December 22, 2006

Robert Fisk on DemocracyNow

Amy Goodman had a segment on Democracy Now last Wednesday where Robert Fisk was speaking before the Muslim Public Affairs Council at their annual meeting. He discussed the types of "experts" who had been tapped in the Baker-Hamilton report and described how little the journalists or politicians seem to know about history.

Everyone is obsessed with the Second World War. Everyone. Bush, even our own dear Mr. Blair, think they’re Winston Churchill. And all our enemies, every one of them, believe me, is a Hitler of the Tigris. Antony Eden actually referred to Nasser as the Mussolini of the Nile. We’re all putting on our World War II cloaks, it’s incredible. And if anyone, anyone, suggests the war is wrong, then we are Neville Chamberlain, we’re in the house of appeasement, and look what happened in 1939.

And journalists go along with this. Pollack, one of these people, went along with that line. We’re contently trying to repeat the bits of history that we remember inaccurately and wrongly. And we do not remember the British invasion of Iraq in 1917, when the British commander issued a document on the walls of Baghdad, saying, "We come here” -- to the people of the Mohafazat, the governorate of Baghdad -- “We come here, not as conquerors, but as liberators to free you from generations of tyranny." And in 1920, when the insurgency, the Iraqi insurgency against British rule in Iraq, began, we shelled Fallujah, and we shelled Najaf. The British army, in 1920. I’ve seen the telegram written by British intelligence in Baghdad to the War Department in London saying that terrorists were crossing the border, from…?


ROBERT FISK: Yes, quite. You read that telegram. You knew about that telegram. And then Lloyd George, the British prime minister, stood up in the House of Commons and said, “If British troops leave Iraq now, there will be…”?


ROBERT FISK: Spot on. You read the Times parliamentary report in 1920, didn’t you? We don’t read history. Our journalists don't read history. My goodness, me, nor do our leaders.

You know, I think that this -- one of these problems of journalism is that we don't carry history books in our back pocket. And I think the other problem is that our leaders don’t. And there's one major problem, above all others, which we don't look at. Many of us, many of you here, many of us have witnessed wars. But there isn't a single member of any Western government anywhere in the world that has ever experienced or been in a war. Mr. Bush could have been, of course. Mr. Cheney could have been. Colin Powell was, and he’s gone; he had experience. When I grew up, Churchill, Eden, we had lots of prime ministers in Britain who had been in the war. They knew that you don’t go to war on false and meretricious reasons. But that’s gone now. Our leaders’ experience of war is now Hollywood.

Amy also provided the full speech he gave before the union where he recounted the western world's attitude and actions toward the Middle East. As not just a journalist, Fisk does delve into history and here's what he found reading Winston Churchill.

I’m going to read you a very brief paragraph by Winston Churchill, not about the Battle of Britain. It is Churchill prophesying the future from 1937, eleven years before the Nakba. This is Winston Churchill writing in a totally forgotten essay. He reflected upon the future and wrote of the impossibility of a partitioned Palestine. And he talked of how, I quote -- this is Winston Churchill in 1937 -- “The wealthy, crowded, progressive Jewish state” -- see, it doesn’t exist yet, but he’s already getting it right -- “lies in the plains and on the sea coast of Palestine. Around it, in the hills and the uplands, stretching far and wide into the illimitable deserts, the warlike Arabs of Syria of Transjordania, of Arabia, backed by the armed forces of Iraq, offer the ceaseless menace of war. To maintain itself,” -- 1937, remember, -- “To maintain itself, the Jewish state will have to be armed to the teeth and must bring in every able-bodied man to strengthen its army. But how long will this process be allowed to continue by the great Arab populations in Iraq and Palestine? Can it be expected that the Arabs would stand by impassively and watch the building up, with Jewish world capital and resources, of a Jewish army, equipped with the most deadly weapons of war until it was strong enough not to be afraid of them? And if ever the Jewish army reached that point, who can be sure,” Churchill asked, “that, cramped within their narrow limits, they would not plunge out into the new undeveloped lands that lay around them?”

“Ouch,” I said when I read that. 1937.

Fisk is spot on about our times and our refusal to let the past tell us about the present. This truly is a tragedy because as you know, those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the mistakes.

Posted by Mary at December 22, 2006 11:26 AM | Iraq | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Global Information Services
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Defeat AIPAC for only 33¢ a day

RE: APAC – PLEDGES AT $229,200

To Supporters and Potential Supporters:

Please review the following pro-forma information regarding the proposal of a new and dynamic organization designed to support individuals and organizations who are working toward a just settlement between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East as well as removal of Zionist control of America’s Congress and media.

Although you are extremely busy, I ask that you review the following proposal to sustain and unite the many individuals and organizations in support of a powerful entity similar to AIPAC and working in concert with those such as the PLO Mission, ACCC, ISM, CNI, ADC, US Campaign to End the Occupation, WRMEA, ANSWER, If Americans Knew and all others who wish to participate. This new organization would be focused, have a dominant presence, speak with authority, coordinate, and fuse the energy of participating individuals and organizations. Staffing of such an organization would be accomplished by a board of directors.

The project will not be easy and will consume months to develop during its evolution. To insure its success, it requires the participation of a group of dedicated individuals who are willing to focus on making the new organization viable.

Following is a quote from Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister: “Thank God we have AIPAC, the greatest supporter and friend we have in the whole world.”

Our competition is AIPAC, which is considered the most powerful lobby in Washington and has an annual budget exceeding $50,000,000, a paid staff of over 200 and over 100,000 very active grassroots members. Is there any existing organization representative of our views that can compete with AIPAC? If not, the choice is simple.

Although many organizations opposing AIPAC are doing excellent work, virtually all are overworked, under funded and understaffed. As an example, CNI and End the Occupation have three employees each. End the Occupation’s 2005 revenues were in the neighborhood of $137,000. The proposed organization would provide extensive resources available to all in order for participants to be more effective.

After recent contacts with concerned citizens and based upon a rough draft of the proposal, anonymous and named donors have recently (as of 11-1-06) committed to non-binding, lumpsum commitments of $167,000 and annualized monthly commitments of $62,200. Total to date of $229,200.00.

Validation of this concept is extremely important. We need to hear from you now with a non-binding commitment of an initial lumpsum and/or monthly commitment of 33¢ or more per day for 12 months or more.

To continue without such an organization is exemplified by Albert Einstein’s observation: “Insanity is doing the same thing day after day and expecting a different result.”

We encourage suggestions and comments. Thank you.

Please Forward

Proposal for a new and powerful organization:

The “American Public Affairs Committee” (APAC)*

WHO & WHY? Christians, Arabs, Muslims, agnostics, atheists and other residents of planet earth must unite under a "spearhead" organization with powers approaching those of our nemesis, “AIPAC." Others and I are growing weary with the inability of the many individuals and groups who, acting independently, are unable to make a difference in the Middle East conflict. You may have noticed, we all continue doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results, which is another definition of insanity. When a foreign country, Israel, invades, occupies, commands and controls America’s Congress, media and other institutions with its legions of Zionists, neocons and other Israel-centrists, those who can must stand and fight. A major change in strategy is essential to the wellbeing of our country as well as all others.

WHAT? AIPAC is the spearhead for the Zionists both here and globally. It should be obvious to any analyst or casual observer that the creation of a "spearhead" organization with a recognizable and effective name such as the "American Public Affairs Committee" or APAC is imperative. Structurally, such organization may have roughly nine (9) members (an odd number for tiebreakers) composed of leaders from the most effective organizations. Each of the nine (9) members would work with another five (5) leaders of the next level of organizations and they in turn would work with 5 leaders of the third tier which would then encompass a total of two-hundred seventy-nine (279) organizations. All organizations would benefit by having extensive resources provided, coordination of campaigns, national and international unity and much more. The mix of the lead organization is critical, as that would be its face. For at least the first 6 months, none of the initial 9 officers would receive remuneration from the new organization in order to develop credibility and avoid financial crises. Financial transactions and accounting must be transparent with monthly reporting of expenditures and progress posted on the organization’s website.

HOW? Fundraising - Money is power. Five-hundred thousand people and I are willing to commit to a monthly contribution averaging at least $10 (33¢ per day). They are there and we will find them. Do the math and you will see this equals five million dollars ($5,000,000) per month and sixty-million dollars ($60,000,000) annually. At $15 (50¢ per day) per month, the amount would be seven million five-hundred thousand dollars ($7,500,000) per month and ninety-million dollars ($90,000,000) annually. This commitment is dependent upon the new organizations’ ability to market the concept to supporters and deliver results. Donors would be given recognition unless anonymity is requested. You can commit now with your participation in expanding knowledge of this plan.

WHEN? Now. Call or email for more information.

Examples of some key objectives of the organization that may be few in number and intensely executed:

♦ LOBBYISTS Employ aggressive and competent lobbyists.

♦ LEGAL Representation by an aggressive law firm with a substantial record of accomplishments. There are many issues that must be challenged in the courts.

♦ VOTING BLOCKS Build large numbers of voters who may be mobilized to vote for friendly politicians and issues.

♦ THINK TANKS Establish as needed.

♦ MEDIA Promote and support specific nationwide media campaigns that reach out to all Americans who otherwise would remain ignorant of Israel’s brutal regime and the suffering of the Palestinians. The campaigns would adhere to specific guidelines. Specifics of the “Media Campaign”: Begin with placing approved films on public access television stations (PATS). Coordinate this effort with funding and introducing films & related information to newspapers, schools, libraries, churches, business organizations. Emailing (APAC would provide a variety of text for such emails to allow for massive sending); regular mailings, coordinate visits and pertinent literature to politicians’ offices in their respective districts as well as in Washington, DC; visits and calls to the Israeli consulates; placing films and radio shows on all organizations’ websites; pooling of email addresses to establish a massive mailing list; public service announcements (PSA’s) on television and radio; arrange for sympathetic reporters to be strategically placed; speakers available for various venues.

Rapid responses to various situations would be implemented quickly; measured confrontation and all other effective measures to educate and inform.
Media examples - Although the current nationwide film series, “America, Israel and Palestine: Cause and Effect,” being aired on public television stations is free, to have such exposure on commercial stations would cost approximately five-million dollars ($5,000,000). Print ads by CNI and others have recently reached out several times to approximately two million readers by placing multiple full-page ads.

● MOBILE MEDIA CONVOYS Periodically, arrange for convoys of at least 4 box vans or large trucks and vans with huge signs/messages on the sides and rear to meander through heavily populated cities and towns. In some cases, the signs may be extended/telescoped above the vehicles when parked and in some cases when moving slowly. From personal experience in the San Francisco financial district several years ago, I found this to be very effective as people literally stopped and directed their attention to our convoy of 4 vehicles. It would also allow for the distribution of literature along the route. If the convoys were coordinated in several cities within a 15 to 20-mile radius, radio and TV coverage would certainly cover it. These convoys would also be effective when protesting in front of the Israeli consulates and elsewhere. Telescoping “box signs” (four sided) are also very effective as they can reach heights of twelve (12) feet.

● TELEVISION & RADIO STATIONS Consider buying or developing TV and/or Radio Stations. Place public service announcements on television and radio. Encourage individuals to appear on television and/or talk shows. Several sponsors of the current film series have their own shows which include information relevant to the Middle East crisis.

The foregoing is essential simply because most Americans have been subjected to 100 + years of Zionist media which are degrading and demonizing of Arabs, Muslims, et al. The Zionists have an immense lead and without countermeasures, the Palestinians, Lebanese and others in the Middle East will not be the only ones suffering as this ongoing tragedy may, in our lifetime, lead to WWIII. Unfortunately, a severe depression may be just around the corner with crude oil skyrocketing to $100 - $200 pbl sooner than expected. Americans as well need to know the damage this distant conflict is causing to our country.

If you watched televised coverage of Israel’s invasion and devastation of Lebanon and Palestine, you know the Zionists have blanketed all stations with their biased versions of the conflict and once again portray the Arabs as the "evildoers" while obliquely encouraging Bush and his fellow chickenhawks to attack Iran.

We must share our time, money and other resources with one organization that can wield a very sharp spear, otherwise insanity rules.

Please respond within 10 days. Thank you.

PS: If you have doubts about one’s ability to organize a new and powerful organization, please read the following:

In 1896 Theodor Herzl wrote, “The Jewish State is essential to the world; it will therefore be created. The plan would, of course, seem absurd if a single individual attempted to do it; but if worked by a number of Jews in co-operation it would appear perfectly rational, and its accomplishment would present no difficulties worth mentioning. The idea depends only on the number of its supporters. Perhaps our ambitious young men and women, to whom every road of progress is now closed, seeing in this organization a bright prospect of freedom, happiness and honors opening to them, will ensure the propagation of the idea.”

Theodor Herzl is considered the Father of Israel and Zionism. His efforts to create Israel initially were met with ridicule and cynicism. Unfortunately, for the Middle East, a handful of supporters were able to sustain the idea and the rest is a history of ignoble occupation. We say, “APAC is essential to the world.”

*The proposed organization’s name is irrelevant at this time as numerous details such as this will ultimately be determined by a board of directors with the help of suggestions from those of us who take the time to present our opinions on this and other aspects of the organization. The “APAC” name is an interim selection as a reminder of AIPAC’s power, which must be defeated or at least constrained. On the lighter side, it would enable one to get an appointment with a politician knowing that the caller is with “APAC.”



EU Parliamentarians Establish an "Israel Lobby"
Tuesday, September 19, 2006 / 26 Elul 5766

( 300 European Union parliamentarians and supporters took part this week in a gala celebrating the establishment of a European "Israel Lobby", the first of its kind. The lobby organization, called EFI (European Friends of Israel), includes representatives of all European states, including those that have as yet not expressed public support for Israel. The gala opening took place in Brussels, Belgium, and was also attended by Knesset members, the Israeli ambassador to the EU, and foreign ministers and parliamentary speakers from the various EU states.

The guest of honor was a member of the Haifa city council, Shlomo Gilboa, standing in for Mayor Yonah Yahav. To extended applause, Gilboa told the assembled EU representatives that "in your support of Israel, you are essentially supporting your own countries; for Israel is defending that which you all represent here today.... We are defending our borders and our existence, but by the same token, we are defending the free world."


Excerpt from “The Economist” 8/19/06 Issue

“Why has Europe become so reflexively anti-Israel, just when America has become so reflexively pro-Israel? Europe has no equivalent of America’s powerful AIPAC Israeli lobby, and it also has a disgruntled (and growing) Muslim population. But neither is enough to explain all the difference in attitude. Indeed, Many Muslims in Europe now feel beleaguered and can only dream of wielding AIPAC’s clout.”


Excerpt from Amira Hass’ article in Haaretz 8-30-06

"As Jews we all enjoy the privilege Israel gives us, what makes us all collaborators. The question is what does every one of us do in an active and direct daily manner to minimize cooperation with a dispossessing, suppressing regime that never has its fill. Signing a petition and tutting will not do. Israel is a democracy for its Jews. We are not in danger of our lives, we will not be jailed in concentration camps, our livelihood will not be damaged and recreation in the countryside or abroad will not be denied to us. Therefore, the burden of collaboration and direct responsibility is immeasurably heavy."


Excerpt from Jeff Blankfort’s article of 9-5-06

"Olmert, who broke away from budget meetings in order to speak to the large AJC delegation at his office..." If nothing else, Olmert knows that the key to continuing strong US support for Israel is the unchecked power of America's Jewish Zionist lobby over Congress and the White House in which the AJC is one of the major players, and "budget meetings" can't hold a candle to that fact. A sudden thought: Have any of the detractors of "The Lobby's" power ever mentioned even the existence of the American Jewish Committee, the lobby's foreign policy arm? A rhetorical question, of course. We all know the answer.


The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

Following are excerpts from the first six pages of “The Israel Lobby” document

Jewish Americans have set up an impressive array of organizations to influence American foreign policy, of which AIPAC is the most powerful and best known. In 1997, Fortune magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind the American Association of Retired People, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association. A National Journal study in March 2005 reached a similar conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP) in the Washington ‘muscle rankings’.

Another source of the Lobby’s power is its use of pro-Israel congressional staffers. As Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC, once admitted, ‘there are a lot of guys at the working level up here’ – on Capitol Hill – ‘who happen to be Jewish, who are willing . . . to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness . . . These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators . . . You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.’

AIPAC itself, however, forms the core of the Lobby’s influence in Congress. Its success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. Money is critical to US elections (as the scandal over the lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s shady dealings reminds us), and AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the many pro-Israel political action committees. Anyone who is seen as hostile to Israel can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to his or her political opponents. AIPAC also organizes letter-writing campaigns and encourages newspaper editors to endorse pro-Israel candidates.

There is no doubt about the efficacy of these tactics. Here is one example: in the 1984 elections, AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to a prominent Lobby figure, had ‘displayed insensitivity and even hostility to our concerns’. Thomas Dine, the head of AIPAC at the time, explained what happened: ‘All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message.’

AIPAC’s influence on Capitol Hill goes even further. According to Douglas Bloomfield, a former AIPAC staff member, ‘it is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.’ More important, he notes that AIPAC is ‘often called on to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes’.

The bottom line is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress, with the result that US policy towards Israel is not debated there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world. In other words, one of the three main branches of the government is firmly committed to supporting Israel. As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, noted on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’

“For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it [The Lobby] are only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobby’s task even easier.

Global Information Services
336 Bon Air Center, # 441
Greenbrae, CA 94904
415-459-8738   (staged)

Posted by: Fred Shepherd at December 23, 2006 12:23 PM