Libya - NATO Bombs Rain On Tripoli

Nato attacks on Monday and Tuesday, unusually taking place in daylight hours, were the first on the city centre for two weeks and a sign that commanders are keen to prevent a stalemate forming.
William Hague, the foreign secretary, admitted at the weekend that the campaign could last beyond Christmas, but at the same time ministers acknowledge that the situation is unpredictable.
They have also ordered officials to speed up preparations for a post-Gaddafi transition so that they are ready in two weeks.
Whether the raids will succeed in scaring Col Gaddafi out of hiding, or even killing him, is another matter. A senior Libyan official told The Daily Telegraph that the bunker built by the "Brother Leader" under Tripoli as a last redoubt was reinforced to withstand a nuclear attack.
"Do you think he will not be keeping safe?" the official said. "His bunker is reinforced against nuclear attack. Nato air strikes cannot damage it."
The attacks may be aimed at encouraging more defections. Five generals and the oil minister, Shukri Ghanem, fled Libya last week alone, to be joined today by the labour minister, Al-Amin Manfur.


Tony Blair By E.M. Forster

I came across a killer quote by E.M.Forster the other day which it occurred to me fitted Tony Blair perfectly. It fits him, not in his capacity as the US/Israeli stooge Middle East Envoy, but in his representation of ''the vast armies of the benighted, who follow neither the heart not the brain, and march to their destiny by catchwords. The armies are full of pleasant and pious folk. But they have yielded to the only enemy that matters – the enemy within. They have sinned against passion and truth, and vain will be their strife after virtue. As the years pass, they are censured. Their pleasantry and their piety show cracks, their wit becomes cynicism, their unselfishness hypocrisy; they feel and produce discomfort wherever they go.'' 


Update From Arab Countries - From Baghdad Dweller

Iraqi oppo­si­tions and resis­tance groups in Syria nego­ti­ate with Turkey to host their pres­ence fol­low­ing the unrest in Syria and the pos­si­bil­ity of the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment to han­dover their leader to the Iraqi government.
Yemeni Pres­i­dent Ali Abdul­lah Saleh lost his nose in the blast in the pres­i­den­tial mosque and this is the rea­son that he couldn’t appear on TV to address his people.
Ger­man doc­tors who arrived in Riyadh-Saudi Ara­bia suc­ceeded to remove shrap­nel from the President’s heart and lung. Plas­tic surgery spe­cial­ist pre­formed a com­pli­cated oper­a­tion to restore the President’s nose.
The Gulf-States estab­lished a joint oper­a­tions room and a joint police force intended to counter inter­nal threats of people’s move­ments, as is the case in Bahrain, Saudi Ara­bia and the Sul­tanate of Oman.
Libya, Sudan
The Sudanese Gov­ern­ment rejected a request from Libyan leader Muam­mar Gaddafi, to shel­ter Gaddafi’s sons in the coun­try in Don­gola area raised as a shelter.
Libya, Qatar
Reports say that the real rea­son Qatar deported the Libyan rape vic­tim Iman Al-Obaidi is that Al-Obaidi started to talk about her in details in the pres­ence of princes of the Qatari royal fam­ily, espe­cially with the Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim.
Mem­bers of the Libyan Tran­si­tional Coun­cil say that the Qatari Gov­ern­ment did not pro­vide Al-Obaidi with the required reha­bil­i­ta­tion and the psy­chi­atric treatment.

Biggest US Iraq Casualties in 2 Years - Clip


Wikileaks: Anger at Gordon Brown's Iraq Withdrawal

From Scotland On Sunday.
A DAMNING verdict on Gordon Brown's handling of the war in Iraq is revealed in secret US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and seen by Scotland on Sunday.
The cables accuse the former Prime Minister of pulling British troops out of Iraq to improve his chances of winning a general election, despite warnings from the UK's allies that withdrawal would represent a victory for terrorists.

The cables detail the failure of British forces to bring peace and stability to Basra, in southern Iraq, the area put under UK guardianship after the 2003 invasion.

They chronicle the Brown government's determination to pull troops out, despite repeated appeals from Britain's allies to stay and continue the fight against insurgents.

The cables reveal:

• The British government effectively gave up on its mission in Iraq, with defence secretary Des Browne admitting privately to a US general that chaos in Basra was "depressing and incomprehensible", and "could not be resolved… by the UK's forces".

• US diplomats believed Gordon Brown's motive for pulling out was a desire to show the British public he was "the leader who undid (Tony] Blair's mistake" in taking the country to war.

• Britain's withdrawal from Basra was opposed by the United States, the United Nations and the Iraqi government, who all feared it could destabilise Iraq, give a boost to insurgents and lead to a deepening conflict.

• US senator John McCain sounded out David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, on opposing British withdrawal. But the Tory leader declined to get involved in criticising Brown's military strategy.

Last night, Angus Robertson, the SNP's defence and foreign affairs spokesman, said the leaked cables raised serious questions about Gordon Brown's judgment.

"The invasion of Iraq was illegal and immoral but putting civilians and service personnel in mortal danger for electoral advantage is truly shameful," he said.

Protesters, Including 11 Year Old Boy, Gunned Down By Israelis

Unconfirmed reports on Syrian state TV said 14 people had been killed and more than 200 wounded. The protesters were marking the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Mid-East war.Several hundred demonstrators - Palestinians and their Syrian supporters - marched to the razor-wired fencing and freshly dug trenches close to the frontier village of Majdal Shams at around noon.
Many carried Palestinian flags and threw rocks and rubbish over the fence.Israel's military said its soldiers shouted warnings in Arabic and fired warning shots in the air, before aiming at the legs of those who had reached the fence.At one point a heavy volley of tear gas from the Israeli side sent many protesters fleeing. An Israeli military spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post they were only aware of '12 injuries'.

Video clip Here

Arab Spring - Video News Updates 5th June.


Let's Hear It For The Military Industrial Complex

I read a commentary recently that burned into my brain for a few days but I can't remember now the source so can't adequately attribute it. It went roughly thus. What we are witnessing is the modern version of the Hundred Years War that took place in Europe after the death of Charlemagne and the religious and political splintering of Europe. Only now its not individual groups and factions fighting for control, and trying to create nations, its the military/industrial complex with its nation/culture encroachments along with its corporate sponsors and owners. This is the place and the method of how the wealth is being held and created. Solely for its own enrichement and perpetuation. There are many names for it, fascism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, but it comes down to the same thing. It is also the destroyer of the earth and nations. Time to bring our participation to a halt and put the UK economy back to producing prosperity, not social and economic destruction for the many. We are paying billions to the manufacturers of Trident, for example, while social care is being eroded across the UK. Did you see Panorama on care homes this week? As a consequence of this process it seems the wider fabric of our society is being eroded.

UK Helicopters Deployed In Libya

Hellfire missiles and 30mm cannon were used to attack Libyan targets. The helicopters then returned to HMS Ocean said the MOD statement this morning (Saturday 4th June). This is clear mission creep, almost certiain to create the same type of defiance which NATO have created against themselves and the US in Afghanistan. The statement about targets being 'rigorously selected' is an obvious back-coverer for any civilian casualties which will happen as surely and inevitably as the numerous bloodbaths NATO has perpetrated in Afghanistan.


Fresh Violence In Yemen - US Silence

Yemen as a whole represents a dark era in U.S. foreign policy, and massacres are being committed in silence by a U.S.-supported ally. The Obama administration is acting as though it doesn’t hear the protesters’ cries, who in turn cannot understand America and the international community’s silence. Unfortunately the more likely scenario is worse - the West is ignoring them - and many popular coalitions including The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change CCYRC have expressed shock at the mute reaction to Taiz. From The Trench here.

US Media Manipulation By AIPAC


Report From Gaza - Ramzy Baroud

Welcome to Gaza: Revolution and Change at the Rafah Border

by Ramzy Baroud

May 29, 2011

The Palestinian security officer at the Rafah border was overly polite. He wore a black uniform and walked around self-assuredly, as he instructed weary travelers on their next moves before being allowed back into Gaza. On the other side of the border, in Egypt, there was much anxiety, fear and anticipation.
“Things will get better,” said a Palestinian engineer from Gaza, who once studied and now works in a Swedish town south of Stockholm. What he meant was that things will get better at the border crossing, in terms of the relationship between Gaza and Egypt. Without a decisive Egyptian decision to reopen the crossing – completely – Gaza will continue to reel under the Israeli siege. Others agree, but Gazans have learned not to become too confident about political statements promising positive changes.
However, the Egypt of today belongs to an entirely different political category to the Egypt of Hosni Mubarak’s leadership. Palestinians, especially those trapped behind the shut borders in Gaza, are well aware of this. Still they are cautious. “Inshallah” – God willing, they say, “May Allah bring good things.”
For now, things remain difficult at the border. When Egyptian border officials collect passports for examination, and return a few hours later to read aloud the names of those allowed in, a large crowd gathers around them. Tensions soon escalate to yelling, and occasional tears.
“Go back or I will not give any his passport back,” shouted a large Egyptian officer with some disdain. The veins on the side of his face suddenly bulked up. The crowd disbanded, only to return seconds later. The officer looked exhausted and clearly fed up. The Gaza travelers had already moved beyond the point of humiliation. They simply wanted to get from here to there, and back.
A young woman with a contorted back trotted behind her mother. Her pain was apparent on her face. “Yallah yamma,” – hurry, daughter – urged the mother. “They might close the gate any minute.” The girl, in her twenties, paused, closed her eyes tight, as if summoning whatever strength remained in her frail body to carry on for a few seconds longer.
The gate of the Egyptian border point was very wide, but only a small gap of a few feet was open. When it opened, early Thursday, May 19, hundreds tried to rush in at once. Large bags were tossed over people’s heads, children cried in panic, officers yelled, and a few dared to yell back. “Just open the gate, the big one,” someone said. A white-haired little man, in an oversize, ancient suit, stood back and shock his head. “It’s a tragedy,” he said. Soon, he too was forced to lose his civility and push against the mass of desperate humanity. Later, I saw him inside the border point, circling around nervously and intently puffing on a cigarette.
Here at the border, everyone is nervous, even those who have no reason to be. The Egyptian officers are edgy, as if their fate too is being determined somehow. Both sides know that the Gaza-Egypt border is undergoing an important transition. Egypt’s new foreign minister, Nabil al-Arabi, had already promised a breakup with the past, thus an opening of the border between his country and Gaza. There is much trust among Palestinians that the new Egypt is genuine, but also a fear that a politically vulnerable Egypt might be forced to compromise on its early stances.
But the Egyptian people seem determined to keep their government in check. Palestine is a major theme now in large protests. Hundreds of Egyptian activists were arrested, and many were wounded as they rallied near the Israeli embassy in Cairo, which was closed for few days before re-opening again. An Egyptian call to march to Gaza, in commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba of 1948 – the Day of Catastrophe – was aborted after the Egyptian army sealed much of Sinai. Tanks still dot the highway leading from Cairo to Gaza via the Sinai desert. The soldiers are very polite, though. The Egyptian driver who took me to Rafah in a very late hour seemed happiest with the revolution in his country, simply because he is now treated with respect by men in uniform. “Officers used to treat us with so much disrespect,” he said with a retrospective sense of grief. “Now, we are like brothers.” The driver extended his hand for an unnecessary handshake with a noticeably short solider, wearing a pair of slippers.
The sense of joy, however, hasn’t made it to the Gaza border yet. The hope and anticipation that Gazans feel towards the changes underway in Egypt can only be understood after a degree of investigation. The distance between Cairo and Rafah is long and arduous. It will be no easy task to translate political will in the former into meaningful policy in the latter. Still, the Egyptian people are keeping up the pressure, and Palestinians in Gaza remain hopeful.
At the end, no one was turned back. Everyone made it into Gaza. The man with the very old suit was still smoking and cursing for no apparent reason. The girl with the hurt back was still in terrible pain, but also happy to be home. The Gaza-Swedish engineer had a crowd of young cousins waiting for him. In Rafah, I found myself invited to a lunch followed by Arabic coffee with many men I didn’t know, most of whom were called Mohammed. They all seemed happy.
“So, Egypt has changed, right?” asked one Mohammed with a knowing smile and a nod. Everyone seemed to agree, although they didn’t pinpoint exactly how that change has affected Gaza so far. Palestinians in Gaza survive largely because of the 500 or so tunnels that connect the impoverished, besieged Strip to Egypt. Now, they feed on hope and cheap cigarettes, much of it also coming from Egypt.
“Ramzy Baroud,” called out an older officer loudly. “Welcome home, son,” he said, as he handed me my passport and waved me in. No words could possibly have been sweeter at that moment.
After seventeen years of constant attempts to visit Gaza again, I am finally here.
I am in Gaza. I am home.

Bigots Picketing Nutters Picketing Dead Soldiers In The USA

Yes, it really is the KKK protesting their outrage. Only in America as Charles Manson probably said.

Last Warning To NATO - Karzai Speaks

Apologies for the bonkers commentaries here, including the ISAF Spokesman.

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