foes willingly exploit our self imposed moral/ethical restrictions including laws. "

      It's not about them. It's about you. Osama Bin Laden in 2000 when he publicly declared war on the US said "I want to turn America into a shadow of itself." If America loses its "moral/ethical restrictions including laws" he succeeds.

      Indeed America in my view has already lost all moral rights in the world due to Abu Gharib and an illegal war and domestic security restrictions and when it loses the moral high-ground to a bunch of homicidal religious extremists that is a sorry state of affairs.

      I visited America for the first time back in 2006. Flying from Ireland to New York, it was the first time I saw the reality of "Fortress America". I have traveled a lot around Europe and have never even had to show my passport to get into a country. In my travels in Asia and around Arabia I only had to flash my passport at customs. Flying into the US was awful, guns visible, passports scanned, stood in front of a computer to take my photo, body scans, and a pat down.

      Gives any traveler the taste of the militarist state they are flying into. Don't plan to make a second visit.

    • I fear it is already to late Prof Cole. As a European who studied International Affairs, I'm looking at America with increasing concern (which sadly hasn't decreased since Obama got in) .

      On the Political Economy, I'm in little doubt that the US has become a plutocracy. Fear Europe is also following close behind.

      But on the article itself some worrying signs of what is around the corner.

      "ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region"

      "Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate."

      This seems to imply the US military is planning an increase in covert operations into Iran. Appears like Iran has got it's reply for the US after its diplomatic ju-jitsu with Brazil and Turkey. But could be more smoke and mirrors and threats.

      Little mention of expanding the war in Pakistan and of course if any US operations within Saudi Arabia became public the population there would be furious at both the US and the monarchy.

      Certainly bears close attention.

  • Israel offered Nukes to Racist South Africa for Use on Black Neighbors
    • Johnathan Cook's book "Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State" had a lot on conventional Israeli arms sales to South Africa and political cooperation. Of course these new revelations take it a number of steps further.

      Great scoop by the Guardian and excellent research by this historian. To often nowadays research is done online (both in journalism and academia) this story shows that going into a countries archives and rooting around can still bring valuable information to light.

      Of course this also has a factor in the Iran crisis. South Africa attended third BRIC summit in Rio a few weeks ago along with Brazil/Turkey/Russia/China/India. A lot of evidence that South Africa is siding with the BRIC countries in the diplomatic stalemate. This will not endear the leadership to the US/Israeli side.

  • Israeli Settler Terrorists Plan more Mosque Burnings
    • Arsalan,

      Thanks for the link to the yahoo group. About you're search for resources, can suggest Jonathan Cook's book "Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State." Recently read it myself and cites a lot of Israeli politicians and Israeli judges and court cases based mostly on recent Israeli history say mid 90's to 2006 (what I refer to as the militant emergence).

      Sadly cannot think of a web resource for the quotes, maybe the Angry Arab archives since he reports a lot of the racist aspects.

      Hope that helps.

  • Massive Offshore Windfarms to Power Green Germany
    • Doesn't beat Ireland. On a windy day last October Ireland got 33% of its electricity from wind power.
      link to

      Several new projects are currently underway. By the end of 2010 Ireland will have enough turbines for 15% annual production. Scotland doing well also.

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