Michael Burleigh: Afghanistan -Ten Years of Bloodshed, And More to Come!

Ten years on we are still being told that one more heave, of three year's duration will leave Afghanistan in a condition where it is no longer a safe haven for Islamist terrorists. Actually, the biggest terrorist threat to us comes from Luton or Walthamstow rather than Kandahar, and Somalia or Yemen, if you want to identify somewhere abroad. Hamid Karzai said: 'We've done terribly badly in providing security to the Afghan people. This is the greatest shortcoming of our government and our international partners.' In recent months Taliban fanatics have carried out a string of brazen attacks. The coalition launched Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001, after the 9/11 atrocity in New York, in an effort to track down Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, destroy terror training camps and overthrow the Taliban regime which had sheltered extremists. But a swift victory was followed by a decade of war that has sheltered extremists. A swift victory was followed by a decade of war that has claimed the lives of 2,000 Nato troops, including 382 Britons, and some 10,000 civilians!

Carmen Gentile and Jim Michaels: Afghan War Gains Shaky!

Under the gaze of his US military instructors, Samir Khan, a lanky new recruit to the ranks of the Afghan National Army, takes a turn firing his weapon at targets on this wind-swept weapons range in southwestern Afghanistan. Dozens of others wait their turn, as Khan, whose home village is in the embattled eastern province of Khost, fires rounds from an M240 machine gun. During a break, Khan says he and many friends enlisted in the ANA out of a sense of patriotism, as well as pressure from relatives: "My family wanted me to join because it would be good for the country," the 18-year-old says, his over-sized helmet sliding off his head. "All my friends were joining, and I said I should join, too." Uf Afghanistan is ever to be made safe enough for US troops to leave, men such as Khan will be critical to achieving that goal. The counterinsurgency strategy that a coalition of nations has rallied behind, relies on Afghans standing up for themselves against their former overlords and terrorists, who are among the most ruthless in the world. "There is a nice upward climb," Lt. Gen. Bill Caldwell, commanding general of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, says of the Afghan army's progress!

Wayne Madsen: Israel Continues to Rely on Polemics!!!

Faced with Palestine's bid for statehood and recognition as an independent state, after decades of of an Israeli military occupation, and expanding illegal settlements of occupied territory, unrecognized as Israel by every other nation in the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu used his address to the United Nations General Assembly as an occasion to insist that the West Bank was historically the Jewish lands of Judea and Samara. Netanyahu further inflamed passions by insisting that the West Bank was historically the Jewish land of Judea and Samara. Netanyahu further inflamed passions by insisting that an independent Palestine would be demilitarized and occupied by Israeli military bases. Netanyahu for Israel claimed the right for Israel to maintain "defined military sites" in the West Bank, using as examples US military bases in post-World War II Japan, Germany, and South Korea, a British air base in Cyprus, and French bases in three African countries, as a template for a disjointed Palestinian state totally subservient to Israeli control of its territory, air space, and sea coasts. The Israeli leader's reference to to permanent foreign military bases established by colonial and neo- colonial powers in conquered nations and former colonies provides a clue as to what he has in mind for Palestine!!!

Pravda: NATO Repeats all of Soviet's Mistakes in Afghanistan!

October 7 marked ten years since the beginning of the US-led operation in Afghanistan. What results have the United States and its allies achieved in the operation? Most of Afghanistan's territory was controlled by the Taliban movement in the autumn of 2001. The movement seized the country's capital, Kabul, and made enemies retreat to the north. After the 9/11 attacks, the USA demanded that the Taliban must deliver prime suspect Osama bin Laden, but the Taliban said NO having claimed that the Americans could not present convincing evidence to prove their point! In return, the US attacked the country on October 7. As a result, the Taliban left Kabul on on November 13. My birthday, if anyone asks, is on November 4, 1942, a day that will live in infamy! By the end of November, the Taliban were controlling only the southern part of the country, with the their stronghold in Kandahar. However, by the end of the year, the American and British forces seized the Tora-Bora complex of caves in the south of Afghanistan, where, according to the infallible CIA, Bin Laden was hiding. Of course, there would be another victory for the CIA. Ten years later, our infallible CIA and Pentagon officials acknowledged that NATO had failed to achieve any improvement in Afghanistan by the autumn of 2010, but independent experts said that NATO had failed to improve the situation in Afghanistan! In October 2010, the Mujahedeen stated that they were controlling 70 percent of Afghanistan, and claimed that NATO has not been able to change the military situation at all!
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi!
-"Thus goes the glory of the world", the invincible American Army.


Pravda: An Open Letter to RATO = (NATO and its RAT Mercenaries)

Message to NATO: Stop trying to lure poor and unemployed young men from Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan and Afghanistan into your sickening war against Libya, stop sending more young men to their deaths, stop lying to them about how much they will be paid, and stop using foreigners to fuel your horrendous selfish oil wars in Libya. I never thought that I would feel any pity for the rats NATO is employing as mercenaries in Libya, but now I address the young men who are being lured into this trap, after being promised thousands of dollars, to get killed, return home unpaid, in a wheelchair. If they could see the facts in Libya, they would find that these are very different from the portrayals of the corporate American News media: What NATO is not telling you, is that once you are sent into battle, you are alone. NATO cannot send its mercenaries to fight on the ground. As I found out after a horrendous firefight in the rubber tree plantation near Trung Lap, at the edge of the "Iron Triangle" of Vietnam, the skinny little US general who seemed to have some issues with my conduct of the operation, though he reeked of aftershave lotion: He was pissed by the fact that I turned down his: "AIR ASSETS", and was apparently not satisfied by my explanation. Yet behind his landing area, he had seen at least one hundred dead American soldiers, the innocent victims of his abilities to lead a decent war operation, now stacked like cord-wood, and ready to be transported to the graves registration soldiers, who had stayed behind, in the United States!

Press TV: Iran Legally Obliged to Help the Oppressed!

A senior Iranian cleric has commented that Iran's constitution requires it to support oppressed nations on our fragile globe, while refraining from meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. "Under Article 154 of Iran's constitution, supporting Muslims and other oppressed people anywhere in our troubled world is part of our country's obligations," Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said on Friday, IRNA reported. Ayatollah Khatami warned Iranian parties and politicians against preoccupation with certain internal affairs, and forgetting about international issues and Muslim affairs. The cleric warned against the US-backed two-state solution to the long- standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a Western plot aimed at confiscating Palestinian lands. "In this conspiracy, by giving a small part of the Palestinian territories, that is less than 18 percent, to the Palestinians under the name of a "Palestinian" state, the rest of the occupied territories will remain under the murderous Israeli administration, and thus find legitimacy for the Israelis who stole that land many years ago. "This means that the cancerous tumor and constant threat of Israel will find legitimacy for the evil Zionist regime." Ayatollah Khatami condemned the move as an act of betrayal, and stressed that the entire lands of Palestine belong to the Palestinians!

Pravda: Libyan Conflict Lurches Out of NATO Control!!

What do you get, when a British public schoolboy with a proven record of seriously flawed judgement in choosing his advisers and his policy becomes embroiled in a conflict of a tribal society, which utterly beyond his comprehension? You get David Cameron's 2 billion-pound nightmare. You also get the total destabilization of a country that was at peace, where its citizens lived in a participatory democracy: The Libyan Jamahiriya system of government of government is far more democratic than a country like Britain, where a Prime Minister voted for by a minority of his population gets to dictate policy, and an obscurity like Clegg gets to be Deputy PM when he finished the race in third place. What sort of democracy is that? What else do you get in Cameron's Libya? You get the full participation of Al-Qaeda, and its leaders, who had fought against NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Al-Hasidi was even held in Guantanamo Bay" ?? You get the militarization of a tribal society, you get the destruction of Libyan society, and you get a Somalia situation on the gates of Europe, festering with terrorists and Islamic fanatics. NATO's plans for Libya are an open wound on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea! NATO's and Cameron's legacy in Libya is horrific: The numerous war crimes have been well documented, rendering Cameron, Hague, Fox and their counterparts in France and the USA liable for prosecution for WAR CRIMES! The case is being drawn up as this article goes to press. The streets of Libya's cities are strewn with stinking rotting bodies!


Vince Ryan: 9-11 Anniversary Refutes Federal Lies!!!

Big media's recent "day of remembrance," with its funeral music and solemn intonation of tele -vision and and entertainment personalities, solidified lies into establishment dogma. But as AFP has shown since 2001, in plain English, the horrors of 9-11 most certainly didn't occur in the way many Americans were led to believe. The September 5, 2011 issue of AFP, gives you the latest information on those tragic attacks, to inform yourself and others about what really happened, why and by whom, on 9-11. In this anniversary issue, AFP's assignment editor Victor Thorn, author of five cutting-edge books on 9-11, along with other ace writers, such as Pat Shannan, Keith Johnson, Frank Whalen, Michael Langston, Peter Papaheracles, Mark Hightower and Keith Hansen, assert that the architects of the Sept. 11 mass murder created this "Pearl Harbor-like" grand illusion to lay a foundation for huge monetary profits. Among those would be the undeclared, never-ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where killing-field corpses would be stacked by the hundreds of thousands, and opium poppies would grow again. The AFP writers mince no words and call the perpetrators what they are: MASS MURDERERS, "monstrous people responsible for these crimes against humanity". But they also show how the so-called Muslim terrorists are a red herring for the REAL master criminals. Thorn and company also provide eyewitness accounts debunking the official tale, that a plane hit the US military nerve center, the Pentagon. Cui bono: There is the strange case of Larry Silverstein, owner of the lease on the World Trade Center, who cashed in on the many insurance policies he held on the property. Silverstein received $ 4.56 billion in payouts, as a result of the Sept. 11 attack. Radio and talk-show host Frank Whalen tells the whole sordid story, in which Silverstein's company took over the dilapidated WTC, which was facing high vacancy rates as well as millions of dollars in asbestos cleanup costs. The corporate media alleged that Arab hijackers caused the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, but 9-11 was strictly a Jewish enterprise. Victor Thorn's new book: "Made in Israel: 9-11 and the Jewish Plot against America", making the case that the attack had to have been orchestrated from Israel. After all, Israel had the most to gain from 9-11. American enemies of freedom, such as George W. Bush also profited from the disaster, but the Muslim world gained nothing at all!

Jamie Grierson: UK Oil Explorer Moves into Libya!

A British oil explorer today revealed a push into Libya despite ongoing uncertainty over the battle- weary country's future. Jersey-based Heritage Oil said it had paid 19.5 million US dollars for a controlling stake in Benghazi-based Sahara Oil Services, which runs onshore and offshore fields. The announcement comes as ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi remains missing, and bloodshed continues to rock the North African state. Tony Buckingham, chief executive of London-listed Heritage, said his firm was "well placed to play a significant role in the future oil and gas industry in Libya". Heritage, which operates in Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Mali, Tanzania, Malta, Pakistan and Russia, said the stake was bought through wholly-owned subsidiary Heritage Energy International. The group, which reported a 9.6 million US dollar pre-tax loss in the six months to June 30, compared with a 12.3 million US dollar loss the previous year, said it would use the Sahara Oil acquisition as a starting point for access to other opportunities in Libya. The deal would give Heritage legitimate access to the rehabilitation of formerly state-run fields. In the last five months, the firm has established a base in Benghazi and said it has been in discussion with members of the National Transitional Council, the interim government in Libya.

Dan Hirschhorn: Ron Paul said Monday that Barack Obama Targeted Killing Was an Impeachable Offense

Ron Paul said Monday that President Barack Obama's targeted killing of the American-born Anwar al-Awlaki might have "flouted the law." Paul called the killing a movement toward tyranny. "I put responsibility on the president because this is obviously a step in the wrong direction," Paul said. "We have just totally disrespected the Constitution." The comments once again put Paul at odds with his Republican rivals over foreign policy and the war on terror in the latest indication of how his foreign policy views stray from Republican orthodoxy even in a GOP that's taken on an increasingly isolationist bent. Candidates like Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney, who included the president in a list of people he commended in a statement released Friday, have generally been supportive of the killing. No one else in the field has spoken out against it, but Paul is stuck with the civil libertarians who have criticized the targeted killing of an American citizen without public due process. Paul, speaking at the University of New Hampshire's Manchester campus as part of a brief swing through the state, also made another pitch for eliminating the federal income tax. "If our lives and our liberty are our own, we ought to be able to keep the fruits of our labor," he said.

Henry Makow, PhD:The Folly of Long-Term Investing!

We are entering a deflationary period, where the bankers will call in their loans and expropriate our property. If there are riots, they'll take our freedom and independence too. Being a "long term" investor takes steady nerves. Since July 22, your gains for the year have been wiped out and you are down at least 10%. You could be down 25-40% if you are in commodities, but you are not about to panic, because you've invested for the long term. Your mantra is "buy and hold." You're not going to "time the market." You are investing for retirement. That's why I have another investment strategy for you. I suggest you take your savings out of the bank in $1000 wads. Then, put a few wads of cash on the curb in front of your house. You may wish to "diversify" and put the cash on different streets or street corners. Within minutes or at most hours, you will find that your money is gone, but don't panic. That's short-term thinking. You're in it for the "long haul." With the passage of time, the people who took your money no doubt will have pangs of conscience and return it, and even leave a little extra. Be patient and have faith. We all have fantasies of buying a promising stock, then checking the price ten years later, and finding: we're rich! But this doesn't take "business cycles" into account. Even people who preach the gospel of long-term investing admit that business cycles exist, which are merely alternating periods of price inflation and deflation.


Gail Russell Chaddock: Senate Hits China for Staling US Jobs!

In a rare bipartisan vote, the Senate o Monday voted 79 to 19 to take up a bill that would punish China for manipulating its currency, risking a potential trade war with the economic giant. Though prospects for the bill in the House are seen as uncertain, jobs lost due competition with China is a blistering issue for voters, especially in the nation's industrial heartland. The bill would impose tariffs on Chinese goods in response to China's policy of keeping its currency, the yuan, artificially low. The low value of the yuan keeps the price of Chinese goods low, giving them an advantage over American-made goods. Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, the US has lost 2.8 million jobs as a result of increased trade with China, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The cumulative US trade deficit with China over the same period amounts to more than $1.76 trillion, according to the 2010 report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The commission has highlighted the impact of currency manipulation in each of its annual reports to Congress. "Jobs and wealth are leaving the US and going to China, because China cheats," said Senator Charles Schumer, (D) of New York, in comments to reporters after the Oct. 3 vote. With its currency edge alone, "China grabs a 30 percent advantage."

Henry Makow, Ph.D.: Satanic Debt Racket in Banker's Novel!

It all becomes very clear. These families have been milking us for centuries. We are quite literally their "cattle", ie "goyim." Bank Crisis Set to Trigger new Credit Crunch, says the latest newspaper headline. Belgium author Pascal Roussel, 45, is well placed to explain the financial turmoil convulsing the world. By day, he works in the Financial Risk Department of the European Investment Bank in Luxemburg. No, he is not an Illuminati banker, but merely a functionary, but he does not take his position lightly. For the last ten years, he has been studying the Illuminati conspiracy, and has made contact with insiders. The result is a novel, "Divina Insidia" - The Divine Trap, which is now listed in amazon.co, which explains the Illuminati conspiracy to the incredulous, and contains new insights and nuggets of information for old hands. Most important, Roussel presents the conspiracy in a simple and plausible way, throwing our collective predicament into frightening relief. According to Roussel, twelve "oligarchic families have grown indescribably wealthy by lending "money" to governments at interest. These are the central bankers. Most, but not all are Illuminati Jews. Their wealth is in the trillions. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are paupers in comparison. It all becomes very clear. These families have been milking us for centuries. We are quite literally their "cattle" i.e. goyim. The whole of modern history can be explained by their farm management practices: Wars are started to increase the debt and cull the herd. The goal is to cull the herd to 500 million and chip the remnant. These families and their henchmen own 80% of the world's wealth and do nothing useful, yet believe the impoverished majority are parasites. One of them, Roussel, explains how compound interest resulted in astronomical exponential gains year-after-year. All religions have banned lending at interest to prevent what actually has occurred: This immense wealth and powerhas fallen into the hands of Satanists. The world's major banks are mere proxies for these twelve families who create the money out of nothing, but the banks get their "money" from THEM! Though Greece is now their target, eventually the whole world will be squeezed like a lemon to get this "money" back.

Yoichi Shimatsu: US-Israeli Nuke Transfers Led to Fukushima Catastrophy

The explosions that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant were caused by war-head cores illegally taken from America's nuclear-weapons assembly facility. Evaporation in the cooling pools used for spent fuel rods led to the detonation of stored weapons-grade plutonium and uranium. The facts about the clandestine American and Israeli support for Japan's nuclear armament are now being suppressed in what is the biggest cover-up in recent history. The events indicate that theft from America's strategic arsenal was authorized by Bush and Cheney, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Israel's Elhud Olmert's government in Tel Aviv: In early 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney flew to Tokyo with his closest aides. Newspaper editorials pointed to the secrecy about this visit: No press conferences, no briefings for US Embassy staffers in Tokyo. Cheney snubbed Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma, shutting him out of the official talks, under the pretext of secrecy: The Joint Chiefs of Staff would have opposed White House approval of Japan's nuclear program. The unannounced reason for Cheney's visit was to promote a quadrilateral alliance in the Asia-Pacific region. The US, Japan, Australia and India, were being called to contain and confront China and its allies North Korea and Russia. The main obstacle to American acceptance of a nuclear-armed Japan was the US Pentagon, where Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima are still symbols of American military supremacy. The only channel for the transfers was then the civilian Department of Energy (DoE), which supervises the production of nuclear weapons.


Carol Morello: Census Count Finds Decreasing White Population in 15 States!

Non-Hispanic whites are a dwindling share of the US population, with their numbers dropping in the Northeast and Midwest, growing only modestly in the South and West, the Census Bureau said Thursday. Whites declined in 15 states, almost all in the industrial and farming states from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, and from Kansas to Ohio. They also declined in California and three Southern states, including Maryland. A Census Bureau analysis of the 2010 count showed that the number of non-Hispanic whites rose over the decade from 194.5 million to 197 million to 197 million, but the 1.2 percent growth rate fell far short of the national increase of 9.7 percent. Non-Hispanic whites are now 64 percent of the population, down from 69 percent a decade ago. The census also reported that the black population grew by 12 percent. African Americans now make up almost 13 percent of the population, a small decrease over the decade. More than half, 57 percent, live in the South, up from 55 percent a decade ago, and six out of 10 blacks live in 10 states, including Virginia and Maryland. The census analysis of the nation's white and black population underscores the trans-formative nature of growth in the 21st century. The number of Hispanics and Asians is soaring, the number of blacks is growing slowly, and whites are almost at a standstill.

Libya: The Other News - Khamis al-Qathafi, a XXI Century Marshall Zhukov!

NATO and the press in the countries which house its bases seem to have gone quiet all of a sudden on Libya. Do they want us to think the war is over, and that everything is getting back to "normal", or are they trying to focus on other stories, hoping desperately that whatever is happening over there will go away? The first point is that nothing will go back to "normal", or are they trying to focus on other stories, hoping desperately that whatever is happening over there will go away? The first point is that nothing will go back to "normal" until the marauding bunch of terrorists which NATO is trying to impose as Libya's Government wholly and entirely against the will of the vast majority of its population ceases to rape women and children, ceases to torch buildings, ceases to decapitate people in the streets, ceases to loot, to rob, to steal, in other words, to behave as terrorists. Those captured by the Libyan Armed Forces (LAF) are allowed in many cases to return home, upon laying down their weapons. Cameron is spending two billion pounds on what? Terrorists? The second point is that things are far from calm in Libya, because the country was invaded by foreign forces, was invaded by mercenaries and was set upon by gangs of marauding thugs (as one can see by googling up "Libya rebels"). In fact, the western attempts at journalism are risible, and have gotten more and more ludicrous, absurd and ridiculous since the conflict started. The supply lines of the terrorist forces have been seriously weakened in a series of attacks, liberating areas of Tripoli from these elements, some of whom have been filmed desecrating bodies. For his part, Khamis al-Kathafi is already a myth in his own lifetime. Killed by NATO five times, and resurrected from the desert sands, he is the 21st century military hero, a North African Marshall Zhukov!

Michael Snyder: Prophets Of Doom-The Economic Crisis Ahead!

We are getting so close to a financial collapse in Europe that you can almost hear the debt bubbles popping. All across the western world, governments and major banks are rapidly becoming insolvent. S far, the powers that be are keeping all the balls in the air by throwing around lots of bailout money, but now the political will for more bailouts is drying up and the number of troubled entities seems to grow by the day. Right now the western world is facing a debt crisis that is absolutely unprecedented in world history. Europe has had a tremendously difficult time just trying to keep Greece afloat, and several much larger European countries are now on the verge of a major financial crisis. In addition, there is a growing number of very large financial institutions all over the western world that are also rapidly approaching a day of reckoning. The global financial system is a sea of red ink, and when we get to the point where there are hundreds of ships going under, how is it going to be possible to bail all of them out? The quotes that you are about to read show that quite a few top financial and political insiders know that things cannot hold together much longer, and that a horrific economic crisis is coming. We built the global financial system on a foundation of debt, leverage and risk, and now this house of cards that we have created is about to come tumbling down. A lot of people in politics and the financial world know what is about to happen. Once in a while, they will even be quite candid about it with the media. As I have written previously, Europe is on the verge of a financial collapse. If things go really badly, things could totally fall apart in a few weeks, but more likely, it will be a few months until the juggling act ends.


Pravda: America Is Still Dead?

"Greetings: If you are reading this, the President of the United States has declared you to be a terrorist or enemy combatant. As a result, you will be detained without charge or trial, tortured, and/or extra-judicially executed. You are not entitled to any legal due process, you have no civil rights, and there is absolutely no need for the United States government to prove any of the allegations it has made against you, even if you are a citizen of the United States. Sincerely, Barack Obama! Throughout much of its history, America had a Bill of Rights that protected the fundamental freedoms of its citizens, as well as a "check-and-balance" system that ensured no government institution, branch or individual would ever obtain unbridled power, but all that is ended with the recent extrajudicial execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, and while most politicians are opportunistically applauding al-Awlaki's death, a few perceptive Americans are growing increasingly concerned about the unprecedented powers the executive branch of government is assuming. Under those powers, American citizens can now be illegally detained, even within America's own borders, as was illustrated in the case of Abdullah al-Kidd, who, despite never being charged with a crime, was held for more than two weeks in high security cells and repeatedly strip-searched and shackled!

The Telegraph:The Palestinians Have Eight Security Council Votes!

The Palestinians have secured eight Security Council "yes" votes for their UN membership bid, just one short of the nine they need, according to their foreign minister. On Thursday, Riyad al-Maki said that Nigeria and Gabon had also promised they would vote in favor of the Palestinian bid for full state membership at the UN, possibly giving them a ninth and a tenth vote. Mr. Malki told reporters in Ramallah that the Palestinians have assurances of "yes" votes from Lebanon, Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil, in addition to the new confirmations from Nigeria and Gabon. "We are working on Bosnia, Columbia and Portugal," he added, saying he was scheduled to visit Bosnia, Columbia and Portugal," he added, saying he was scheduled to visit Bosnia shortly. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will make stops in Columbia, Portugal, Honduras and the Dominican Republic in October. Mr. Abbas will also deliver an address in Strasbourg in October 6, Mr. Malki said. The Palestinians need to secure at least nine Security Council votes in favor of their membership bid for it to be approved and advanced to the General Assembly.

Harriet Sherwood: Israeli Occopation Hitting Palestinian Economy!

Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza deprives the Palestinian economy of an enormous sum, equivalent to about 85% of the nominal gross domestic product of Palestine, according to a report published in Ramallah. As well as its detrimental effect on the Palestinian economy, the
"occupation enterprise" allows the state of Israel and commercial firms to profit from Palestinian natural resources and tourist potential, the report said. "No matter what the Palestinian people achieve by our own efforts, the occupation prevents us from achieving our potential as a free people in our own country," said Hassan Abu Libdeh, economy minister in the Palestinian Authority, introducing the report on Thursday. "It should be clear to the international community that one reason for Israel's refusal to act in good faith as a partner for peace is the profits it makes as an occupying power." Without the occupation, the Palestinian economy would be almost twice as large as it is, and would be able to reduce its independence on donor funding from the international community, according to the report. Compiled jointly by the economy ministry and the independent "think-tank" Applied Research Institute, the report was the first attempt to quantify the annual cost of the occupation to the Palestinian economy.

Eric Walberg: Turkey Redraws Sykes-Picot!

A new Bermuda Triangle has been spotted, but this one is in the eastern Mediterranean, between Turkey, Cyprus and Israel, observes Eric Walberg. Turkey's foreign policy shift is now in full gear. Having kicked out the Israeli ambassador and rejected the UN Palmer Report, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says that Turkey plans to make its case against Israel's blockade of Gaza to the International Court of Justice, not alone, but with the support of the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union. "The process will probably reach a certain point in October, and we will make our application." Israel's refusal to say "I apologize" has already proved to be very expensive, and will continue to reverberate, not just in the hollow halls of the ICC, but off the shores of Israel itself, as Turkish warships accompany flotillas breaking the siege, and when Turkey begins drilling for gas in waters that Greek Cyprus and Israel claim for themselves. It will echo when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was "like a rock star", crosses the Rafah border to visit Gaza. No one can mistake Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias for Elton John. There are many reasons for the deterioration of the once smooth relations between Israel and Turkey. First, both nations have moved away from their secular roots. Turkey with the return of Islam as a guiding principle in political life under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002, Israel with the rise of Likud in 1977, ending the long reign of Labour. Turkey is naturally returning to its traditional role under the Ottoman Caliphate as regional Muslim hegemon, while the Zionised version of Judaism has ended any pretense of the Jewish state being interested in making peace with the indigenous Muslims.


Jason Ditz: US Struggles to Balance Reassurance in Pakistan

Anti-US Protests break out in major Pakistani cities: With US officials railing against Pakistan on a daily basis for weeks, and the prospect of a ground invasion looking extremely serious, anti-US protests were reported across several major cities in Pakistan, perhaps the first inkling the Obama Administration got that they may have gone a little overboard in their rhetoric. The Administration responded with a reassurance from an unnamed top official that a ground invasion was not in the offing, and Admiral Michael Mullen, at the forefront of making accusations, insisting relations with Pakistan are "vital". Perhaps the most perplexing comments, however, came from Obama himself, who addressed the growing row with claims that the putative relationship between Pakistan's military and the Haqqani Network was "unclear". "Unclear," after Admiral Mullen presented the claim that the Haqqani Network is an "arm" of Pakistan's military as a known fact, might seem a little surprising. Obama insisted "Mike's testimony expressed frustration over the fact that safe havens exist". This seems to be a strange way of admitting that the testimony was flat out fabricated.

Jason Ditz: Libyan Rebels Accused of Torture, Revenge Killings!

Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) is coming under growing scrutiny today, not just for its growing internal faction fighting, but for the behavior of its fighting force. Replacing Moammar Gadhafi sets the bar pretty low for human rights, one would think, but the rebels seem to be struggling to meet even this standard. Torture has become increasingly common among rebel fighters, who summarily arrest anyone suspected of supporting the old regime, and Human Rights Watch issued a statement today urging the NTC to stop its fighters from beating and shocking detainees. Human rights groups are also expressing disquiet about the growing evidence of revenge killings, against not just defeated regime forces, but suspected supporters as well. This is not a new problem, but a growing one. The rebel military forces have been dumping bodies "en masse" for awhile, and being black has been probable cause for arrest virtually since the rebels took over the west. There seems to be little interest among the NTC leadership to change any of this, but as it continues, it remains to be seen how long NATO can turn a blind eye to their "allies" on the ground.

Ernesto Londono: Iran's Hosting of Taliban Reflects Desire for Greater Role!

Kabul: Iran quietly hosted a delegation of Taliban members in Tehran this month in a powerful and unusual signal of its ambition to shape the trajectory of the Afghanistan conflict, as US troops begin to withdraw. Iranian officials had apparently hoped to facilitate a meeting between the delegation and Burhanuddin Rabani, a former Afghan president and leader of the country's reconciliation efforts, who was attending the same conference in Tehran, his associates said. Although that did not happen, the presence of the Taliban members suggests Iran has cultivated deeper ties with the insurgent group than was previously known, and is stepping up efforts to influence its eastern neighbor as the US role recedes. The relationship between Iran and the Taliban's central leadership has long been deeply fraught; when the Taliban was running Afghanistan in the 1990s, the two countries came to the brink of war. US officials have for years accused Iran of fueling the Afghanistan war.