Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Plug

I can't think of anything intelligent to say these days so I will just recommend a book: "The Great War for Civilization:The Conquest of the Middle East".

Superbly written by Robert Fisk, master journalist, legendary Middle East correspondent for The Times of London and a raft of other papers and news organizations, it takes us to Afghanistan in the time of the Russian "intervention", gives us a seat next to him when he (twice) interviews Bin Laden and explains a heck of a lot of the what and why that is the Middle East conflict.

Not a finance book per se, it nevertheless helps connect a bunch of global finance-related dots.

Read it.


  1. Me thinks is main job is with The Independent and not the Times.

    See here

  2. Oh goody, my favorite topic and how it affects American finances. WRT the observation from the prior post that Wall St has occupied Capitol Hill, Pat Buchanan is of the opinion that Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory although it can be argued that their is considerable overlap between the two occupation forces.

    More on the non-existent lobby:

    "At the superficial level Obama is presiding over an undisciplined administration; on a more realistic and sinister construction, he is facing mutiny, publicly conducted by two people who only a year ago were claiming that their qualifications to be in the Oval Office were far superior to those of the junior senator from Illinois .

    The great danger to Obama posed by Biden's and Clinton's "time bombs" (a precisely correct description if we call them political, not diplomatic time bombs) is not international confusion and ridicule over what precisely are the US government’s policies, but a direct onslaught on his presidency by a domestic Israeli lobby that is so out of control that it renders ridiculous Obama’s puny attempt to stop settlements--or to curb Israeli aggression in any other way."

  3. The zionist/talmudic interpretation of human rights:

    "According to the Israeli media, some Jewish donors in the US have also specified that their money be used for human rights investigations that do not include Israel."

    Some of the many reasons why the above strategy has become necessary:

    "Imagine a country that appoints someone who has been found guilty of striking a 12-year-old boy to be its foreign minister; addition, he was a bona fide member of an outlawed racist party and currently leads a political party that espouses fascist ideas.

    Even though such a portrayal may appear completely outlandish, Israel's new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, actually fits the above depiction to the letter.

    • In 2001, following his own confession, Lieberman was found guilty of beating a 12-year-old boy. As part of a plea bargain, Lieberman was fined 17,500 shekels and had to promise never to hit young children again.

    • Reacting to a commitment made by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to give amnesty to approximately 350 Palestinian prisoners, Lieberman declared that, as minister of transport, he would be more than happy to provide buses to take the prisoners to the sea and drown them there."

  4. Aye, aye Skipper, Might this begin to answer the desperate cries "Why do they hate us?"

    My "town hall" answer, because we're so ------- self-absorbed and ignorant.

  5. Some more reasons; apartheid travel restrictions, child torture and my favorite, organ trafficking:

    "Unlike the traditional shotchen (Yiddish for marriage broker), Rosenbaum promoted illegal kidney transplants, not marriages,...

    Israeli gonifs would buy kidneys from “vulnerable people”# in Israel for $10,000, and then get them shipped to their rabbinical associates who would sell them in the United States for $160,000, he said. (AP, July 25, 2009)

    In 2002, UC Berkeley’s Nancy Scheper-Hughes alerted the FBI that Rosenbaum was a broker for an international kidney trafficking gang. He used Moldovan villagers as donors. He promised them jobs in the United States, then coerced them into “donating” their kidneys to recipients who posed as relatives and threatened them with a gun if they resisted. Rosenbaum would show his real gun and then make his fingers into a gun and point one at the reluctant donor’s head. (Somatosphere: Science, Medicine and Anthropology. July 27, 2009,"

    #This adds credence to accusations that Israeli occupation troops would shoot rock throwers in the HEAD, 'detain' the body and return it a few days later after a THORACIC autopsy (supposedly to determine cause of death) with all the internal organs missing.

    And let's not forget slum lording:

    "After my grandfather died and I recognized one of the slum owners as a rabbi friend of my grandfather, I asked my grandmother about how such a religious man could have refused to supply heat to poor black families and not called exterminators to oust the rats and roaches. She shrugged indifferently.

    “They’re not our people,” my grandmother said in Yiddish."

  6. But there is light on the horizon as more Jews are beginning to see the similarities between the doctrines of the master race and a more ancient brand of chosenness:

    " the tide of history that has shown that no single occupation in Palestine lasts forever. This, of course, is also Israel’s deepest fear. That no matter how many walls they build, how many people they imprison, how many homes they destroy, how many signs they erase, and how many people they expel, true security will remain elusive, and eventually, Zionism will fail."

    One convert to the light doing so after 95 years in the service of the cause:

    “Therefore I, a 95 year old Sabra (native born Israeli Jew), who has plowed its fields, planted trees, built a house and fathered sons, grandsons and great-grandsons, and also shed his blood in the battle for the founding of the State of Israel,

    Declare herewith that I renounce my belief in the Zionism which has failed, that I shall not be loyal to the Jewish fascist state and its mad visions, that I shall not sing anymore its nationalist anthem, that I shall stand at attention only on the days of mourning for those fallen on both sides in the wars, and that I look with a broken heart at an Israel that is committing suicide and at the three generations of offspring that I have bred and raised in it.”

  7. One last tidbit (for today) for a look behind the curtain:

    "The U.S. counterintelligence community has long been reined in by political appointees, who are under pressure to tolerate Israeli spying and other covert activities on American soil, and you can be sure of one thing: they resent it. These dedicated professionals no doubt also deeply resent accusations of "anti-Semitism" that are being hurled by Franklin and Rosen in the wake of the charges being dropped (Weissman has so far remained mum).

    Which means that we haven’t heard the last of Israel’s fifth column, which is still burrowing ever deeper into our national security bureaucracy, intent on achieving its own purposes. Nor have we heard the last from their nemeses in the Justice Department and among counterintelligence officials. We saw a bit of the curtain draw back on this largely unseen struggle when Rep. Jane Harman’s conversation with an alleged Israeli agent was made public. Harman claims she never followed through on her promise to lobby the Justice Department to drop the charges against Rosen and Weissman, but apparently someone intervened, at some level – although I’d be willing to bet the farm it wasn’t just her."

  8. New day, new tidbits:

    "Another former US Ambassador recently told a gathering of Americans in Beirut:

    'We should also calm down about the Iran is seeking nuclear weapons b-------! That’s a red herring if ever I saw one! Hell I don’t claim to know what the Iranians are doing but if I was Iran facing that bunch running Israel I would sure get me a couple for self defense if I could! And while I am on this subject, when and if Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Israel is likely finished. Not because Iran will use it, but because its deterrence will stop Israel from threatening the region and you will see an international resistance bloom like Mao’s thousand flowers!' ”

    Tidbit No. Two:

    "The rise of Iran was seen by Israel as a major threat, not to its existence though it claims that, but to its dominance in the region and its claims of legitimacy. Hence, although Israel saw Egypt and Iraq ostensibly removed from the “battlefield”, the rise of Iran allied to Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and pro-Iranian elements in Iraq replaced the earlier Arab Nationalist challenge.

    What is clear is that the 2009 elections brought a different approach to US foreign policy, a verbally fanatic right-winger to head Israel, and political turbulence to Iran, resulting in an atypical public dissonance between Israel and the US, Eisenhower, Carter, Bush Senior notwithstanding. The Obama approach has not had a chance to play out, but the Israeli militaristic approach has put it on a short leash. To date, the Palestine door through which Obama sought light has not opened. The Iranian-led alliance is still intact and has made no real concessions.

    Although Israel has an “unshakeable” alliance with the US, a strong alliance with Turkey, peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and the fourth strongest and technologically advanced military in the world, it still feels insecure. Its insecurity stems from two factors: 1) as a colonial settler state founded on ethnic cleansing, its leaders know its legitimacy is questioned; and 2) in order to maintain its statehood in the face of challenges to its legitimacy, Israeli leaders have striven to make Israel exclusively indispensible (one way or another) to the US, its major guarantor. Hence Israeli leaders fear Obama may try to return to some semblance of the Eisenhower period of alliances with a variety of Arab states to which the non-Arab state of Iran could be added. In such a scenario, Israel’s place and importance in the American strategic orbit would be lessened as would be its influence as well. Obama’s openness to regional states considered by Israel as hostile intensifies their efforts to prevent his success. The dissonance in US/Israeli relations will test Obama’s mettle as he seeks to effect American interests in a less militaristic fashion. Will Israel be his Albatross, or will he be able to aggregate sufficient support to achieve his goals?"

  9. Tidbit No. Three:

    "An Arab couple whose one-year-old daughter was expelled from an Israeli day-care centre on her first day are suing a Jewish mother for damages, accusing her of racist incitement against their child.

    Maysa and Shua’a Zuabi, from the village of Sulam in northern Israel, launched the court action last week saying they had been “shocked and humiliated” when the centre’s owner told them that six Jewish parents had demanded their daughter’s removal because she is an Arab.

    The girl, Dana, is reported to be the first Arab child ever to attend the day-care centre in the rural Jewish community of Merhavia, less than 1km from Sulam.

    Last September, the Adalah legal centre for Israel’s Arab minority forced the municipality of the mixed city of Ramle, near Tel Aviv, to register an Arab boy in a Jewish kindergarten close to his home.

    The mayor, Yoel Lavi, had earlier told the boy’s parents that he could not be admitted because he was an Arab and that the kindergarten served only Jewish children.

    The previous dovish education minister Yuli Tamir established a public committee last year to develop for the first time a “shared life” policy for Jewish and Arab schools.

    The committee issued its report earlier this year recommending more meetings between Jewish and Arab children, that Arabic should be taught to Jewish pupils, and that schools should employ both Arab and Jewish teachers.

    The new rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu announced it was freezing the report in April."

  10. Tidbit No. Four:

    "Even compared to the low ethical standards which most people, outside the United States, ascribe to the actions of the Israeli government of occupation, the recent decision of their Supreme Court to evict long-time residents of Arab neighborhoods and to replace them with Jewish Israelis signals a particularly low point in the Jewish state's brutally harsh treatment of Palestinians.

    In a sparsely reported incident which occurred on Sunday, August 2nd, Ofra Ben-Artzi, the sister-in-law of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was detained by police in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The 58 year-old Ben-Artzi, an editor for the anti-occupation magazine, HaKibush, spent several hours in police custody before being released without any charges being filed. Her apparent crime was her sympathy with the Palestinians who had recently been evicted from their homes.

    Ben-Artzi is the mother of a conscientious objector who served time in a military jail for refusing to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

    In the story about her arrest in Ha'aretz (Hebrew edition, only), Ben-Artzi is quoted as pulling no punches in her criticism of the recent evictions of long-time Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah:

    Their are no words to describe the injustice and folly of this, we are walking with our open eyes into the abyss. If we will not be smart enough to live together, Arabs and Jews, as in the days of the [British] Mandate when there were two mayors in Jerusalem, then we will be dragged into transfer, and if this is not enough, what will we do then? Erect concentration camps?

    The two latest evictions came as a result of an Israeli Supreme Court decision which says that decades old property titles, held by Jewish families, were valid despite the owners' absence for the better part of this century. The Jewish families claim that their descendents were illegally and forcibly evicted by Palestinians in the 20s.

    The Palestinian families say that they have legal titles dating back to the Ottoman times and that the Jewish documents are forgeries.

    The court ruling seems to open the door for Palestinians to make claims upon property that they abandoned during the 1948 War. This is a result that one would think the court would certainly want to avoid. Ben-Artzi states that the court has opened a "Pandora's Box." One property that she says could be transferred to Arab ownership is owned by the Prime Minister's own family.

    Of course, Israel would never apply the court decision to expel Jewish residents.

    I know that Bibi's (Netanyahu) family has a house in Talbiyeh and it also is abandoned property, maybe it also will be returned to its owners."

    I know that the preceding is an extensive list of links but it's a lot shorter than Robert Fisk's book which is over a thousand pages long. If you can't handle these links, you won't be able to handle the book.

  11. Yoyo, I love you, and your comments are interesting and important, but...
    Saturation is setting in...
    Yoyo's site is pretty interesting, by the way.
    Hell, I hope that you are not depressed by the almost implacable predictability of the Obama administration's foreign policies ?

  12. off topic (whew) but good, short article on public banks:

    "A bank charter brings with it the privilege of creating “credit” simply as an accounting entry on the bank’s books. The flaw in the private banking scheme is that banks create the principal portion of their loans but not the interest, which is continually drawn off the top as profit. New borrowers must continually be found to take out new loans to create this extra profit, making private banking effectively a pyramid scheme; and like any pyramid scheme, it has mathematical limits. Today, those limits appear to have been reached. Personal and national debts have gotten so large relative to incomes that it is no longer possible to maintain the fiction of solvency. We soon won’t have the money even to pay the interest on our existing debts, let alone to incur new ones. Public banking does not suffer from that flaw, because interest is not drawn out of the system but is returned to the public coffers. Public banking is thus mathematically sound and sustainable."

  13. Is this the guy that the term 'fisking' was invented for?

  14. Hey, yoyo, thanks for that link on public banking. It was really interesting. ;-)

  15. Yo Yo,

    Antiwar is you site?

    Me thinks if you focus too much on the symptoms you waste energy to direct people to the, possible and more important, causes.

    Why do we as a people hold these beliefs? The threat posed by corporate media and influences by propaganda peddlers (Rupert Murdoch being the most powerful) coupled with a people's inability to glean their news from alternate sources, and losing the ability to do simple analysis, is the disease.

  16. BTW Yo Yo is meant to be Yo Dude, I ain't calling you a yoyo. Debra already hates me for my strong opinionatin'.

    Hey Debra is that proper usage?

  17. AntiWar is not "my" site; I just hang out there a lot. I like Justin Raimondo's style; biting sarcasm when called for even if it may offend little furry woodland critters.

  18. Well, Marcus, everybody has the right to their own little naivet├ęs, as we say, judging from your analysis of just WHAT the "disease "is... ;-)
    Personally, I tend towards Yoyo's leaning on the ah... CAUSES of our current... civilizational TRENDS.
    I like Justin Raimondo's style too.
    And thank God, he seems to be beyond that incredibly stupid liberal/conservative boxthink that cripples so many people trying to think in the States these days.

  19. On a related note,

    'Reflections on the Revolution in Europe' by Christopher Caldwell

    reviewed today in the LA Times, looks very interesting...,0,32363.story

  20. Debra "little naivet├ęs" bit condescending eh?

    Tribalism is the base instinct reverted to when rule of law and critical analysis is abandoned, and that Rubicon been crossed.

    Jews ain't the "problem" and a "solution" to that has already been tried.

  21. Off topic but very good survival manual for flu pandemic if you can't get to a hospital because of overcrowding or quarantine.

  22. Reading Fisk on ME is to get the opinion of someone who has first-hand experiences - not to be lightly dismissed.

    You also need to read:

    Edward Said, Jimmy Carter, Israel Shanak, and accounts of the Roman-like destruction in Lebanon and Gaza.

    Brian P