From the horse’s mouth

WH e-mails missing on key days in court battle over Cheney’s energy task force

Although the Supreme Court eventually sided with the White House in its quest to keep secret the proceedings of Dick Cheney’s energy task force, a new report released this weekend shows some dates on which staff members in the vice president’s office allegedly destroyed internal communications correlate with court decisions regarding the task force.Historical archives of White House e-mails are missing for at least 473 days of Bush’s presidency. A report compiled this weekend by a group suing the administration shows Cheney’s underlings apparently deleted their e-mails on days that the courts contradicted their quests to keep internal proceedings private.

On Sept. 11, 2003, a federal appeals court rejected the administration’s argument that Cheney’s Energy Task Force documents should remain secret. The next day, records show there are missing e-mails from Cheney’s office, according to the report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Read more

War pimp alert: Israel may have to take military action against Iran: Bolton

Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said on Monday that Israel may have to take military action to prevent its archfoe Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb.

Bolton also said that further UN sanctions against the Islamic republic will be ineffective in stopping Iran’s controversial nuclear programme which Israel and the US believe is aimed at developing a bomb — a claim denied by Tehran.

“One can say with some assurance that in the next year the use of force by the United States is highly unlikely,” Bolton told AFP on the sidelines of the Herzliya conference on the balance of Israel’s national security.

“That increases the pressure on Israel in that period of time… if it feels Iran is on the verge of acquiring that capability, it brings the decision point home to use force,” he said.

Read more

Judaism versus Zionism

The Lessons of Violence

Posted on Jan 21, 2008
Hamas mourners
AP photo / Khalil Hamra
Palestinians mourn over the body of Hussam Zahar, 24, son of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, during his funeral in Gaza City. Hussam Zahar was killed Jan. 15 in an Israeli strike on Gaza.

By Chris Hedges

The Gaza Strip is rapidly becoming one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. Israel has cordoned off the entire area, home to some 1.4 million Palestinians, blocking commercial goods, food, fuel and even humanitarian aid. At least 36 people have been killed in Israeli strikes since Tuesday and many more wounded. Hamas, which took control of Gaza in June, has launched about 200 rockets into southern Israel in the same period in retaliation, injuring more than 10 people. Israel announced the draconian closure and collective punishment Thursday in order to halt the rocket attacks, begun on Tuesday, when 18 Palestinians, including the son of a Hamas leader, were killed by Israeli forces.

This is not another typical spat between Israelis and Palestinians. This is the final, collective strangulation of the Palestinians in Gaza. The decision to block shipments of food by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency means that two-thirds of the Palestinians who rely on relief aid will no longer be able to eat when U.N. stockpiles in Gaza run out. Reports from inside Gaza speak of gasoline stations out of fuel, hospitals that lack basic medicine and a shortage of clean water. Whole neighborhoods were plunged into darkness when Israel cut off its supply of fuel to Gaza’s only power plant. The level of malnutrition in Gaza is now equal to that in the poorest sub-Saharan nations.

read more

Never against! European collusion in Israel’s slow genocide

Omar Barghouti, The Electronic Intifada, 21 January 2008

The lives of premature babies being cared for at Gaza’s hospitals are threatened if incubators can’t be powered. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

The European Union, Israel’s largest trade partner in the world, is watching by as Israel tightens its barbaric siege on Gaza, collectively punishing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, condemning them to devastation, and visiting imminent death upon hundreds of kidney dialysis and heart patients, prematurely born babies, and all others dependent on electric power for their very survival.

By freezing fuel and electric power supplies to Gaza, Israel, the occupying power, is essentially guaranteeing that “clean” water — only by name, as Gaza’s water is perhaps the most polluted in the whole region, after decades of Israeli theft and abuse — will not be pumped out and properly distributed to homes and institutions; hospitals will not be able to function adequately, leading to the eventual death of many, particularly the most vulnerable; whatever factories that are still working despite the siege will now be forced to close, pushing the already extremely high unemployment rate even higher; sewage treatment will come to a halt, further polluting Gaza’s precious little water supply; academic institutions and schools will not be able to provide their usual services; and the lives of all civilians will be severely disrupted, if not irreversibly damaged. And Europe is apathetically watching.

Read more