As NATO gloats over another assassination attempt against Colonel Moammar Qaddafi, resulting in the death of several workers, but again missing the embattled Libyan leader, the Libyan rebels are being lent ever increasing support from their long-time backers in the West.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced the approval of more “non-lethal” aid to the rebels including uniforms, bullet-proof vests, and communication gear. The UK also invited the rebels to open up a mission in London – an easy task as most of the opposition’s leadership have already lived in London and Washington for years. In fact the very call for the Libyan rebels’ February 17th “Day of Rage” was made by the NCLO out of London. Days later, Ibrahim Sahad, a co-founder of the NCLO and NFSL, would call for an international military intervention sitting directly in front of the White House.
Ibrahim Sahad of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya set the rhetorical groundwork for the US/UK/French military intervention in Libya. To this day his claims remain either unverified or in fact, verified lies.
Added to the mix of air strikes and “non-lethal” military aid, the West is also sending in “security contractor” firms to negotiate deals with the rebels in Benghazi. Of course “security contractors” in reality are armed mercenaries. One such firm, Secopex of France, was negotiating with rebels in Benghazi when the head of the firm, Pierre Marziali according to the New York Times, was shot in the stomach and later died. Secopex had done work in Somalia and boasts on its website that one of its specialties is the “training of national armies.”
While the governments leading this imperial adventure into Libya attempt to cling to the last vestiges of their legitimacy by denying recent attacks on Qaddafi’s family were assassination attempts, and while they claim ground troops are not part of the equation, Secopex’s presence in Benghazi is evidence that tacit support for a secret war has already been given. By claiming buildings, not people are the targets, and mercenaries from private companies, not soldiers define the current operations in Libya, the US, UK, and France make a mockery out of the supposed moral high-ground they claim to be fighting this war from.
Globalist Inspired Rebel Leader
According to US-educated Mahmoud Gibril Elwarfally, interim prime minister of the contrived “Libyan Transitional National Council,” in a May 12, 2011 talk before the Brookings Institution, “what’s taking place is a natural product of the globalizational process that started in the mid-80′s.”
Mahmoud Elwarfally, self-proclaimed leader of the Libyan “Transitional National Council” speaks before the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution, moderated by former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack. Elwarfally maintains that the rebellion against Qaddafi was a natural product of the “globalizational process.”He still claims the rebellion is “peaceful.”
Elwarfally talks about a “new global cultural paradigm,” “new global values,” common values, shared by many “young people.” These young people, he says, are calling for human dignity, democracy, and inclusion at all levels of national government, repeating verbatim statements coming from geopolitical meddler Zbigniew Brzezinski and the myriad of US-funded NGOs that promote these “new global values.”
Deriding 30 years of documented history showing that the current armed uprising is but the latest campaign in a long war of foreign-funded armed sedition against Qaddafi, and recent admissions by rebel leaders themselves of having direct ties to Al Qaeda, Elwarfally claims such accusations are merely “Qaddafi projecting fears” onto the Libyan people and the world abroad. Elwarfally, rewriting history in mid-sentence, claims that armed struggle was forced upon them – despite 30 years of history saying otherwise. He proposes that current fighting is merely defensive and that the rebel is still peaceful. When asked about comments he made just minutes before regarding “marching on Tripoli,” Elwarfally maintains it was merely rhetorical.
When asked by an audience member what Libya will look like in 2025, it turns out conveniently he was part of a study by Libya professors and “Libyan practitioners” in 2007-2008 titled “Libya: Vision 2025.” Not surprisingly, this project was conducted with input from the IMF and involved Libya’s placement within the “global scene.” Elwarfally laments that Libya’s oil reserves are limited and that the solution is a transition to a service economy. He also claims Vision 2025′s conclusion included an education shift, turning Libya into “a lake” to develop the skills of Africans to serve the needs of the European Union.
Surely Africans are eager to once again be in the service of wealthy Europeans, who at one point owned tremendous swaths of their continent, some tycoons naming entire nations after themselves in the ultimate expression of imperial megalomania. Elwarfally, a man educated in Pittsburgh, and apparently a lifelong fan of globalization, stuns us with his frank comments and his disturbing vision for the future of not only Libya, but the role it will play in directing Africa’s efforts and resources into the American and European corporate-financier interests. It is almost as disturbing as his breathtaking mis-characterization of the men who fight under him in what is most certainly not a “peaceful” rebellion.
Elwarfally concludes his talk by mentioning the “diminishing of the sense of the state” in Libya, due, he claims to a lack of “institutions” and “rule of law.” Kenneth Pollack, former CIA analyst and National Security Council member, chimes in declaring he hopes Elwarfally’s globalist dream becomes a reality even before 2025. Pollack, of course, is one of several contributors to the “Which Path to Persia?” report, within which open talk of funding terrorists, foreign-funded street protests, augmented with forms of US military support is made in regards to overthrowing Iran’s government. Quite obviously Pollack’s stratagems articulated in this treacherous report have already been applied to Iran as well as Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, and beyond.
If there was any doubt in the minds of those watching the “Arab Spring” unfold, doubts that haven’t been laid to rest by open admissions by the US that it was a plot of their own design, Mahmoud Gibril Elwarfally of the Libyan “Transitional National Committee” himself declares fealty to the globalist agenda and his commitment to propagating the interdependency and exploitation of the developing world by the global corporate-financier oligarchy. When similar calls for “democracy” and “dignity” are made by similar revolutions now festering in Eastern Europe along Russia’s border, and throughout China’s “String of Pearls” in South and Southeast Asia, remember Elwarfally’s words spoken before the globalist Brookings Institution.
Today the village of Jaloud held a non-violent demonstration against the decision of Israel to cut off the electricity of seven families living on the outskirts of the village. The villagers and several international organisations marched from the village to the aforementioned houses carrying banners protesting the theft of their land and electricity. Jaloud, which is home to nearly 1,000 villagers is, according to the plan of the District Coordinating Office located in area B. However a small number of properties fall into area C outside of this plan, despite being inhabited for over 80 years and have recently been served with notices that they will have their electricity cut off. They have been given a court date of 19th May, where they will be able to object to this decision. Village Mayor Abdullah Haj Mohamd says that he doesn’t know what the families will do if their power is cut as they are reliant on electricity for their everyday life and farm work.
Jaloud, which has been inhabited for over 6,000 years is now surrounded by seven illegal Israeli settlements and a military base. Since the beginning of the occupation the village has lost 80% of it’s land to settlements and it suffers from frequent attacks by the settlers, often at night. The village has also been targeted by the Israeli military who three months ago uprooted and removed 200 olive trees the villagers had planted on their land. This most recent move from the state of Israel can be seen as an attempt to prevent the expansion of the village and force families back into the centre, all the while facilitating the expansion of the surrounding settlements.
The Radioactive Dictatorship of Silvio Berlusconi
Italy’s democracy is in tatters as Silvio Berlusconi and his ruling right-wing coalition work to block a citizen’s referendum that would repeal the decision of the Berlusconi government to return to nuclear energy production on the peninsula. Italy has not produced nuclear energy since 1990 and recent polls indicate that more than 75 % of Italians are opposed to nuclear energy production. The referendum in question is on the ballot for the 12th and 13th of June, although a recent call by the Berlusconi government for a one year moratorium on the relaunch of nuclear energy in Italy threatens to push the referendum off the ballot through a last minute legal ruling. The campaign to bring this referendum to a vote was spearheaded by opposition political party Italia Dei Valori (Italy of Values) which led a broad based coalition of citizen and environmental groups to gather the 500,000 signatures needed to get the referendum on the ballot.
Italy is the only G8 country that does not produce nuclear energy. It has been free of functioning nuclear power plants since 1990 but does receive around 10% of its electricity from nuclear energy generated in France and Germany. Citizens successfully passed a referendum in 1987, one year after the catastrophic Chernobyl accident, that called for the phasing out and suspension of nuclear energy production. In 1987 Italy had two operating nuclear plants and has had four operational reactors in its history. In 2007 while campaigning for his third election, Berlusconi announced his intentions to return to nuclear energy production in Italy as a strategic part of a national energy policy.
Back in 2007 Berlusconi wasn’t the only one who supported a return to nuclear energy. Important elements of the newly formed Democratic Party also voiced their support for a return to nuclear power. A wikileaks cable 07ROME2438 revealed that Pier Luigi Bersani, the current secretary of the Italian Democratic Party who in 2007 was serving as Economic Development Minister for the Romano Prodi led Center Left coalition government, opened the door for Italy’s return to atomic energy by forging the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership agreement with then US energy secretary Samuel Bodman. At that time Bersani stated that “a return to nuclear energy was not excluded by the 1987 referendum” and that it was his hope that the agreement forged between the Prodi and Bush administrations would “help lead to a change in attitude from the Italian people toward nuclear energy.” Walter Veltroni, the ex-mayor of Rome who was the newly formed Democratic Party’s first candidate for president against Berlusconi in 2008, also voiced his openness to the idea of returning to Nuclear Energy production.
Since Fukushima Bersani and his fellow Democrats have been much more subdued about their support for Nuclear Energy and they have voiced strong opposition to the current government’s plan for the construction of new reactors. The Democrats have joined the chorus of the Green Party, Italia Dei Valori and scores of citizens groups in calling Berlusconi’s attempts to block the referendum a “theft” and a “deceptive attempt to hinder the democratic process.” Fukushima has inspired renewed vigor in the antinuclear movement and worked to sway public opinion in opposition to nuclear power that had become increasingly split over the past few years.
Following Berlusconi’s election victory in 2008 and his return to power for the third time since 1994, Italy’s new minister of economic development Claudio Scajola — before being forced out of office by a corruption scandal involving bribery and fraud in 2010 — announced that the government had scheduled the start of construction for the first new Italian nuclear power plant by 2013. On February the 24th of 2009, an agreement between France and Italy was signed allowing Italy to share in France’s expertise in the area of nuclear power station design. On July 9th 2009 the Italian legislature passed an energy bill covering the establishment of a Nuclear Regulatory Agency and giving the government six months to select sites for new plants. These sites have never been finalized. On the 3rd of August 2009, Italy’s energy giant Enel and Eletricite de France established a joint venture Sviluppo Nucleare Italia Srl for studying the feasibility of building at least four reactors using a design of French reactor builder Areva — the worlds largest nuclear energy company. These energy oligarchs, with Berlusconi as their champion, are doing everything in their power to preserve their multi-billion dollar investment in a nuclear future.
To this end Berlusconi’s council of ministers announced a one year moratorium on all questions relating to the research and activation of sites for new nuclear plants in Italy on the 24rd of March 2011, less than two weeks from the earthquake in Japan and subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster. This move was immediately met with skepticism from Italy’s antinuclear movement and opposition political parties and was seen as a poorly veiled attempt to block the June referendum. On April 26th, the 25th anniversary of the catastrophic Chernobyl accident, Berlusconi held a press conference with French president Nikolay Sarkozy in Rome. At this press conference Berlusconi made his radioactive intentions clear for all. “We are absolutely convinced that nuclear energy is the future for the whole world,” he said. He went on to detail how recent polls showed that the referendum to block nuclear power for decades to come could pass at this time and that by temporarily suspending Italy’s return to nuclear program the issue would be revisited when the Italian voters had been “calmed down” and returned to the realization that Nuclear Energy was the most viable and safe way to produce electricity. He went on to explain how the “leftists and ecologists” had manipulated the emotions of the Italian voters after Chernobyl and penalized the Italian people who have to pay higher electric rates than France that operates 58 nuclear power plants. Berlusconi explained that the “situation in Japan had scared the Italian voters” and that the “inevitable return to nuclear power in Italy” would not be abandoned nor would the collaborations between Enel and Eletricite de France.
Now with Germany and Japan announcing the phasing out of their Nuclear programs and the scrapping of plans for the construction of new reactors, it would seem like political suicide to barge full steam ahead with a pro nuclear stance, but this is Italy and Berlusconi is still at the command. Berlusconi is now in control of all the major television outlets, including the state owned RAI, so getting the word out to the voters that there will be a vote on the 12th and 13th of June is proving difficult, and the heavy hand of State censorship has been wielded. At the annual May Day concert in Rome, sponsored by Italy’s two largest labor unions and televised on the state run RAI, the performing artists were required to sign a waiver agreeing not to speak about the upcoming referendums or risk a fine of over ten thousand euros. This left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of the attendees of this May Day celebration as news surfaced almost immediately that the state media outlet had censored the event.
As of now the referendum to block Nuclear Power is still on the ballot. Only a last minute ruling by the Supreme Court could remove it, and the Berlusconi government is banking on this decision as a result of their so-called nuclear moratorium. The antinuclear referendum is accompanied on the June ballot by two other referendums, one to repeal the Berlusconi government’s attempts to privatize water and the other to repeal a law called “legittimo impedimento” which was passed by the Right wing majority in order to protect Berlusconi from prosecution by giving him and members of parliament immunity from prosecution while serving in office. Each of these referendums required the gathering of half a million valid signatures and will need the high participation of 50 % plus 1 eligible voters to reach the mandated quorum in order to be considered valid. No legislative referendum has been able to reach this quorum in over a decade. Now the Berlusconi government is also trying to block the vote to keep water publicly owned. In recent legislation they created a new Water Authority in an attempt to legally block this referendum as well. While it is evident to the engaged and politically active citizenry that the Berlusconi government is pulling out all the stops to block the democratic process, the masses who get their information from Berlusconi’s private and state run television empire are being kept in the dark. No news on the referendums is reported unless it is it is very late at night or the early hours of the morning.
To publicize these referendums the citizens are taking to the streets, leafleting, using creative direct action and social networking on the internet to spread the news and get out the vote. On May 9th Greenpeace activists unfurled a large banner from Mussolini’s balcony on Palazzo Venezia in Rome. The banner includes a caricature of Berlusconi saying “Italians, I decide your future” and a call for Italians to vote on the Nuclear Referndum. Angelo Bonelli, President of the Italian Green Party, summed it up like this: “The referendums will be voted on anyway, despite the fact that the thieves of democracy have returned to action. The attempts of the government to steal the democratic rights of the Italian people to vote against nuclear energy and the privatization of water will not succeed.” On the 12th and 13th of June, the Italian people can change the course of their future by voting yes to say no to nuclear energy and the privatization of their water resources.
Michael Leonardi splits his time between Ohio and Italy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A large march started after the Friday prayers midday towards the construction site of the new settlement Israel is building on the land of the villagers of Nabi Saleh near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
Israeli soldiers fired a number of tear gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at the nonviolent protesters wounding at least 22 civilians.
One American protester was wounded in the head when he was hit with a tear gas canister. He was moved to the hospital for treatment and his wounds were described as critical.
Israeli troops also kidnapped two women identified as Nida and Iqbal Tamimi. Eyewitnesses said they were handcuffed and blind-folded and were taken to unknown destination. Troops also arrested two Israelis from the site. Dozens other were treated for gas inhalation and for being beaten by the Israeli soldiers.
Israeli soldiers also assaulted photojournalist Hilmi Tamimi, and broke his camera during the protest.
Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported Thursday that Italian and Malaysian human rights activists arrived in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Border Terminal between Gaza and Egypt.
The “Vittorio” convoy includes nearly 50 activists, including friends of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, who was kidnapped and killed by extremist outlaws in Gaza in mid-April.
Arrigoni was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM); he arrived in Gaza in August 2008 aboard the first ship that challenged the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza, and decided to stay in the coastal region.
During the illegal three-week Israeli war on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, Arrigoni accompanied Palestinian ambulances and helped medics in their rescue operations.
He also wrote dozens of reports and feature stories documenting the Israeli violations against the residents in Gaza. During his presence in Gaza, Arrigoni was also granted Palestinian citizenship handed to him by Prime Minister of the Hamas-led government, Ismail Haniyya.
BETHLEHEM — Israeli police will limit the number of Muslim worshipers in Jerusalem on Friday, in accordance with special deployment in preparation for Nakba Day.
Only men aged 45 and older with Israeli ID cards will be allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, police announced. No restrictions will be placed on women, they said.
Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told public radio that police would “thin out the number of worshipers at the Temple Mount” — Israel’s term for the compound inside the walled Old City which houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
The move to limit access to what is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina, came as the Palestinians were poised to begin a series of marches and demonstrations in the run up to Nakba Day, which will be commemorated on Sunday.
Activists behind a website called “The Third Intifada” have also called for a new uprising, which would see thousands of Palestinians march towards Israeli checkpoints, and refugees towards homes from which they fled or were forced out of when Israel was created in 1948.
Palestinian refugees are also expected to stage rallies and demonstrations in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that some restrictions would be in force during the Friday prayers but he was not immediately able to give details.
Israel on Tuesday celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its creation, marking the date according to the Hebrew calendar.
Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel and abroad, who mourn the day as the “Nakba” or “catastrophe,” are to stage three days of rallies and protests starting on Friday.
But Aharonovitch told the radio he believed the anniversary would pass quietly, and Israeli news website Ynet quoted him as saying he had instructed the security forces “to exercise restraint and avoid using force.”
More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants — were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel’s creation.
Around 160,000 Palestinians, who remained in Israel after 1948, now number around 1.36 million people, or 20 percent of the country’s population.
Successive Israeli governments have refused to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to homes they fled from or were forced out of in 1948 for fear that a massive influx would threaten the Jewish majority in Israel, which now counts some 5.8 million Jewish citizens.
Israel’s finance minister has said that the Israeli decision to freeze the tax revenue transfer to the Palestinian Authority is a “punishment”. Yuval Steinitz said that the “warning” move by Israel was a response to Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas.
Speaking to Radio Israel, Steinitz said, “The delay in transferring funds is a yellow card for the Palestinian Authority after the signing of the agreement with Hamas.” At the moment, it is a delay of a week to ten days, but it could become a “red card”, depending on “clarifications” from the Palestinians.
Annually, Israel collects taxes totaling between $55 – 62 million at border crossings and ports on behalf of the PA and transfers it to the Palestinians under an economic deal agreed alongside the Oslo autonomy accords.
The Organizing Committee for the “Return to Palestine March” issued the following political communiqué on its blog marking 63 years since 1948 Nakba Day (catastrophe):
From the suffering caused by the Nakba, from our aspirations for return and liberation, from the inspiration brought about by the Arab people’s revolutions, and from our longing to return to the land and the skies of Palestine, we rise.
Marking the 1948 Nakba and restating our commitment to the Right of Return of all Palestinians to historical Palestine, the Palestinian people and all the free men and women who support the Palestinian cause will rally on May 15, 2011 in various countries around the world to commemorate the day in a massive Palestinian, Arab and global revolution.
In Lebanon the Return to Palestine March will set out towards the Palestinian/Lebanese borders on Sunday May 15, 2011, on the day commemorating the 1948 Nakba. The March will include various Palestinian and Lebanese civil and popular organizations and associations, professional associations, federations, NGOs, political parties and groups, in addition to independent activists from different regions and refugee camps around Lebanon.
This March will take place in order to affirm the right of all Palestinians to return to their homeland and their properties, from which they were forcibly uprooted in 1948 by Zionist terrorism and violence.
This popular and peaceful March will include thousands of Returnees from various refugee camps and their partners and supporters from diverse groups representing the Lebanese political and social spectra.
This popular March aims at the following:
• Affirming the Right of Return of the Palestinians to their homeland, possessions and villages from which they were coercively driven out, and refusing any compromises or concessions vis-à-vis this inalienable Right, while at the same time also refusing all forms of Zionist settlement and displacement programs.
• Affirming the Right of Return as a sacred, historical, legitimate, legal, humane and political right. It is both an individual and collective right and will continue to be applicable to successive generations.
• Affirming that the Right of Return is a permanent, unconditional, non-negotiable and irrevocable right.
• Emphasizing the right to resistance in all its forms in order to liberate all the Palestinian lands, from the sea to the river.
• Underscoring and asserting Palestinian national unity and putting an end to all divisions and discord by returning to respecting popular will on the basis of endorsing resistance and the total liberation of all Palestinian lands.
• Supporting the freedom of the Arab people as a guarantee for the continuation of resistance for the liberation of Palestine.
• Affirming that Palestine is an Arab country, and that every Arab has the right to return to this land and a duty to seek its liberation.
• Asserting the role of both the Arab and the Islamic nations in supporting the Palestinian cause and the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees; a dignified, unconstrained and comprehensive return.
This March in Lebanon will be taking place concurrently with several other Marches being organized towards the Palestinian borders with other surrounding Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan). Demonstrations targeting Israeli embassies are also planned in a number of Western cities to protest the occupation of Palestine and the Zionist apartheid regime.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatuses to regulate Palestinian rallies commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe), the name given by Palestinians to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
The PA should also, insists Netanyahu, prevent the rallies from crossing the Separation Wall established on Palestinian territory in the West Bank and clashing with Israeli occupation forces.
Reports on Radio Israel added that according to Israeli security sources, “The Nakba commemoration rallies will not develop into violent confrontations, but will mostly take place inside Palestinian cities.”
The rallies are expected to begin after Friday prayers on 13th May and reach a peak on Sunday 15th, the exact anniversary of the declaration of independence of the state of Israel. That event took place in an orgy of ethnic cleansing which created the Palestinian refugee problem which persists to this day.