Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Even more flotillas going to Gaza

German-Jewish organisation to send flotilla to Gaza

Gaza: George Galloway announces new convoys

Iranian Aid Ships to Set Sail for Gaza

This one might be the one to watch. If Israel shoots its friends from Turkey and the US in their heads, at point blank range multiple times, I wonder what sort reception Iran's flotilla will get.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Scary facts about the US economy

This article reveals some very frightening statistics about the US economy.

It's definitely worth a read but don't expect to be in a good mood afterwards. Here are a few highlights:
#50) In 2010 the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.

#44) U.S. corporate income tax receipts were down 55% (to $138 billion) for the year ending September 30th, 2009.

#39) More than 40% of those employed in the United States are now working in low-wage service jobs.

#34) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in March 2010, an increase of nearly 19 percent from February, an increase of nearly 8 percent from March 2009 and the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

#29) For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

#17) Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of 2010.

#15) 39.68 million Americans are now on food stamps, which represents a new all-time record. But things look like they are going to get even worse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011.

#7) According to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, two-thirds of income increases in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007 went to the wealthiest 1% of all Americans.

#6) The bottom 40 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

11 Points Of Comparison Between Life In The United States And Life Under Hitler From A Woman Who Has Experienced Both

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Uprooted Palestinians: Galloway announces new land and sea convoys to break the siege of Gaza

Uprooted Palestinians: Galloway announces new land and sea convoys to break the siege of Gaza

Victory! Flotilla 100, Israel -10.

If Palestinian supporters had spent one hundred million dollars on a media campaign to make the world aware of the Gaza blockade, they could not have done a tenth as well as the Gaza Flotilla in capturing the attention of the world. The Flotilla did not reach Gaza; but it reached into the hearts and minds of people the world over. People, busy coping with the realities of modern life, paused and really saw the brutality of Israel, and the suffering of 1.5 million Gazans, just for a moment. And in that moment, anger and outrage desended on Israel from the hearts of people and governments the world over.

Israel has been dealt a mortal wound by a scraggly group of peace activists delivering humanitarian aid. The Likud party has yet to fully realise this: but the political fallout from the attack on the flotilla will change the future of Israel in a major way. Not only are its allies shrinking in horror from its tactics, but previous neutral countries like Ireland are becoming anti-Israel. This universal outrage of Israel's bullying aggression is the death knell for Talmudic Imperialism.

Other atrocities by Israel have been certainly more brutal than the attack on the Flotilla; yet, the Flotilla is the final stone that tips the weight of world opinion against Israel. It is the small magnifying glass that focused the sunlight into a searing hot beam exposing the absurdity of Israeli propaganda. Without the input of millions of volunteer activists, in blogs, in protests, in organising, in donations, throughout time, the Flotilla might not have succeeded.

This victory belongs to all who have untiringly, against overwhelming odds, continued to raise their voices for and lent their hands to helping the people of Gaza. It belongs to all the countries who have raised their voices in a chorus of outrage about the Gazan occupation. The activists aboard the Flotilla were brave. They are brave not because they are heroes, but because in the face of personal harm and uncertain outcome, they laid their lifes on the line in spite of their fear and possible losses.

This victory also belongs to those people who are just waking up and taking note that Israel maintains a constant state of war in order to sustain its existence. People are now realising the price tag for allowing Israel to do as it pleases, disregarding UN resolutions, invading it's neighbours, maintaining a nuclear arsenal while criticising other Mideast countries for defending themselves.

People in Israel are also waking up and many Israelis do not support the tactics the government has used against its neighbours and vehemently criticise the Likud government and its paranoic and psychotic world view. In a way these people are the bravest of all; because they dare to challenge the authority which rules their lives for no other reason than they can not morally countenance the actions of their (democratically elected) government.

This victory of course belongs to the Gazan people too. For their long suffering internment under the Israeli military, their battle against the goliath of the Israeli media domination, their undisclosed suffering and losses, they now have the world on their side.

Best of all, the repercussions to Israel for it's barbaric behaviour have not yet really arrived. The victory of the Flotilla will curse every trade and political negotiation Israel attempts for years to come. Already the global boycott of Israel has accelerated with no end in site. Even it's 'best friends' are hoping to avoid the fallout from the Flotilla attack.

So .... it's a great week - a week which I believe will change the future irrevocably for all nations. Congratulations to all who have supported Gaza and Palestine: every little contribution will be a pixel in the new picture of the Mideast.

And congratulations to Israel and the Likud party. You have now shot yourself in both feet and I think may be in danger of suicide. And nothing would delight me more than to see the obnoxious hubris of your rhetoric poison your body politic.

You see....it's win-win Mr Netanyahu.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why the US can't condemn Gaza blockade

No one is really surprised at Joe Biden's response to the attack of the flotilla in international waters. Most assume this is because Israel and the USA are really grotesque Siamese twins; but there may be another reason why the US cannot condemn Israel.

The US plans a blockade of Iranian waters and currently has a nuclear submarine near the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran Detects US Nuclear Sub in Persian Gulf
(Sunday, May 30th, 2010)

According to a report released at the end of the week by Iran’s Fars News Agency, Iranian naval forces detected the presence of a US navy nuclear submarine in the Persian Gulf, in the Strait of Hormuz area. This is a critical passage, which permits 90% of the oil produced by Persian Gulf state to get to Asia, W. Europe and the United States.
In addition, Israel is also planning on stationing nuclear subs in the Persian Gulf.

Report: Israel to station nuclear missile subs off Iran
Sunday Times says Jewish state plans to deploy three submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles in Persian Gulf. According to report, decision has been taken to ensure permanent presence of at least one of vessels...
The US can hardly condemn a blockade on Gaza when it is in fact planning the same for Iran in the Persian Gulf.

While most of the world reels from the sheer brutality of Israel's actions and Israel PR desperately spins its 'we are the victims' tale of woe, the geopolitical plans of US hegemony provides a larger context from which to view this event. If the Gaza blockade stands, then the world will also permit the actions of the US/Israel in interfering with traffic in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Freedom Flotilla must indeed be a thorn in the paw of the US in its efforts to isolate Iran via economic sanctions in the UN. I truly hope it is. The outcome of the Freedom Flotilla's efforts to break this illegal blockade will not just influence the life of Gazans. It will set the global stage for the tactics US/Israel will use in the Persian Gulf; and in this sense would quicken the pace to war.

What we permit Israel to do to Gaza now, will also be permitted against Iran in the Persian Gulf. This is why the USA CANNOT condemn Israel's interference of ships in international waters.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

'Next time we'll use more force'

This is the comment of an Israeli top navy commander:

Jerusalem Post
Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

What a great strategy! It's a sure fire plan for Israel to become THE international pariah. I could hardly approve more. As the world sees the truth about Israeli brutality, Israel sinks deeper and deeper into the public relations hole it is digging for itself globally. It seems poetic justice that Israel should annihilate itself. Good job Netanyahu: you have accomplished in a day more than Palestinian activists have managed in three years.

Of course Israel is at war with the entire world, in it's collective mind. And like a self fulfilling prophecy, the country now ensures that it's worst fears are coming true. It does not occur to the Israeli leadership that the country is committing political suicide with it's paranoic and psychotic world view. See Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion

In this world view, the bully becomes the victim. Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at MIT, responded to this classic argument best:
"You can't defend yourself when you are militarily occupying someone else's land. Call it what you like, it is not self-defense." Flotilla Attack: Media Reporting Lacked Critical Thinking
The world sees this more clearly now thanks to the Freedom Flotilla and it's brave activists.

At present, the MV Racheal Corrie heads to Gaza, arriving on Friday. Will Israel use more force? Will it board the ship in international waters? Will it shoot itself in it's other foot on the world stage? I hope so. It's high time for the bully of the Mideast to depose itself: what better way than political suicide? The 11 brave activists onboard are willing to put their lives on the line to uncover the truth about Israeli brutality for all the world to see.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion

May 31, 2010 | 1828 GMT
By George Friedman


On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario

In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza

The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel

It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

Reprinting or republication of this report on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence at the beginning or end of the report, including the hyperlink to STRATFOR:

"This report is republished with permission of Stratfor"


All blogs are really just small snapshots of a person's mind, heart and soul as they evolve together through life....

Small bits of the thread of life we weave together into the fabric of ourselves, in the hope we will make sense of our existence, individual and collective.

On this page, is the cloak I have fashioned from my fabric to warm myself in a universe which often makes little sense.

Inside my cloak, it is warm enough to face the blistering cold winds of the insane world in which I find myself.

If you find some a bit of 'the good stuff' here, it has been my pleasure.