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The Arab Reaction to Chavez’s Death and What it Tells Us

By Thabit Al-Arabi | Al-Akhbar | March 12, 2013

Outside of Venezuela and Latin America, there was no greater outpouring of support and sympathy for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez than in the Arab world.

Comparisons to the great Egyptian president Gamal Abdul-Nasser began immediately. Many even declared Chavez himself an Arab based on his anti-imperialist policies and support for Palestinian liberation. Political commentators, at least those not on the Saudi and Qatari payrolls, emphasized his public support for Palestinian rights and Iran’s right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program, as well as his opposition to the wars on Iraq, Libya, and most recently the proxy war on Syria.

It’s not difficult to understand why Chavez enjoyed such support and admiration among the Arab public. Chavez stood in stark contrast to the politically impotent, petty tyrants that rule the Arab world. He spent 14 years as president of Venezuela and consistently won clear majorities of the vote in free and fair elections.

During this period Arabs watched him defy the American empire as semi-literate oil-Sheikhs and brutal dictators groveled in front of the latest US secretary of state. They heard Chavez condemn the war on Iraq as Gulf Cooperation Council royals did sword dances with George W. Bush.

Arabs remembered Chavez’s condemnations of Israel’s 2006 onslaught of Lebanon, when Arab regimes were quietly, and some not so quietly, supporting Israel’s bid to destroy the resistance in Lebanon. Arabs watched Chavez’s famous speech on Gaza when Hosni Mubarak, along with Israel, was enforcing a siege on 1.5 million Palestinians. They also remember that it was Chavez who expelled the Israeli Ambassador to Venezuela in protest of Israel’s 2008 massacre in Gaza.

But it wasn’t only Chavez’s impact on the world stage and his support for Arab causes that earned him popular respect and admiration. The Arab public also admired Chavez’s achievements in Venezuela and Latin America, which also stood in sharp contrast to the failures, incompetence, and corruption of Arab regimes. Chavez succeeded in achieving greater economic and political integration in Latin America while pursuing progressive social and economic policies at home.

Arabs watched Chavez nationalize Venezuelan oil and use the increased revenues to help improve the lives of the most marginalized Venezuelans. Arabs watched their own oil profits squandered on the lavish lifestyles of indulgent sheikhs while Chavez cut poverty in half. Arabs also watched the rise of obscene skyscrapers and the construction of artificial islands as Chavez was investing in social programs to end illiteracy, expand education, and provide healthcare to the most impoverished areas of Venezuela.

Chavez and Nasser had much in common both on a personal and political level. Both came from a humble background, began their careers in the military, and then lead popular revolutions that changed their society. As with Nasser, Arab support and sympathy for Chavez was not emotional nor was it driven solely by a charismatic personality. Although both leaders were highly charismatic, enjoyed an emotional connection with their people, and brought them a greater degree of dignity, their support derived mainly from tangible accomplishments at home and abroad.

Chavez and Nasser were able to improve the quality of life for the neediest in their societies, and both men understood the struggle for freedom and social justice at home was intrinsically linked to the struggle against imperialism and foreign domination. For this, Chavez, like Nasser and all leaders that insist on full sovereignty and the right to pursue independent domestic and foreign policies, was also vilified by Western governments and media.

We often hear that Arab Nationalism is dead and that Arabs do not share any common concerns beyond the borders. US client regimes in the region and their hired propagandists have insisted Arabs no longer consider the liberation of Palestine the central cause of the Arab people and that anti-imperialist discourse is something of the past. Yet the passing of Chavez and the invocation of Nasser’s memory in the wake of his death show the exact opposite.

The overwhelming support for Chavez leaves no doubt that his vision for Venezuela represents many Arabs’ vision for their own future, and that must be very troubling for many people.

Thabit Al-Arabi is co-editor of Ikhras, an Arab-American website that covers Arab and Muslim American politics and activism. You can follow Ikhras on Twitter.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Arab Reaction to Chavez’s Death and What it Tells Us

9 Year old Palestinian boy attacked by settlers

International Solidarity Movement | March 12, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On the afternoon of March 12th, Yassin Knaebi was playing on the roof of his house in the old city of Hebron when suddenly stones started falling from the sky. Three young settlers who had been watching him play, began to throw stones from across the street. Yassin, was struck on the head, he lost his balance and fell from the roof of his family home, breaking his left arm in the process. Doctors are fearful of the possibility of long term damage to the young boys eye, though this is still too early to know for sure.

Yassin Knaebi`s injuries

The Knaebi family are terrorised frequently by their neigbours in the Avraham Avinu Settlement. According to Mrs. Knaebi the family is harassed at least three times a week and the Israeli army does nothing to prevent it, despite having an outpost in sight of the house. The message is simple, the settlers in the settlement wish to push the family out and occupy their home, so that the future expansion plans for the neighborhood can go forward without any problems.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Comments Off on 9 Year old Palestinian boy attacked by settlers

Fifteen Benefits of the War on Drugs

By Kevin Carson | Center for a Stateless Society | March 10, 2013

With American drug use levels essentially the same as — and levels of drug-related violence either the same as or lower than — those in countries like the Netherlands with liberal drug laws, public support for the War on Drugs appears to be faltering. This was most recently evidenced in the victory of major drug decriminalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington. Some misguided commentators go so far as to say the Drug War is “a failure.” Here, to set the record straight, are fifteen ways in which it is a resounding success:

1. It has surrounded the Fourth Amendment’s “search and seizure” restrictions, and similar provisions in state constitutions, with so many “good faith,” “reasonable suspicion” and “reasonable expectation of privacy” loopholes as to turn them into toilet paper for all intents and purposes.

2. In so doing, it has set precedents that can be applied to a wide range of other missions, like the War on Terror.

3. It has turned drug stores and banks into arms of the state that constantly inform on their customers.

4. Via programs like DARE, it has turned kids into drug informants who monitor their parents for the authorities.

5. As a result of the way DARE interacts with other things like Zero Tolerance policies and warrantless inspections by drug-sniffing dogs, the Drug War has conditioned children to believe “the policeman is their friend,” and to view snitching as admirable behavior, and to instinctively look for an authority figure to report to the second they see anything the least bit eccentric or anomalous.

6. Via civil forfeiture, it has enabled the state to create a lucrative racket in property stolen from citizens never charged, let alone convicted, of a crime. Best of all, even possessing large amounts of cash, while technically not a crime, can be treated as evidence of intent to commit a crime — saving the state the trouble of having to convert all that stolen tangible property into liquid form.

7. It has enabled local police forces to undergo military training, create paramilitary SWAT teams that operate just like the U.S. military in an occupied enemy country, get billions of dollars worth of surplus military weaponry, and wear really cool black uniforms just like the SS.

8. Between the wars on the urban drug trade and rural meth labs, it has brought under constant harassment and surveillance two of the demographic groups in our country — inner city blacks and rural poor whites — least socialized to accept orders from authority either in the workplace or political system, and vital components of any potential movement for freedom and social justice.

9.In addition, it brings those who actually fall into the clutches of the criminal justice system into a years-long cycle of direct control through imprisonment and parole.

10. By disenfranchising convicted felons, it restricts participation in the state’s “democratic” processes to only citizens who are predisposed to respect the state’s authority.

11. In conjunction with shows like Law and Order and COPS, it conditions the middle class citizenry to accept police authoritarianism and lawlessness as necessary to protect them against the terrifying threat of people voluntarily ingesting substances into their own bodies.

12. Through “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” rhetoric, it conditions the public to assume the surveillance state means well and that only evildoers object to ubiquitous surveillance.

13. In conjunction with endless military adventures overseas and “soldiers defend our freedoms” rhetoric, it conditions the public to worship authority figures in uniform, and predisposes them to cheerfully accept future augmentations of military and police authority without a peep of protest.

14. It creates enormously lucrative opportunities for the large banks — one of the most important real constituencies of the American government — to launder money from drug trafficking.

15. Thanks to major drug production centers like the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, the opium industry in Afghanistan, and the cocaine industry in South America, it enables the CIA — the world’s largest narcotrafficking gang — to obtain enormous revenues for funding black ops and death squads around the world. This network of clandestine intelligence agencies, narcotraffickers and death squads, by the way, is the other major real constituency of the American government.

The Drug War would indeed be a failure if its real function was to reduce drug consumption or drug-related violence. But the success or failure of state policies is rightly judged by the extent to which they promote the interests served by the state. The Drug War is a failure only if the state exists to serve you.

~

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He is a mutualist and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation, and his own Mutualist Blog.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Justice Dept. Supports Right of Citizens to Photograph and Film Police

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | March 12, 2013
Mannie Garcia (photo: manniegarcia.com)

The Obama administration says Americans have the constitutional right to record police officers making arrests, lending weight to a legal debate that has grown in the era of camera-ready smartphones.

The administration’s legal position was stated in a court filing by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has sided with the plaintiff in Garcia v. Montgomery County.

The case involves Mannie Garcia, a photojournalist who, in June 2011, took pictures of two police officers in Wheaton, Maryland, making an arrest. The officers demanded that Garcia stop taking photos, and when he refused, they put him in a choke hold, confiscated his camera and arrested him. Garcia was later acquitted of disorderly conduct. He then sued the officers and department.

Garcia is best known for two photos he took of U.S. presidents: George W. Bush staring out the window of Air Force One in 2005 at the damage in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina and the portrait of Barack Obama that Shepard Fairey turned into the iconic Obama “HOPE” poster.

In the statement filed in a Maryland federal court, the Justice Department said all individuals—not just credentialed photojournalists—have a First Amendment right to record law enforcement officers performing their duties.

The department added that Americans are protected under the Fourth and 14th Amendment from having their recordings seized without a warrant or due process.

Justice officials have urged the court to uphold these constitutional guarantees and reject the police department’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

To Learn More:

U.S. Weighs In Favor Of Right To Record Police (by Josh Gerstein, Politico)

Mannie Garcia v. Montgomery County, Maryland (U.S. District Court, Maryland)

Illinois Law Criminalizing the Recording of Police Activity Comes to an End after 51 Years (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Why are Americans Arrested for Videotaping Police in Public Places? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Comments Off on Justice Dept. Supports Right of Citizens to Photograph and Film Police

On tenth anniversary, Israel partisans behind Iraq War still at large

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | March 12, 2013

Three years ago this month, I wrote a piece entitled “Who’s to Blame for the Iraq War?” to mark the seventh anniversary of the US invasion. My sole purpose in compiling a by-no-means-exhaustive list of 20 Israel partisans who played key roles in inducing America into making that disastrous strategic blunder was to help dispel the widespread confusion — some of it sown under the guise of “progressive investigative journalism” by likely crypto-Zionists – about why the United States made that fateful decision. As the tenth anniversary approaches, there is no excuse for anyone genuinely interested in the facts to deny the ultimate responsibility of Tel Aviv and its foreign agents for the quagmire in Iraq. Nevertheless, it’s an appropriate time to remind ourselves of some of the chief architects of the devastating Iraq War.

1. Ahmed Chalabi, the source of much of the false “intelligence” about Iraqi WMD, was introduced to his biggest boosters Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz by their mentor, a University of Chicago professor who had known the Iraqi con man since the 1960s. An influential Cold War hawk, Albert Wohlstetter fittingly has an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference centre named in his honor.

2. In 1982, Oded Yinon’s seminal article, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s” was published in Kivunim, a Hebrew-language journal affiliated with the World Zionist Organization. “Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets,” advised Yinon. “Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.”

3. “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a report prepared for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, recommended “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board during the initial years of the George W. Bush administration, was the study group leader.

4, 5. A November 1997 Weekly Standard editorial entitled “Saddam Must Go” opined: “We know it seems unthinkable to propose another ground attack to take Baghdad. But it’s time to start thinking the unthinkable.” The following year, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative group, published a letter to President Clinton urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein on the pretext that he was a “hazard” to “a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil.” PNAC co-founders William Kristol and Robert Kagan also co-authored the “Saddam Must Go” editorial.

6. In Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, published by AEI Press in 1999, David Wurmser argued that President Clinton’s policies in Iraq were failing to contain the country and proposed that the US use its military to redraw the map of the Middle East. He would go on to serve as Mideast adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney from 2003 to mid-2007.

7. On September 15, 2001 at Camp David, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz attempted to justify a US attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan because it was “doable.” In the lead-up to the war, he assured Americans that it was “wildly off the mark” to think hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to pacify a postwar Iraq; that the Iraqis “are going to welcome us as liberators”; and that “it is just wrong” to assume that the United States would have to fund the Iraq war.

8. On September 23, 2001, Senator Joe Lieberman, who had pushed for the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there was evidence that “suggests Saddam Hussein may have had contact with bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network, perhaps [was] even involved in the September 11 attack.”

9. A November 12, 2001 New York Times editorial called an alleged meeting between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi agent in Prague an “undisputed fact.” Celebrated for his linguistic prowess, columnist William Safire was egregiously sloppy in his use of language here.

10. A November 20, 2001 Wall Street Journal op-ed argued that the US should continue to target regimes that sponsor terrorism, claiming, “Iraq is the obvious candidate, having not only helped al Qaeda, but attacked Americans directly (including an assassination attempt against the first President Bush) and developed weapons of mass destruction.” The professor of strategic studies at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University who made these spurious claims was Eliot Cohen.

11. George W. Bush’s January 2002 State of the Union address infamously described Iraq as part of an “axis of evil.” It was David Frum, Bush’s Canadian-born speechwriter, who coined the provocative phrase.

12. In a February 2002 article entitled “How to win World War IV,” Norman Podhoretz, the longtime editor of Commentary magazine, asserted: “Yet whether or not Iraq becomes the second front in the war against terrorism, one thing is certain: there can be no victory in this war if it ends with Saddam Hussein still in power.”

13. Kenneth Adelman, Defense Policy Board member and PNAC signatory, predicted in a February 13, 2002 Washington Post op-ed: “I believe that demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.”

14. On August 3, 2002, Charles Krauthammer, the psychiatrist-turned-Washington Post columnist, enticed Americans with this illusory carrot: “If we win the war, we are in control of Iraq, it is the single largest source of oil in the world…. We will have a bonanza, a financial one, at the other end, if the war is successful.”

15. In a September 20, 2002 Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled “The Case for Toppling Saddam,” current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Saddam Hussein could be hiding nuclear material “in centrifuges the size of washing machines” throughout the country.

16. “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990—it’s the threat against Israel.” Despite this candid admission to a foreign policy conference at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002, Philip Zelikow, a member of President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, authored the National Security Strategy of September 2002 that provided the justification for a preemptive war against Iraq.

17. According to a December 7, 2002 New York Times article, the role of convicted Iran-Contra conspirator Elliott Abrams during Colin Powell’s efforts to negotiate a resolution on Iraq at the United Nations was “to make sure that Secretary Powell did not make too many concessions to the Europeans on the resolution’s wording, pressing a hard-line view.” Abrams was senior director of Near East and North African affairs at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration.

18. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff until he was indicted for lying to federal investigators in the Valerie Plame case, helped draft Colin Powell’s fraudulent February 5, 2003 UN speech.

19. According to Julian Borger’s July 17, 2003 Guardian article entitled “The spies who pushed for war,” the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) “forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon’s office in Israel” to provide the Bush administration with alarmist reports on Saddam’s Iraq. Douglas Feith was the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy who headed the OSP.

20. Bernard Lewis, a British-born professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University whose 1990 essay “The Roots of Muslim Rage” introduced the dubious concept of a “Clash of Civilizations,” has been called “perhaps the most significant intellectual influence behind the invasion of Iraq.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Comments Off on On tenth anniversary, Israel partisans behind Iraq War still at large

iFilm English: Window to Iran culture and civilization

Ask your provider to include in your programming

Press TV – March 12, 2013

amiri20130311182457163Following the remarkable success of iFilm Arabic and iFilm Persian, the English edition of Iran’s 24-hour entertainment and movie channel (iFilm English) has been launched as the first Iranian channel broadcasting movies and serials in English.

The channel, which broadcasts premium Iranian movies and serials that have been professionally dubbed, and which has been launched with the objective of introducing Iran’s culture, civilization and history to the people of the world, officially began broadcasting today, Monday, March 11, 2013.

iFilm English broadcasts movies, serials and entertainment programs in English 24/7. The audience of the channel can receive its programs through the four satellites of Hotbird, Optus (for Australia), Nilesat (for the Middle East) and Intelsat (for the EU and Africa). In addition to satellite coverage, the programs of iFilm English can also be received from the Internet on personal computers, tablets, cell-phones and smart TVs across the world.

According to Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) World Service Dr. Mohammad Sarafraz, iFilm English, with the slogan of “A New Family Experience,” seeks to introduce families in Western societies to a new experience of visual media and cinema with a content different from that of Hollywood, and thus provide a safe and attractive environment for their leisure time and in their own language.

Dr. Sarafraz says the channel’s programs include dubbed Iranian movies and serials in the genres of family-society, comedy, thrillers and history, and also various interesting programs, including those depicting behind-the-scenes of the movies and TV serials, candid camera programs, 100-second dramas, various documentaries about Iran and programs establishing interaction between the viewers and the channel.

iFilm English attempts to counter the West’s campaign to spread Iranophobia by opening a window to the Iranian-Islamic culture and civilization, portraying the truths about the Iranian society and offering an image based on the reality of the peace-loving people of Iran and its ancient civilization.

Using cutting-edge technology and streaming programs on the Internet and cell-phones, iFilm English also attempts to counter the efforts recently made by certain Western satellite companies aimed at limiting the voice of the culture of the Iranian people.

http://www.ifilmtv.ir/english/

The channel can be watched on the following frequencies:

Hotbird 13B at 13.0° E

Frequency: 11727 (TP XP50)
FEC: ¾
Polarization: V
Symbol Rate: 27500

Optus D2 at 152° E

Frequency: 12706 (TP 8L)
FEC: ¾
Polarization: V
Symbol Rate: 22500

Eutelsat 7 West A at 7.3° (Nilesat)

Frequency: 11679 (TP C25)
FEC: ¾
Polarization: H
Symbol Rate: 27500

Intelsat 10at 47.5° E (Europe Africa beam)

Frequency: 12602 (TP 21 K)
FEC: ¾
Polarization: V
Symbol Rate: 27500

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

NEOCON CHUTZPAH OVER TARGETED ASSASSINATIONS

By Damian Lataan | March 12, 2013

Before I launch into criticising neocons for their hypocrisy and double standards regarding targeted assassinations, I should point out that I am against any type of targeted assassination regardless of who is killing who.

Today in Commentary magazine, Jonathan Tobin, the magazines most prolific neoconservative propagandist, wrote an article criticising the honouring in France of the Palestinian fighter Majdi Rimawi who is imprisoned in Israel for assassinating Rehavam Ze’evi, who at the time of his assassination was Israel’s Minister of Tourism.

Tobin writes:

Bezons, [a suburb of Paris] which is not far from the city of light, is not exactly a tourist attraction. But it has now garnered some international attention due to an event held at the municipality last month that honored and granted honorary citizenship to Majdi Rimawi, a Palestinian who is currently imprisoned in Israel. According to Bezons Mayor Dominique Lesparre, a member of the French Communist Party, Rimawi’s only crime is to resist Israeli oppression. However, the ceremony omitted the salient fact that Rimawi was jailed for his role in planning the assassination of Rehavam Ze’evi, Israel’s Minister of Tourism in 2001.

Omitted by Tobin, however, is the salient fact that Ze’evi was much more than just a Minister of Tourism; he was an ultra-right wing Zionist general who planned many attacks against Palestinian fighters during the time when he was running the Sayeret Kharuv, an Israeli so called ‘anti-terrorist’ group within the IDF and was, therefore, a legitimate target for assassination even by Israel’s own standards.

If the IDF are able to assassinate Palestinians who the IDF believe are planning, or have planned, acts of violence against Israelis, then why should neocons have a problem with Palestinians assassinating Israelis who have planned acts of violence against Palestinians?

Hypocrisy and arrogance; the values that ‘they’ hate about ‘us’.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Comments Off on NEOCON CHUTZPAH OVER TARGETED ASSASSINATIONS

US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over gas pipeline deal with Iran

Press TV – March 12, 2013

The US State Department has threatened Islamabad with sanctions if the country goes through with a joint multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project with Iran.

“We have serious concerns, if this project actually goes forward, that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday.

“We’ve been straight up with the Pakistanis about these concerns,” Nuland added.

The 1996 Iran Sanctions Act allows the US government to ban imports from any non-American company that invests more than USD 20 million a year in the Iranian oil and natural gas sector.

Nuland said the US was “supporting large-scale energy projects in Pakistan that will add some 900 megawatts to the power grid by the end of 2013.”

The threats came on the same day as the inauguration of the final construction phase of the multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, intended to carry natural gas from Iran to its eastern neighbor.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari attended the ceremony on the Iran-Pakistan border on Monday.

The pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of 180 million is grappling with serious energy shortages.

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji said on Monday that Pakistan has raised its demand for natural gas imports from Iran to 30 million cubic meters (mcm) per day from a previous 21.5 mcm.

Owji added that Iran has hitherto spent USD 2 billion to build the section of the pipeline that lies on the Iranian side of the border and that the Pakistani section would need USD 3 billion.

On March 2, Zardari said that Islamabad would not stop the pipeline project at any cost.

The Pakistani president stressed that his government would continue to pursue the construction of the gas pipeline despite threats and pressure from the US.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

World Bank: Israel restrictions impede Palestinian economy

Ma’an – March 12, 2013

BETHLEHEM – Israeli closures and restrictions are causing lasting damage to the competitiveness of the Palestinian economy, the World Bank said Tuesday.

Israeli-imposed economic restrictions continue to constrain sustainable economic growth, a situation that is unlikely to change without political progress, according to the World Bank’s latest report.

The economic monitoring report warns that the Palestinian economy is in danger of losing its capacity in the global market.

Since the late 1990s, the productivity of the agriculture sector has halved and the manufacturing sector has largely stagnated, the report found.

Exports dropped to 7 percent in 2011, one of the lowest rates in the world. Exports are concentrated in low value-added goods and services and mostly sold to Israel, according to the World Bank.

Water and transport infrastructure is deteriorating, damaging economic productivity, particularly in Gaza which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

Meanwhile, “alarmingly high” levels of unemployment mean many Palestinians do not have the chance to develop on-the-job skills, the report notes. Increased employment in the public sector has provided short-term relief but is unsustainable and does not prepare workers for private sector roles.

“The worrisome implication of these phenomena is that the long term employability prospects for the Palestinian labor force are being eroded. In addition to the economic implications, protracted unemployment, especially among youth, tends to weaken social cohesion,” the report says.

“Continued financial support by the donor community, and increased reform efforts by the PA to manage the current fiscal challenges must remain a high priority,” said Mariam Sherman, World Bank country director for the West Bank and Gaza, in a statement.

“However, much bolder efforts to create the basis for a viable economy need to be made to prevent the continued deterioration that will have lasting and costly implications for economic competitiveness and social cohesion,” Sherman added.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , | Comments Off on World Bank: Israel restrictions impede Palestinian economy

Israeli security officer brutally beats unarmed Palestinian shepherd

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC News | March 12, 2013

Israeli activists caught on film an attack by an Israeli settlement security guard on a Palestinian shepherd Monday, near the Palestinian village of Susya in the southern West Bank on Monday.

The shepherd was identified as Na’al Abu Aram, but the Israeli security guard, apparently from the Israeli illegal outpost called ‘Avigail’ that was built on stolen Palestinian land, was not identified.

The guard beat, punched, kicked and shoved the shepherd, then ran after his flock of sheep to scare them. Two Israeli soldiers were present at the time of the beating, but they did not intervene.

Avigail was established on stolen land by former Israeli soldiers in 2001. The soldiers entered the land, which belongs to local Palestinians, and installed trailers. They moved in, heavily armed, and began to harass the local villagers and shepherds. No attempt has been made by the Israeli government to remove the trespassing Israelis from the land that they illegally seized by force.

In Monday’s incident, the security guard told reporters with Ynetnews, which obtained and published the video of the incident, that he was being unfairly slandered, and that it was the shepherd who attacked him.

He claimed that the local residents were being accompanied by ‘anarchist activists’ who try to ‘incite provocations’. The guard was apparently referring to Israeli human rights workers who arrived on the scene to try to document abuses reported to them by local Palestinian residents.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Israeli security officer brutally beats unarmed Palestinian shepherd