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Opposition to Afghanistan war mounts asUSintensifies offensive

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By Billy Van Auken

(source: World Socialist WebSite)

Popular hostility to the Afghanistan war among the American people has hit a record high, even as the US military launches a major new offensive and the Obama administration warns that few US troops will be brought home next year.

The latest Gallup opinion poll released by USA Today shows support for the Obama administration’s war policy has fallen to 36 percent, down from 48 percent in February. Moreover, a record 43 percent say that it was a mistake to launch the war, which began in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington DC and was sold to the American people as retaliation against terrorism.

The apparent sharp growth in antiwar sentiments follows back-to-back months of record US casualties, with 60 American troops killed in June, and 66 in July. It also comes in the wake of the posting by WikiLeaks of tens of thousands of previously secret documents exposing US killings of civilians, Afghan government corruption and the general debacle engulfing the nearly nine-year-old US military intervention.

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How zionist lobby stooges in congress brought shame to their institution

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By Alan Hart

(source: Palestine Think Tank)

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives voted, on Tuesday 3 November, by 344 votes to 36, to urge the Obama administration to oppose endorsement of the Goldstone Report. But for those who are interested in truth and justice, not to mention democracy, the highlight of what passed for debate was the two-minute contribution of Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic Party’s representative for Ohio’s 10th district (and a starter candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2004 an 2008).

His statement was a damning indictment of 344 of his colleagues. The following is the full text of it (my emphasis added).

Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt. Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.
Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian. Read More »How zionist lobby stooges in congress brought shame to their institution

Israels onslaught on Gaza criminal

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Israel’s Onslaught on Gaza: Criminal, for Sure; But Also Stupid

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

In contrast to the grim forecasts of many fine contributors to this site over the past days, your CounterPunch editors have been inclined to take the view that Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, appalling though the carnage has been, is not only a crime but a blunder, like the attack on Lebanon in 2006, which demonstrated Israel’s military weakness, and the corruption of its armed forces after long years of bravely tormenting unarmed Palestinian peasants at check points, sawing down their olive groves and crushing their homes with bulldozers and high explosive. 

The left has a tendency to demonize its enemies in terms of proficiency in administering their dastardly onslaughts. Through this optic, the claims of the arms manufacturers are always taken at face value, whether about the effectiveness of bunker busters, or devices to detect Hamas’ Qassams. In our latest newsletter we print a long interview with Hamas’ leader in Damascus, Khaled Meshal, conducted by CounterPuncher Alya Rea, myself and others, including former US Senator James Abourezk. Meshal made a case for Israel’s decline in military effectiveness:

 

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Al awda the Palestine right to return coalition

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image 

The announcement below was received today from Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Palestine)

Begin Forward:

The following letter was presented to President Mahmoud Abbas’s office on behalf of 78 Palestinian organizations on Wednesday September 22, 2008. Note that ALL Palestinian political factions have signed on as well.

Open Letter to President Mahmoud Abbas

To: President Mahmoud Abbas
Chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee
President of the Palestinian National Authority

CC:
League of Arab States
Non-Aligned Movement
Organization of the Islamic Conference

Re: The Rights of Palestinian Refugees and the Final Status Negotiations

Dear Mr. President,

Greetings of Return 

We, the undersigned Palestinian refugee organizations, civil society movements and institutions in the Palestinian homeland and in exile are national organizations working to defend the right of return. We appeal to you now because we are convinced that the alignment of the official Palestinian position and the position of the Palestinian people with regards to the final status negotiation issues is of the highest priority. Foremost among these issues is the cause of the Palestinian refugees. 

We are convinced that the alignment of popular and official positions is the main guarantee of a strong Palestinian position in the current negotiation process, which is taking place in a local, regional and global context that jeopardizes the national rights of the Palestinian people. In this context, we are concerned in particular about the rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their original lands and properties, restitution of their homes, lands and properties and compensation for damages incurred over the past 60 years. Based on the fact that all of these rights are guaranteed under international law, and based on our awareness of the enormous pressures faced by Palestinian negotiators and the tactics of negotiations, such as secrecy with regards to the negotiation proceedings, we call upon you to adopt a negotiation strategy that is based on openness with the entirety of the Palestinian people – irrespective of their current place of residence – regarding all aspects and details of the negotiation process. Implementation of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return was and continues to be the main purpose for which the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established, a purpose which forms the central pillar of the PLO’s legitimacy as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Transparency and candidness of our representatives with all sectors of our society will guarantee that our rights are best defended, and strengthen our position in the face of enormous pressures. 

It has been clear at all stages of the negotiations that this process aims to eliminate the core issue of the Arab/Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice: the Palestinian refugees and their rights of return and restitution. In fact, elimination of these central Palestinian/Arab demands form the center-piece of both Israeli and US policies. It is also no secret that during the so-called "Oslo Peace Process" these policies have employed insidious tactics in order to nullify these rights altogether. Such tactics include attempts to substitute the return and restitution of the refugees with monetary compensation; to reduce the number of those entitled to exercise these rights from over 7 million Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to a tiny minority, including so-called "hardship cases" that would be arbitrarily defined by Israel; to suggest that the refugees return to homes located in the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority; and other humiliating "trade offs" whereby Palestinians are expected to surrender the right of refugees to return to homes, lands and properties of origin in exchange for other rights and demands, such as self-determination, borders, the reclamation of Jerusalem and removal of the illegal settlement-colonies. The Palestinian leadership has rejected such degrading bargaining tactics in previous negotiations, notably those known as the second Camp David summit and the Clinton initiative. The late President Yasser Arafat rejected these tactics, and he was made to pay for that with his liberty and his life. 

Whereas the rights of return, restitution and compensation are enshrined in international law and specifically affirmed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council Resolution 237;

Whereas we see that increasing US pressure aims to force Palestinian negotiators to agree to an obscure framework for a solution that is to be achieved by any means and at the soonest date, and that such a framework is largely for internal US consumption in the context of a US Presidential election;

Whereas it has become clear that the US administration is working on other fronts to market its obscure framework for a solution in the September 2008 session of the UN General Assembly;

Whereas we realize, as a result of our movement’s long and difficult experience with Israeli politics, that Israeli political actors seek to solve the internal Israeli political crisis by venting destruction on the Palestinian front through various policies and practices, all of which work to entrench Israeli occupation, colonialism, and apartheid, and aim to attain international recognition of Israel as a ‘Jewish State;’

Whereas Western and Israeli election platforms must not be employed to put pressure on the Palestinian negotiators, who should in no way be a party to the political maneuvers of US and Israeli political candidates, particularly in order to protect the legality, legitimacy, and sanctity of Palestinian national rights regardless of who emerges victorious in foreign elections;

Whereas we perceive the retreat of the once principled European position, and the transformation of this position into one that conforms to the US policy of total complicity and support for Israel;
Whereas we clearly see the weakness and inability of the Arab countries to take action or play any effective role;

Whereas we witness the sharp, painful and unprecedented deterioration in the internal Palestinian political arena;

Whereas it has become plain and obvious that powerful external pressures aim to annul Palestinian refugee rights, particularly the right to return to their original lands and properties and the restitution of these lands and properties;
Whereas Israel and the US, according to Israeli officials, are intensifying their efforts to reach a framework for a solution that is acceptable to both Israel and the US and will be viable regardless of the ruling party;

Whereas the primary measure of the legitimacy of any solution remains the extent to which it will lead to the exercise of the right of self-determination by the Palestinian people, including foremost the right of Palestinian refugees to choose to return to their original homes and lands regardless of their current place of refuge,

We approach you with this statement based on our strong desire to chart a way forward that is built on the highest levels of clarity and candidness with the Palestinian people; a way forward that aims to strengthen the Palestinian position in this sensitive stage of the Palestinian struggle; a way forward that ensures that any framework for a solution will include the following principles in clear and immutable language:

The rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return, restitution and compensation are fundamental rights under international law and relevant UN resolutions – particularly UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council Resolution 237. The content of these rights is non-negotiable irrespective of the manner in which they will be exercised;

The right of return is an individual right held by every Palestinian refugee and internally displaced person. This right is passed on from one generation to the next, based on the individual’s choice on whether or not to return, an inalienable and indivisible right, and not affected by any bilateral, multilateral, or international treaty or agreement. Any such agreement must respect the fundamental precepts and principles of international law;

The right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return is a collective right that is not limited to one group or another, and it is an integral part of the Palestinian right of self-determination; 

The right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return is not subject to referendum.

May you remain steadfast in our struggle for freedom and dignity

Read More »Al awda the Palestine right to return coalition